Seven of the Best Ski Resorts for Summer Hiking

Ski resorts are good at keeping track of trails. They score trail difficulty and make maps of them. Of course, they usually do this for their ski runs, but most of them also do this for summer activities such as hiking. Ski resorts are great destinations for a summer day hike.

Ski resorts are great destinations for summer outdoor activities. They are situated in beautiful alpine settings and offer many other amenities. Chair lifts operate in the summer giving access to higher elevation trails that often cannot easily be reached by car. For these reasons, ski resorts make perfect hiking destinations for the summer.

Royal Elk Trail at Beaver Creek Resort in the White River National Forest

I did some research at the ski resorts and on the internet to find the best ski resorts for summer hiking. These resorts have taken the time to provide visitors with color maps of their hiking trails often providing elevation gain and distance information, as well as ranking the trails by difficulty. If you go skiing each winter or have a ski resort near you, chances are the resort where you normally ski also has summer outdoor activities, including hiking. Often you can find accommodations at the resort for a fraction of what you would normally pay during peak ski season.

Here are seven of the best ski resorts for summer hiking.

1. Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado.

Hiking Trail MapNumber of Trails Trail Descriptions

Beaver Creek Resort is situated in the White River National Forest near Vail, Colorado. To reach the resort by car go west on Interstate Highway 70 for two hours from Denver, Colorado. I have hiked many of the trails and they offer a good variety for beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Beaver Creek Resort is a luxury ski destination near Vail, Colorado. It has an extensive network of well-marked hiking trails that offer great experiences for both beginners and more experienced hikers. I reviewed the hiking opportunities at Beaver Creek Resort in a recent post, which provides more details about the specific trails and some options for different levels of hikers. As with other resorts, Beaver Creek Resort also offers an ongoing program of summer activities if you are staying at the resort. There is also a Hiking Center office at the resort where you can get more information about the trails and book a guide.

2. Park City, Utah.

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

Park City is just a 40-minute drive east of Salt Lake City International Airport. Park City is an outdoor enthusiast mecca. Park City is located on the backside of the Wasatch range from Salt Lake City. It is also at about 7,000 ft elevation and is much cooler in the summer than Salt Lake City. The area features both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Park Resort. A family could spend days here exploring all of the hiking trails that the area has to offer. Park City is also a mecca for mountain biking having been given a Gold-level Ride Center rating in 2011 by the International Mountain Biking Association.

Park City is at the number two spot on this list because of the extensive trails available in the area and because it is so easy to get to from Salt Lake City. I drove out there on a Saturday while on a business trip. I was able to get in a quick hike and was back to my hotel in Salt Lake City by mid afternoon.

3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

Arriving at number three on this list is Jackson Hole, Wyoming that offers 20+ hiking trails for summer hikers. Jackson Hole Airport is located within Grand Teton National Park. From the airport, it is a short 15-mile drive to the resort. I put Jackson Hole at number three on this list because it offers many trails that are for hiking only. Trails designated for mountain biking and hiking both can be dangerous if you are not paying attention. Bikes can come upon you quickly in the woods since you cannot hear until they are right on top of you as they fly downhill through the trees.

4. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

The Glacier Park International Airport is just 19 miles from the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana. The site only lists ten trails, but as with other resorts, there are probably many more for adventurous hikers to explore. The higher elevation trails are located in the Flathead National Forest.

Whitefish, Montana, is at precisely 3,028 feet (923 meters) above sea level, making it the lowest elevation ski town on this list. Not by chance, it is also the farthest north. If you are concerned about adjusting to a higher altitude, then Whitefish could be a good option for a summer hiking destination. The top of the ski runs at the resort at only around 6,000 feet.

5. Vail Ski Resort, Colorado

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

Vail offers a quaint village with immediately accessible hiking trails. The resort village is a two-hour drive west of the Denver International Airport on Interstate Highway 70. The ski resort attracts summer hikers from all over the world. I met people from Mexico, Argentina, and Portugal who came to Vail to take advantage of all of the outdoor activities in the White River National Forest that are on offer, such as white water rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, etc.

The town of Vail has a walkable center and is jam-packed with excellent restaurants and shopping that will entice those with a larger pocketbook. In the summer, you can rent inner tubes and float down Gore creek that runs through Vail – an excellent activity for kids. We asked one outfitter if we could rent a tube for just 10 minutes, and they gave it to us for free. Earlier, we ate at Sweet Basil restaurant, which I can highly recommend to anyone wanting a perfect lunch menu overlooking Gore creek.

6. Steamboat Ski Resort, Colorado

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

To get to Steamboat you can fly into the Yampa Valley Regional Airport and drive less than 30 miles east, or you can arrive from the Denver International Airport by driving three and half hours northwest. The Steamboat Ski Resort is located within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. The map includes other multiuse trails and service roads that are open to horses and vehicles. The distance of the trails ranges from 3.8 miles to just 0.5 miles. Most of the trails are designated for both mountain biking and hiking.

7. Heavenly Ski Resort Lake Tahoe, California

Hiking Trail MapNumber of TrailsTrail Descriptions

To get to the Heavenly Ski Resort, you can fly into the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and drive just over one hour south on Interstate Highway 580. Alternatively, you can fly into the Sacramento International Airport and drive about two hours east on US Highway 50.

If you are in South Lake Tahoe, it is worth going on one of the hikes at the Heavenly ski resort. They are relatively short, with the longest one being about 1.5 miles uphill. There are plenty of other things to do around Lake Tahoe in the summer including kayaking and jet-skiing on the lake.

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