5 Small Mountain Towns That Will Make You Enjoy Winter
While some people dread the snow and cold weather, there can be something so enchanting about a mountain town in the winter. Whether it’s the fresh mountain air or the local restaurants with unique, delicious bites, these five small mountain towns will have you itching to plan a winter getaway.
- Telluride, Colorado
Colorado is filled with so many beautiful towns that attract travelers from all over. Telluride is a welcoming, snug little town that is located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. It has over 2,000 acres of terrain, plenty of breathtaking ski spots, 300 inches of snow and over 200 days of sun annually. This former mining town and Colorado gem has a one-of-a-kind, local atmosphere providing the perfect location for a relaxing escape from reality.
What to do: For the adventure junkie, Helitrax offers heli-skiing and backcountry tours. A day trip consists of six runs totaling 10,000 to 14,000 vertical feet of skiing. For those who prefer to stay off the slopes, there are plenty locally-owned boutique shops that line the streets of the historic downtown.
Where to eat: The food and dining is just as unique as the landscape in Telluride. Alpino Vino, the highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in North America sits above the Wilson Range at 11,966 feet. They offer a 5-course dining experience truly like no other.
- Ouray, Colorado
With a nickname like the “Switzerland of America” you would think this town would be flooded with visitors. There are high mountain peaks and plenty of waterfalls in every direction you look. Ouray is also known as The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado, making this town a fun-filled hidden treasure. There’s only about 1,000 residents that call Ouray their home, but there are plenty of deer and wildlife that wander the outskirts of the picturesque main street.
What to do: Ouray is known for its sulfur-free hot springs. Spend the evening soaking in the hot springs after a long day of climbing at Ouray Ice Park. The town’s hot springs have bubbled up along the Uncompahgre River for thousands of years and range in temperature from 80 to 150 degrees.
Where to eat: Head to the rooftop at Ouray Brewery for a lighter lunch with house-made brews and comfort food. Brickhouse 737 is the perfect dinner choice for any explorer as their dishes are travel-inspired. They work with local farms, dairies and ranchers to make sure their food is unforgettable.
- Leavenworth, Washington
You’ll feel like you just stepped into Germany in this Bavarian-style small town just a few hours outside of Seattle. This can’t miss spot nestled in the Cascade Mountains has everything from wine tastings to reindeer visits. The 500,000 glistening lights and European-style architecture make this town a true winter wonderland.
What to do: Leavenworth attracts adventure seekers with plenty of hiking, climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. For the animal lovers, enjoy a trip to a reindeer farm or take a ride on a horse drawn sleigh. Can’t forget about the beautiful shops on Front Street.
Where to eat: Not only is the architecture Bavarian-inspired, but so is the food. Head to Andreas Keller for delicious, traditional German dishes, imported beers and live music. The staff looks like they came straight from Germany with their Bavarian-style attire.
- Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is a 200-year old scenic mountain town located near Mount Mansfield—the highest peak in Vermont. It has been nicknamed the “Ski Capital of the East”. This picture-perfect ski town has everything from outdoor snow sports to fireplace dining.
What to do: Aside from skiing, Stowe offers a variety of winter fun with Nordic skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, fat biking and sleigh rides. Stowe also hosts a Winter Carnival with ice carving, snow golf and snow volleyball competitions.
Where to eat: Doc Ponds is a local’s favorite and it is the perfect spot to eat after hitting the slopes. With an industrial modern look and vinyl record music, you cannot go wrong. Not to mention, they have over 25 beers on tap for any beer lovers out there.
- Whitefish, Montana
Last but not least, Whitefish is sure to cure your winter blues. This cute and charming town sits on the edge of Whitefish Lake and Big Mountain. Whitefish makes the perfect winter getaway as you can ski, explore Glacier National Park or stroll through the scenic downtown.
What to do: Like many other ski towns, Whitefish offers snowboarding, fat tire biking, snowshoeing and ice skating. One unique thing about Whitefish is that you can go on a customized ice climbing trip. Don’t let the sound of that scare you, they take first-time climbers!
Where to eat: While there are many amazing things in Whitefish, their crepes might take the cake. Amazing Crepes is a cute little cafe located in the heart of Whitefish. They offer a wide variety of sweet and savory crepes, making it the perfect breakfast spot to start your day.
Whether you are a skier, adventure seeker, shopaholic or foodie, there is plenty of winter fun to be had in the mountains. Make sure to keep these towns in mind when you start planning your next winter getaway!