A common sentiment at America’s favorite mountain towns is the local saying, “I came for the winters, but stayed for the summers.” Whether your resort of choice is Beaver Creek or Sun Valley, alpine escapes are most vibrant when aspen groves are bright green, rivers are running, and local farmers markets display seasonal goods. Between the months of June and September, these five favorites are chock full of come-hither activities. Here’s how to up-level your itinerary while also soaking up the Insta-worthy views.
For the Littles: Traveling tykes and tweens can return home a SUP star after practicing paddle-boarding on Deer Valley’s wave-free Pebble Beach. Take a lesson or rent a board from Park City SUP, or sign up for a multi-day summer camp, which teaches proper paddling technique, paddleboard yoga, and tandem tricks.
Foodie File: Whiskey lovers should explore Park City’s High West Distillery. The new Nelson Cottage by High West offers a weekly prix-fixe menu created by High West’s chef and features the finest in Utah cuisine. Dinner is served with optional whiskey pairings to complement each course.
Adventurist: One of the most memorable “vehicles” to discover Deer Valley? A horse. Explore area trails and access magical views with Boulder Mountain Ranch, which features private and group rides. Take the Jordanelle Lookout Ride for one of the top vistas in all of Deer Valley.
View Finder: Deer Valley has a whopping 70 miles of trails. Ride up the Silver Lake Express chairlift for mid-mountain, hiking-only trails, or access the top of Bald Mountain, which offers panoramic views of Deer Valley’s enchanting landscapes.
For the Littles: What kiddo doesn’t love tackling the backcountry in an open-air 4x4 ATV? A high-mountain adventure to the top of Beaver Creek resort will lasso bragging rights when school is back in session. Canopied 4X4 vehicles start at the Summer Adventure Center and showcase the fauna, flora, and history of the area.
Foodie File: Ask most any gourmand for top tables in Beaver Creek, and Beano’s Cabin is in the mix. Tucked away on Beaver Creek Mountain, the scenic cabin is located within the White River National Forest. Executive Chef Kevin Erving grows a summer garden next to the replica of Bienkowski's original cabin for seasonal spins on American classics.
Adventurist: Spend a day on a float or wade trip with Gore Creek Fly Fisherman. Hook ‘em on numerous rivers including the Eagle River, Gore Creek, the Colorado River, the Roaring Fork River, and the Yampa River. Colorado is a haven for anglers, and the Beaver Creek area is a favorite among fishermen and women, both big and small.
View Finder: One of the most iconic 14ers, (14,000-foot peaks) is Mt. Elbert, located just over an hour drive from Beaver Creek. The hike is considered to be one of the easier 14er treks, despite being the state's tallest. Your reward? One of the best views in all of
For the Littles: Telluride’s new Bike Park has quickly captured the attention of aspiring shredders, whether beginner or expert riders. Five-day Grom Camps (ages 8-15) are designed to help kiddos take their riding to the next level. Daily activities include warm-up, coaching, lunch with the team, and freeride/re-ride time. Afternoons out of the saddle include SUPing, capture the flag, bike maintenance clinics, and zip lining.
Foodie File: The National is a local favorite, serving tasty small plates and one of the finest steaks in town. Expect locally sourced meat and produce, while hand-crafted artisan cocktails include such teasers as the “Fall Back,” mixed with Mezcal Espadin, Harvest Orchard Pear, Ancho Chili, and Flamed Orange.
Adventurist: Any visitor to Telluride must experience the famous Bridal Veil Falls, the largest in Colorado at 365 feet. The moderate 1.8-mile trek is easily accessed from town and frames Telluride’s scenic box canyon. Pack a gourmet picnic or Tacos del Gnar for the ultimate lunch with a view.
View Finder: Take a day trip to nearby Dunton Hot Springs and your iPhone photo album will look all the better, with unforgettable views of the San Juan Mountains. Once in cozy Dunton—a romantic 1800s mining ghost town—soak in the private springs, go fly-fishing, and savor decadent food and wine.
For the Littles: The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens claim the highest elevation among North America’s botanical gardens. Known for alpine conservation efforts and protecting mountain plants and flowers, it’s also a beautiful area to let kids roam free or participate in scavenger hunts.
Foodie File: It may feel counter-intuitive to crave sushi in the mountains, yet Matsuhisa Vail consistently flies fresh fish into the Rockies. Expect a see-and-be-seen crowd and signature dishes from Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, including yellowtail jalapeño and miso black cod. Pair it with the tequila infused “Gardner” cocktail—a refreshing summer favorite.
Adventurist: Get a birds-eye view of Vail Valley during an unforgettable paragliding flight. Vail Valley Paragliding offers professional instruction and tandem flights. Soar over the Bellyache Ridge site, yet don’t let the name fool you—an adrenaline boost is guaranteed, as is your safety.
View Finder: Take a day for one of the area's scenic drives. Popular driving routes include the Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway, the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, and Vail Pass. All promise postcard-perfect views near one of America’s largest ski resorts.