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America’s 18 Most Beautiful Mountain Towns to Visit

If you’re a mountain kind of person, these spectacular mountain towns across America are places you’ve really got to visit at least once. If you’re planning a trip and feel like taking in glorious views, you’re certain to find what you’re looking for.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole sits at the doorsteps of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery and boasting an abundance of wildlife and all sorts of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Whether you’re looking for cozy cabin rentals or luxurious resort accommodations, you’ll find it here, along with a wide array of outstanding restaurants and nightlife venues. While it’s famous for skiing and boarding, when the snow melts, visitors can take the aerial tram that leads from Teton Village to the top of Rendezvous Mountain for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view, go whitewater rafting in nearby Snake River Canyon, hike, horseback ride, mountain bike and more.

Park City, Utah ski lift and snowy mountains in Park City
Credit: ski lift and snowy mountains in Park City by © irene skvorzowa - Dreamstime.com

Park City, Utah

The historic mining town of Park City is also best known for its legendary skiing, with most frequently visited during the winter months, but in other seasons, visitors can enjoy all sorts of activities on the water, like fishing for trout in blue-ribbon streams, boating and more, as well as active land pursuits like mountain biking and hiking amid the impressive scenery. The town itself offers a whole lot too and is lined with 19th-century buildings from its silver mining boom days. A number of popular events are hosted here, like January’s Sundance Film Festival and the July Food & Wine Classic, so you may want to plan your trip around one of them.

Aspen, Colorado stunning mountain view near Aspen
Credit: stunning mountain view near Aspen by markbyzewski via Flickr

Aspen, Colorado

Often ranked near or at the top of America’s best mountain towns, with its 14,000-foot peaks, Aspen is a favorite with skiers and boarders, as well as a big draw for billionaires and celebrity types. Here, the party happens all year round, with some of the world’s best hiking during the warmer months of the year, as well as fantastic fly fishing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and more. Aspen also hosts a number of festivals that celebrate music, wine, food, and art, as well as plenty of art galleries, upscale eateries, high-end shops, and other attractions.

Stowe, Vermont Stowe, Vermont in the fall
Credit: Stowe, Vermont in the fall by Bigstockphoto.com

Stowe, Vermont

Once considered only a popular summer vacation destination, today Stowe is a popular destination in Vermont all year round. While it’s ideal for skiing and other snow sports in the winter, summer is still peak season here, with the highlight being its old-fashioned Fourth of July parade. Visitors also come for the 5.3-mile hiking and biking trail that runs through town, crossing the West Branch River and traversing over charming wooden bridges, as well as the shops and eateries that line Mountain Road. In the fall, leaf-peepers come to view the glorious hues of violet-red pin cherry and yellow alder leaves as well as blazing orange and red maple trees, with some of the most brilliant foliage along the Green Mountain Byway between Stowe and Waterbury.

Hamilton, Montana Hamilton, Bitterroot Mountains
Credit: Hamilton, Bitterroot Mountains by Bigstock.com

Hamilton, Montana

Hamilton is the hub of the scenic Bitterroot Valley, located an hour south of Missoula. This bustling, charming community not only offers incredible scenery, but it boasts an emerging art scene with live music, local theater, and a happening downtown as well as a number of fun annual events, like Daly Days, which celebrates the city’s founder and one of the state’s original Copper Kings, the Ravalli County Fair and a Microbrew Festival.  With vast areas of wilderness just to the west of the valley, including miles of pristine forest, lots of wildlife, and the nearby Bitterroot River, this mountain town is also popular for activities like fishing, hiking, boating, and mountain biking.

Telluride, Colorado Experience small town charm and world-class skiing in Telluride, CO.
Credit: Experience small town charm and world-class skiing in Telluride, CO. by bigstockphoto.com

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride is a chic resort town in the San Juan Mountains, but it started out as a rather rough mining town. In fact, it was here in 1889 where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank. Today this former Victorian-era silver mining community is often named among America’s most beautiful towns, having retained its feel of bygone days, with no stoplights, neon signs, or billboards. One of the most picturesque towns in Colorado, this town is also renowned for its downtown area that’s a protected National Historic District, as well as the Telluride Ski Resort, which nearly spills into it and, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, with an impressive lineup that embraces multiple genres.

Ouray, Colorado Ouray, Colorado
Credit: Ouray, Colorado by © Arinahabich08 | Dreamstime.com

Ouray, Colorado

Tucked into a box canyon surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the San Juan Mountains, Ouray is the self-proclaimed Switzerland of America, and the moment you see it you’ll understand why. Those gorgeous mountains and cliffs that surround it offer some of the most jaw-dropping views around, as well as the chance hike, climb, and mountain bike during the summer, and ice climb in the winter, with the world’s first ice climbing park created here in 1994. Much of its mining-era Victorian structures remain and are beautiful restored, with its entire Main Street a National Historic District. Visitors can also soak in the hot springs that sit in the heart of town, while soaking up all of that stunning mountain scenery.

Asheville, North Carolina Asheville, North Carolina
Credit: Asheville, North Carolina by bigstockphoto.com

Asheville, North Carolina

Some have equated Asheville to the Portland, Oregon of the south, with its multiple microbreweries, coffeehouses, creative types, and all sorts of quirky characters. It even has an edible park where locals and visitors can pluck herbs, lettuce, berries, and other fruit for free. Check out the drum circle downtown on Friday nights, as well as one of the many live music bars, enjoy outdoor activities in the surrounding Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, and visit one of America’s own “castles,” Biltmore Estate.

Sisters, Oregon Three Sisters near Bend in Central Oregon
Credit: Three Sisters near Bend in Central Oregon by bigstock.com

Sisters, Oregon

Sisters, located in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon, is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. In the winter, it offers an ideal base for skiing and snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing, while the summer draws visitors who want to hike, paddle, mountain bike, go bird watching or hop on a horse. It also hosts a number of upscale resorts, spas, and mom-and-pop shops featuring local arts and crafts.

Rangeley, Maine Rangeley Lake, Maine
Credit: Rangeley Lake, Maine by K.C. Dermody

Rangeley, Maine

Rangeley may be Maine’s most beautiful mountain and lake town. Nestled in the rugged Maine Woods, part of the Lakes and Mountains region, it sits along the shores of Rangeley Lake, offering a wide range of outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, fishing, and more. A scenic drive along the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway brings opportunities to spot moose along the roadsides and brilliant foliage in the fall. In town, you can visit the Maine Forestry Museum with its extensive artifact collection that features items from throughout the Northeast region, check out a specialty food shop and other fun stores, or unwind while quenching your thirst and enjoying a tasty meal.

Leavenworth, Washington Bavarian Leavenworth, Washington
Credit: Bavarian Leavenworth, Washington by Bigstock.com

Leavenworth, Washington

The famous Bavarian village of Leavenworth lies on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, bringing the opportunity to enjoy stunning mountain scenery while feeling as if you’ve somehow landed in Bavaria. It’s a place where you can sip German beer and mulled wine along with a variety of bratwurst and other traditional German fares. There are shops selling Bavarian goods, and you can even have your photo taken wearing traditional Bavarian clothing at Studio 1890. In October, take part in Oktoberfest, and if you’re here in December, there are lots of fun holiday events all month long.

Juneau, Alaska Meadows and mountains just outside downtown Juneau
Credit: Meadows and mountains just outside downtown Juneau by © Yasushitanikado - Dreamstime.com

Juneau, Alaska

Juneau may be the capital city of Alaska but it feels more like a small town. Here, you’ll be surrounded by soaring mountain peaks and sparkling waterways where humpbacks can often be seen breaching the surface. A 13.6-mile-long glacier is just a short drive from downtown with its museums, shops, restaurants, and historic saloons. The area sits on a hillside overlooking the Gastineau Channel in the Inside Passage, tucked between Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts along the waterfront. Bald eagles are perched on street lights and bears are a relatively common sight too. By riding the Mount Roberts Tramway, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view above it all.

Polson, Montana Polson, Montana on Flathead Lake
Credit: Polson, Montana on Flathead Lake by © David Butler - Dreamstime.com

Polson, Montana

Set along the southern shoreline of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, Polson is bordered to the south by the Mission Mountains, providing a stunning backdrop for enjoying its many charms. As the small city extends from the lakefront, the land changes from beaches to fertile farmland where the area’s famous cherries are grown, something that’s celebrated every year during July’s Cherry Festival. It’s a fun time to be here, with Flathead cherry delicacies that include everything from pies and jam to chocolate. Anytime you come, you’ll want to sample the tasty Flathead Cherry Ale at Glacier Brewing Company. History enthusiasts can learn more about Polson’s and Flathead’s past at the Polson Flathead Historical Museum.

Bend, Oregon Bend, Oregon
Credit: Bend, Oregon by Bigstock.com

Bend, Oregon

Bend is a mecca for outdoor adventure in Oregon’s stretch of Cascade Mountains. Nestled between snow-covered peaks and a high desert plateau on the east side of the range, this pretty mountain town is known for its frequent bright blue skies, with activities that include everything from hiking, biking, paddling, and fishing to shopping and sipping local brews. Tours of Deschutes Brewery are offered daily departing from the tasting room with free samples included. Nearby is Oregon’s longest, continuous lava tube, perfect for beginning cave explorers.

Deadwood, South Dakota Winter in Deadwood, South Dakota
Credit: Winter in Deadwood, South Dakota by travelsouthdakota.com

Deadwood, South Dakota

Although the 1874 discovery of gold that set off the Black Hills Gold rush was what drew many to Deadwood, today, it’s popular for enjoying the area’s many lakes and mountain trails along with casino gambling and exploring historic attractions. Relive the glory days with a visit to the Adams Museum, housed in a magnificent Queen Anne-style mansion with exhibits commemorating the Black Hills gold find. You can pan for gold at the Lost Boot Mine, watch Wild West shootouts, with a cast of talented entertainers reenacting the historic events on Main Street, and visit famous characters from the town’s past like Seth Bullock, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery.

Dunsmuir, California Dunsmuir, California
Credit: Dunsmuir, California by cdamundsen via Flickr

Dunsmuir, California

Dunsmuir is a small mountain town that lies near snow-capped Mount Shasta, providing an ideal base for outdoor adventures like world-class fly fishing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and skiing. One of the most scenic waterfalls in the area can be accessed close by. Mossbrae Falls is just a mile-long hike that follows the Sacramento River and the Pacific Union railroad tracks. The historic downtown is fun to wander with buildings that date back to the early 1900s that have been converted into various shops and eateries.

Taos, New Mexico Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico
Credit: Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico by © Fred Mays | Dreamstime.com

Taos, New Mexico

Located in the Sangre de Cristo range, part of the Southern Rocky Mountains, Tao is famous for its thriving arts scene, vibrant mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures, and spectacular scenery. The sunsets are glorious, attracting many artists and nature lovers, and the food scene is impressive too, with everything from mom-and-pop cantinas to upscale dining. Taos Pueblo is one of the most popular attractions, a multi-story adobe village that has been continuously inhabited since pre-Columbian times. Many of the living spaces have been converted into shops for Pueblo Indian craftspeople, but the Pueblo Indians have managed to diligently protect and preserve their culture.

Ketchum, Idaho Ketchum, Idaho and the Sawtooth Mountains
Credit: Ketchum, Idaho and the Sawtooth Mountains by © Mkopka - Dreamstime.com

Ketchum, Idaho

Ketchum lies in the shadow of Sun Valley resort and has a rich history of sheep ranching and mining. It still embraces its past, with herds of sheep often seen being moved along the highway through town, and over bridges that were built to herd them. While it’s a year-round resort town, most famous for its skiing, it offers the arts, a wide range of dining options, and lively nightlife that includes world-class music. All can be enjoyed among some of the most awe-inspiring mountain scenery in the country.

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