17 Coziest American Mountain Towns

Snuggling up in America’s best mountainous regions

Up in the mountains, the air is fresher and the views are better. There’s a sense of calm, as the only sounds come from nature—a babbling creek or a chirping robin. A getaway in the mountains can clear your head and get you in touch with the great outdoors, all while answering the call for adventure.

As sweater weather rolls in, now is the most idyllic time to escape to the mountains. To inspire your next rustic retreat, we’ve picked 17 of the best mountain towns in America—in no particular order. Explore these towns in the foothills and spend your days shredding slopes, uncovering the local history, and getting cozy by the fireplace.

Fun fact: You might recognize this resort city, located on Payette Lake’s southern shore, as the filming destination for the 1940s western film, “Northwest Passage.”

Where to play: It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like outside; the Manchester Ice Rink and Events Center is always ready for you to carve up the ice. Practice your spins during free skate, drop in on a hockey game, or cheer on the McCall Curling Club from the stands.

What to eat: Your mountain retreat calls for a fresh plate of Idaho ruby rainbow trout, and Steamers Steak and Seafood is just the place to order it. This lodge-inspired eatery serves hearty meals, from top sirloin steak to baked shrimp scampi, which will surely warm your heart and soul.

Where to stay: Shore Lodge. This lakeside retreat invites you to unwind in the heated immersion pool and indulge with a massage at the on-site spa. No matter the season, the lodge will help hook you up with adventures on the nearby lake, slopes, and trails.

Fun fact: Burke Mountain Academy, the country’s first ski school of its kind, has produced 33 Olympians and 128 national team athletes.

Where to play: You’re in ice climbing country, so grab your crampons and scale some frozen waterfalls! Kingdom Adventures Mountain Guides teach one-day courses, giving you all the tips and tricks you need to make it to the top.

Where to eat: Right off the snowmobile trails, Burke Publick House has some homemade cooking that’ll warm you right up. Get the pub feel with some fish and chips, or wash down a steak sandwich with a pint of Vermont craft beer.

Where to stay: Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center is where your adventures start and end each day. A ski-in, ski-out/bike-in, bike-out lodge, it boasts views of Willoughby Gap and Burke Mountain, providing the rustic retreat you’ve been dreaming of.

Fun fact: The town of Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company in 1879. The company built a railroad line that ran from Durango to Silverton, transporting both freights and passengers between the two towns.

Where to play: Any Colorado cowboy would agree: The best way to explore the scenic Durango landscape is by horseback. At Rapp Corral, gallop and trot on a horse of your own through the aspen forests, but come the snowy season, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride along the frosty mountain trails.

Where to eat: You’ll quickly learn about this mountain town’s history, but venture to Steamworks Brewing Co. to see its more modern contributions: beer. The brewery currently has more than 10 homemade brews on tap that you can pair with your choice of Cajun boil, six-cheese mac, or even a chorizo burger.

Where to stay: You’ve entered into the Wild West, so you might as well stay at the historical 1887 Strater Hotel, where you’ll have run-ins with ragtime performers, dance hall girls, and shootouts at its on-site Diamond Belle Saloon.

Fun fact: In 1832, the first gold coin was minted in this mountain city during the North Carolina Gold Rush.

Where to play: Take a tour of the Green River Plantation and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to the year 1807. The pristine, 42-room mansion is frozen in time, showcasing architectural elements and lifestyle pieces that demonstrate what life was like long ago.

Where to eat: When your stomach starts to grumble, step right up to Gregory’s Original Restaurant. This town favorite serves hot grinders, chopped sirloin, burger baskets, and more to ensure you leave with a full belly and a smile on your face.

Where to stay: Just a block from the downtown scene, The Firehouse Inn offers a lovely place to rest your head. Relax by the crackling fireplace in the comfort of your guest room and then roam the peaceful courtyard for a dose of fresh air and sunshine.

Fun fact: Berkeley Springs is known for its mineral water, but did you know George Washington vacationed in this town to soak in the hot springs during the 1760s?

Where to play: See for yourself what Washington was on about at the Berkeley Springs State Park. Let your worries melt away in the Roman baths and reach the ultimate state of bliss in the whirlpool bathtub.

Where to eat: Dig your fork into a hefty plate of moody bleu steak linguine, while dining in a room decorated in local artwork. Tari’s Café and Gallery showcases not only delicious lunch and dinner fare, but also designs, paintings, and pottery created by West Virginia artists.

Where to stay: A reflection of the charming town itself, the Country Inn of Berkeley Springs is a quaint place to relax for the night. Find peace and quiet in the English garden and rejuvenate your mind and body at the on-site Renaissance Spa.

Fun fact: Scenes from Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 film, “Gold Rush,” were shot in the snowy mountains of this California town.

Where to play: Truckee is teeming with outdoor adventures, from skiing to mountain biking, but sometimes all you need is a nice place to sit and sip a glass of wine. The Truckee River Winery offers just that—sample a wine flight and snuggle up around the fireplace in the barrel room or find a quiet spot outside, overlooking the horseshoe pits.

Where to eat: Morgan’s Lobster Shack brings the taste of East Coast fare to the Tahoe Basin. Take a bite out of the northeast when you order the lobster roll and expect a slice of New Orleans with the oyster po’ boy.

Where to stay: Why stay in a hotel when you can have your own private cabin? Make Glacier Luxury Lodge your home away from home, as you overlook the mountain range from a spacious timber-frame home.

Fun fact: Artist Georgia O’Keeffe spent many summers on the shores of Lake George, gathering inspiration for her famous paintings.

Where to play: When the temperatures drop in Lake George, bundle up and head outdoors for some winter fun. Cast a line on the frozen lake for an afternoon of ice fishing, sled down the hills at Battlefield Park, or freestyle on the outdoor ice rink next to Lake George High School.

Where to eat: Designed to look like a vintage logging camp, Log Jam has created the ultimate Adirondacks feel with stone fireplaces and wood floors. Come hungry and chow down on chair-broiled porterhouse or some maple Dijon salmon, while enjoying the authentic lumber setting.

Where to stay: The enchanting Inn at Erlowest is calling your name. Perched on the edge of Lake George, this 1898 stone castle is reminiscent of a bygone era. The roaring fireplace and cocktail list at the Library Bar are far too tempting to ignore.

Fun fact: Jacksonville has preserved so many of its buildings that almost the entire city is a National Historic Landmark.

Where to play: What better way to soak up the mountainous scenery than sipping your way through wine country? Embark on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, where you can get a taste of Southern Oregonian varietals with views of the rolling hillside.

Where to eat: At C St. Bistro, you can expect dishes made with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Fusing American, European, and Asian styles, this downtown restaurant will have you wanting to try everything on the menu.

Where to stay: Whether you’re exploring the town solo or vacationing with your honey, the Magnolia Inn is the perfect place to put up your feet. With antique-style rooms, an outdoor veranda, and views of the state’s oldest church, this inn offers the epitome of comfort and class.

Fun fact: Lead was home to North America’s largest and deepest underground mine, Homestake Mine, until it closed its doors in 2002.

Where to play: Autumn brings an elaborate display of fall foliage to Spearfish Canyon, but the winter brings fresh powder. Test your fear of heights with an ice climbing adventure up the frozen canyon walls or get some speed on a snowmobiling excursion.

Where to eat: When in the mountains, do as the locals do and eat wild game. Homestake Chophouse dishes out elk osso buco and Colorado lamb, but also a variety of seafood and hand-cut steak. Whatever you decide on, be sure to save room for dessert.

Where to stay: Spend the night at Spearfish Canyon Lodge, where you’ll wake up to the smell of fresh mountain air. Surrounded by towering pine trees, the lodge looks out over nature’s beauty. Venture out into the great outdoors and then defrost around the 40-foot fireplace.

Fun fact: Midway is home to the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. Naturally heated to a toasty 96 degrees F, the diving spot is located in the Homestead Crater on Homestead Resort.

Where to play: Winter in Midway calls for some cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow. Shred the Pony Express and take the plunge on the Rollercoaster trail, before rounding out the day flying down Utah’s longest tubing lanes. Your fingers might be frozen come nightfall, but the adventures are well worth it.

Where to eat: Follow your appetite to Café Galleria. This pizza joint, decorated with photographs of Italy, serves thin-crust pies hot off the wood-fired grill. The Milanese, Genevese, and Siciliana pizzas will surely have you saying, “Si, grazie,” to a second and third slice.

Where to stay: We know you’re curious about that crater, so book a stay at Homestead Resort to see it for yourself. Snorkel down into the depths or simply soak in the heated mineral water before resting up in the homestead’s inviting guest rooms, suites, or condos.

Fun fact: Girdwood is Alaska’s only year-round resort town with activities and attractions open during every season.

Where to play: Get the lay of the land from high in the sky on the Alyeska Aerial Tram. This scenic ride traverses through the mountains, giving you the best seat in the house to view hanging glaciers, spruce trees, and maybe even a moose or two!

Where to eat: Finally, a place where vegans and carnivores can eat and get along. Jack Sprat offers the best of both worlds: vegan and vegetarian delights as well as sustainable meat and seafood dishes.

Where to stay: Ski Inn is a perfect choice for staying overnight. Located near Girdwood Park and the town square, the guesthouse places you in the heart of all the nearby action. Pick one of the nine guestrooms and carve out some time to spend roaming around the garden.

Fun fact: The world’s largest candy counter is located at Chutters in Littleton. Displaying more than 500 kinds of candy, spanning 112 feet, this candy shop is the place to go to feed your sweet tooth.

Where to play: The Dells. The nature trails around the pond offer a great escape when you feel yourself getting cabin fever. If there’s snow on the ground, gear up for a snowmobiling or cross-country skiing outing and relish the winter wonderland.

Where to eat: Pull up a stool at the copper top bar at the Beal House Inn. This charming tavern invites you in to get comfortable with a plate of roasted cod and a cold brew—stick around for some VT maple crème brulee and a peanut butter blondie.

Where to stay: It’s practically sacrilegious to visit this region without staying at a historical New England inn. The Adair Country Inn and Restaurant has you covered, though. Dating back to 1927, this property features well-appointed guest rooms, a darling garden, and even a library pub.

Fun fact: Famous architect Frank Gehry designed his first project, David Cabin, in this town in 1958.

Where to play: Enjoy the rugged views of San Jacinto Wilderness while hoofing your way up Tahquitz Peak, but if rock climbing is more your style, jump on the routes at nearby Suicide Rock. When the winter weather rolls in, Weeping Wall is an ideal spot for ice climbing, so don’t forget to pack your crampons.

Where to eat: When hunger strikes, Restaurant Gastrognome will take good care of you. Offering three eating areas—the main dining room, café area, and outdoor patio—this Idyllwild staple has a vast menu with everything from lobster and coconut halibut to beef Thai pasta and filet mignon. Dig in!

Where to stay: Creekstone Inn is just a short walk away from the village, but you may just be tempted to stay indoors and curl up around the fireplace. Play a round on the pool table and then head to the inn’s private mountain view lookout, where you can see Tahquitz Peak and Lily Rock in the distance.

Fun fact: The first home ever built in Cle Elum was a cabin, constructed by Thomas and Barbara Gamble in 1881.

Where to play: Iron Horse State Park Trail is a prime place to be to get in touch with nature. Summertime is great for freshwater fishing and mountain biking, while the wintertime is ideal for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even dog sledding.

Where to eat: After romping around the state park, wine and dine at Swiftwater Cellars—you’ve earned it! The winery’s Hoist House Restaurant partners with local purveyors to bring you the finest, freshest ingredients straight from the farm to your fork. From Jidori chicken roulade to the summer vegetable flatbread, you’ll find plenty to pair with a glass of vino.

Where to stay: When you’re setting up camp in the Cascade Mountains, you can’t go wrong with reservations at the Stewart Lodge. Situated near all the best outdoor adventures, this accommodation provides the mountain getaway you’ve been craving.

Fun fact: Ellijay, which is known as the Apple Capital of Georgia, hosts the annual Georgia Apple Festival, one of North Georgia’s biggest events.

Where to play: You don’t have to rough it to enjoy this scenic city in the mountains. Instead of lacing up your hiking boots, hit the shops in the historical downtown. Treasure hunt at Blackberry Mountain Antiques and Collectibles, and view the artwork at the Apple Country Art Gallery to get a feel for this lovely area.

Where to eat: Everyone raves about the tomato basil soup at Cantaberry Restaurant, so it’s about time you tasted it for yourself. This downtown eatery specializes in homemade soup and gourmet sandwich combos—the perfect grub for a chilly day in the mountains.

Where to stay: If you don’t mind a little road trip, head 26 miles southeast to nearby Dahlonega, where you’ll find the majestic Forrest Hills Resort. Settle into one of the cabins and then explore the property. See the horses at Gold City Corral, and if the weather is warm enough, play some volleyball on the courts or join a horseshoe pit game.

Fun fact: Marcus Daly, one of Montana’s “copper kings,” founded Hamilton in the late 19th century. Learn about the town’s history with a tour of the Daly Mansion, where he resided.

Where to play: You’ll spend plenty of time exploring the mountain scenery, so why not take a break and get a glimpse into the past? The Ravalli County Museum and Historical Society spotlights everything from Lewis and Clark’s journey through the valley to the significance of trappers and miners in the town’s early days.

Where to eat: At Higherground Brewing Co., you don’t have to wait to find that sandwich at the bottom of your beer. This local brewery serves not only homemade brews, but also an awesome selection of specialty pizzas.

Where to stay: You haven’t really experienced the Montana wilderness until you perfect your marksmanship and master the art of fly fishing. At Trappers Peak and Guest Lodge, you can do both. Stay at this rural lodge and the resort guides will take you out into the Bitterroot Valley, showing you adventures just outside your doorstep.

Fun fact: Rock hounds rejoice in Bethel! This mountain town is part of Maine’s mineral belt.

Where to play: Test your mining skills on a Maine Mineralogy Expedition, where you can dig for gems, learn how to identify them, and even pocket your findings.

Where to eat: You’ll be sorry if you visit this town without a stop at Rooster’s Roadhouse. This local restaurant and pub will spoil your taste buds with everything from fresh Maine lobster to jumbo spare ribs.

Where to stay: The Bethel Inn Resort. Take your pick between staying at the traditional inn or the townhomes, but either way, you’ll be within walking distance of the golf course and cross-country ski trails. Be sure to relish the views of the White Mountains during your stay.

Image Sources

East Burke: Flickr/lori05871