Summer in the mountains is just as action-packed and fun-filled as it is when blanketed in winter’s white stuff. For this reason, an increased number of ski resorts are investing in providing a venue for and access to warm-weather mountain activities. To help you experience the cream of the crop, we compiled a list of the best mountain resorts in North America for summer activities. Resorts that made this list offer a staggering amount to experience and some of the most breathtaking mountain views in all of North America.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Offering convenience to two exceptionally gorgeous National Parks, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole is an ideal basecamp for the vacationer who wants to experience wilderness, wildlife and authentic Wild-West charm. Jackson Hole is just a couple miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and about an hour’s drive from Yellowstone’s south entrance.
When you’re not exploring the parks from your car, tour bus or afoot on the main hiking trails, Jackson Hole provides a laundry list of summer activities, including lift-served hiking and mountain biking, cross-country mountain biking, road cycling, whitewater rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, golf, fly fishing and Western heritage experiences like horseback riding and the twice weekly rodeos or re-enacted cowboy shoot-outs Mondays through Saturdays in downtown Jackson’s famous town square.
Where to stay: For easy access to all the downtown summer events and festivals, shack up at the chic White Buffalo Club.
Banff Lake Louise, Banff, AB
Situated within Banff National Park in the rugged Canadian Rockies and home to many breathtaking glacial mountain lakes, Banff and Lake Louise offers summer visitors 360º of spectacular views.
Stunning year-round, Banff National Park’s beauty is even more accessible in the summer. Many visitors enjoy exploring the park via kayak, canoe, paddleboard or guided boat tour. Fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and road cycling are also popular ways to take in the extraordinary scenery, and guided tours are available for whichever way you prefer to experience the area. After a full, satisfying day in the wilderness, rejuvenate and rest your body in Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Where to stay: For unobstructed views and access to one of Canada’s gems, stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Whistler, B.C., Canada
Renowned as the top mountain biking destination, Whistler is a true paradise for those who enjoy two-wheeled adventures. As a former Olympic host and the largest ski resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb is very well-equipped to offer a full gamut of summer activities.
Just about every imaginable alpine pursuit can be enjoyed on a Whistler Blackcomb summer vacation, but the don’t-miss experiences include guided bear viewing, hiking, a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, fishing, ziplining with Ziptrek Ecotours, glacial summer skiing and a salmon bake jeep tour. When in Whistler, a tour of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is in high order, too. The art and exhibits on display showcase the histories, creative works and cultures of the area’s native peoples.
Where to stay: You can nearly zipline to your door, on the Ziptrek Ecotours Eagle Tour, when staying at the Pan Pacific Mountainside in Whistler Village.
Home to a significant collection of Colorado’s highest—and most spectacular—peaks, Aspen provides an ideal setting for the summer recreator who enjoys great views and access to a world-class mountain town.
A popular home base for year-round endurance and mountaineering athletes, Aspen has no shortage of hiking, trail running, mountain biking and road cycling routes to challenge the body and please the eye. Aspen is also well suited for more leisurely summer mountain activities, like cruiser rides from the famed Maroon Bells, horseback riding, still-water SUPing, outdoor concerts and al fresco dining. For adrenaline junkies, the Roaring Fork River is a top venue for whitewater rafting, but other river trips are available on the nearby Arkansas and Colorado rivers.
Where to stay: All the summer events and festivals, as well as the Silver Queen Gondola, are within easy walking distance from the Limelight Hotel in downtown Aspen.
Lake Tahoe, California
In the summer, water sports dominate activities in Lake Tahoe, making it a great destination to beat the heat and take in the beautiful juxtaposition of the crystal blue waters and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.
Kayaking, SUPing boat tours, cliff jumping, wave runners and water skiing are popular Lake Tahoe summer activities, but when you want to take the adventuring to land, plenty of dry experiences abound. Visitors can enjoy views of Lake Tahoe below while they zipline down one of Heavenly’s two routes. Mountain bikers who enjoy gravity will have a blast at Northstar’s lift-served downhill trails. Since hundreds of miles of hiking trails surround Lake Tahoe, exploring the area afoot is another great way to see all the sights and get exercise.
Where to stay: Enjoy lakefront convenience and exceptional views when staying at the Edgewood Tahoe.
Crested Butte, Colorado
For seasoned mountain bikers, few destinations can compete with Crested Butte’s cross-country trails. If you don’t believe us, check out this list of top resorts for mountain biking. In addition to its world-class cross-country trails, Crested Butte is renowned for the well-designed and maintained lift-served Evolution Bike Park. Boasting four beginner trails, four intermediate trails, four advanced trails and two expert trails, Evolution caters to every ability level.
Home of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Crested Butte is absolutely stunning throughout July, when the high-alpine flowers set entire hillsides ablaze in color. One of the most spectacular ways to experience this incredible display is to make the 12-mile trek over West Maroon Pass to Aspen. Other popular summer activities in Crested Butte include fly fishing, horseback riding, road cycling, SUPing and whitewater rafting.
Where to stay: For easy access to the famed lifts-served Evolution Bike Park, book your summer getaway at the Elevation Hotel and Spa in the Crested Butte Mountain Resort base village.
Providing access to a slew of family-friendly activities and experiences, as well as varied, lift-served mountain biking, Snowmass is the ultimate summer mountain destination for the visitor who wants it all at their fingertips.
A top family summer activity in Snowmass includes Valhalla Nights, held atop Elk Camp Gondola on select Tuesday evenings throughout the summers. At Valhalla Nights, kids can enjoy zooming around in the Strider Park, bouncing on the bungee trampoline or pretending they’re Spiderman on the mini-climbing wall, while parents take in the high-alpine scenery and enjoy food, drinks and live music. The whole gang will also enjoy Snowmass Bike Park, where everyone can experience the fun of riding a mountain bike downhill. Snowmass is also situated just steps from world-class hiking and cross-country mountain biking trails, like Government, Rim Trail and Sky Mountain Park.
Where to stay: For bike in bike access, opt for Capitol Peak Lodge in Snowmass Base Village.
Ride to the top of the Vail’s Eagle Bahn Gondola and get access to downhill mountain biking trails, cross-country mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and Adventure Ridge, which becomes an outdoor playground for kids and adults in the summertime.
Adventure Ridge provides access to more than just a host of unforgettable experiences; it also offers spectacular views of the Gore Range and convenience to the Eagle’s Nest lodge, which makes it easy to grab a bite or refreshment when hunger hits. From Adventure Ridge, you can also zipline, play a game of disc golf and test your mettle on a challenging ropes course!
Where to stay: From the bike in bike out Lion Square Lodge you can enjoy a patio view of the bike trails and cool down in the outdoor pools.
Offering traditional summer mountain activities, like hiking, horseback riding, road cycling, whitewater rafting, fly fishing and mountain biking and theme park-inspired attractions, Breckenridge is an excellent summer mountain destination for visitors who are undecided in their vacation style.
Two of Breck’s most popular summer attractions are the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster and the TenMile Flyer Zipline, which are sure to illicit squeals and smiles from the young and young at heart. The Gold Runner descends 2,500 feet from the base of Peak 8, and the TenMile Flyer zooms over fields of wildflowers at speeds of 45 miles per hour. Breckenridge’s charming, historical downtown area provides an idyllic, leisurely setting for walking around, shopping, dining al fresco or sipping on a cool beverage on a summer afternoon.
Where to stay: For the most central location to the resort and Main Street experience, the Village at Breckenridge condominiums are a top choice.
If you’re ready to experience all the activities your favorite ski resorts have to offer in the summer, book your vacation today! Start by building your customized quote. If you have additional questions, call our Mountain Travel Experts at 800-610-8911.
Director of SEO + Content
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.