Warm weather months offer fresh ways to explore your favorite mountain towns.
We love mountain towns in the winter for snow sports, fireside drinks, and a chance to break out our coziest clothes, but consider a summer visit to famous ski towns like Vail for great hiking, adventure, and the ultimate fresh air. You’ll probably get a better deal, too – five-star hotels, for example, offer less expensive rates compared to sold-out ski weekends.
“Many of my clients head to the mountains for their outdoor summertime fix,” says Lori Stone, a New York City-based Virtuoso advisor. “They want something different than a beach vacation, along with R&R at a great property.”
What’s more, it’s much easier to bring your dog along in the summer months – Max and Molly will enjoy it as much as you – and many hotels offer special amenities for canine companions. “I have clients who love to bring their dogs to the Four Seasons Resort Vail in the summer,” says Wendy Wood Prince, a Virtuoso travel advisor from Lake Forest, Illinois. “They’re welcomed with open arms and special treats.” Montana’s Resort at Paws Up, another dog-friendly hotel in the Virtuoso network, provides Fido with a complimentary kennel, a Paws Up collar, and tasty treats from its pet-friendly room service menu.
Here, four peak experiences for your summer mountain sojourn.
You ski the slopes in the winter, and those same slopes become havens for hikers in the summer. The Four Seasons Resort Vail can arrange for guests to take in one of the region’s “fourteeners” (mountains measuring more than 14,000 feet) during a two-day adventure with an expert local guide. Resort chefs prepare gourmet meals for the trek, and your hiking buddy may include a llama that will carry your gear. In Banff, your travel advisor can work with one of Virtuoso’s on-site connections, Canadian Excursionist, to plan a trek up 7,000-foot Mount Norquay along a “via ferrata,” a protected route that eases climbs and helps eliminate falls.
Once the snow melts, filling streams and rivers, fly-fishing picks up. In Park City, Utah, the Montage Deer Valley arranges guided angling experiences (and complimentary casting lessons on select dates) to secret fishing spots near the Provo, Green, and Weber rivers. The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana offers on- and off-site fly fishing experiences where guests receive personalized lessons in casting and fly-tying before heading out into the water. Full-day off-site float trips are available, or anglers can stay on-site and fish for six different species of trout from Rock Creek.
Whitewater rafting has something for everyone, from calm and easy Class I to extreme Class VI rapids. In Jackson, as part of a customized Wyoming vacation, your travel advisor can arrange a private whitewater adventure along the Snake River with Virtuoso’s on-site connection, American Excursionist. Spot elk and bison with the help of a naturalist guide and enjoy lunch at a private camp. The journey starts with a slow, seven-mile float, allowing you to enjoy Teton range views.
Sure, you can kayak in some winter locales, but it’s arguably a more enjoyable warm-weather experience. Try a kayaking and hiking adventure with American Excursionist at Lake Tahoe, straddling the California/Nevada border, where you’ll paddle your way through clear creek coves; admire the rugged, undeveloped coast of the Sierra Nevada Mountains; and learn about the local geology, ecology, and history from an expert guide.
Top photo courtesy of Montage Deer Valley.