After having spent over a week in the mountains, where the only things you hear are the streams, the wind rushing through pine forests and wildlife going about their lives day in day out, I can’t help but look at some of the best mountain surrounded cities across the US. While many people think of coastal towns when they look forward to their ideal destinations, without being particularly wrong in doing so, they overlook the sense of calm and serenity of a quaint small town in the middle of a mountainous range. Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go clubbing at the best coastal club. Some people want to relax and unwind and while the coast can give you that, fresh mountain air has a more impressive impact on de-stressing you after a long year of staying in an office with computers and task requirements left and right.

When you think about a trip in the mountains, while skiing can be a part of your itinerary, a holiday in the mountains is a whole lot more than just that. It’s looking up into the sky and seeing the Milky Way. It’s about looking into the distance and seeing nothing but the outline of the mountains against the starry night sky. Finding a city where the mountains give all the benefits of big city life isn’t difficult. But if you spend an extra hour you may even find those small towns that are located in the middle of mountain ranges and once you’re there, it will be more than worth it for the way time slows down as you sit on a cabin log porch with a book and a nice cup of coffee.

From lovely locals willing to tell you stories of adventures they have had to bars that tell a story themselves, the mountains are the main appeal for some of these destinations. Surrounded by white peaked mountains or forest covered ranges, the following cities live in the shadow of giants and will surely leave a long lasting impact and a sense of wonder at how truly beautiful life can be to bridge the gap between yourself and nature.

Telluride, Colorado

The transformation that Telluride went through in order to become the chic resort town we now know from the rough mining town of decades before, gives it a unique aspect as it sits in the San Juan Mountain. With stories of a by-gone era and figures that remain in modern culture to this day, this former Victorian-era silver mining community will impress you beyond measure. Aside from the fact that there are no billboards, neon signs or even stop lights makes it one of the most beautiful towns in America. Telluride, Colorado remained in history as the first city where Butch Cassidy robbed a bank back in 1889 and its downtown area is a protected National Historic District so there’s more than mountains to experience when you go there. The fact that the Telluride Ski Resort almost spills into the city gives you an idea of how close the mountain slopes are to the historical urban area. The city also hosts the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, an event where multiple genres of music are embraced and that has an impressive lineup every year so consider that when you plan your trip.

Ketchum, Idaho

If you’ve heard of Ketchum before, you probably heard of its sheep herding and mining history as this small town embraces its past and still follows some of those practices. Located in the shadow of the Sun Valley resort, on your trip here, don’t be surprised if you see some of those sheep herds moving across pastures, hills, bridges and even right through town as they are moved to their greasing grounds. While Ketchum, Idaho is an ideal destination for skiing season, it is a year-round resort as the mountains surrounding it aren’t closed during the summer season. You can hike, bike, camp and be mesmerized by the beauty of the blossoming nature either on forest paths, in meadows or at the peaks because whether its pine, ulm or a daisy, nature becomes alive and you can not help but grow humble at the spectacle. However, this mountain town offers many things to do that don’t involve the giants around it as world-class music and delicious dining options are available throughout town.

Leavenworth, Washington

The west-northern state of Washington has its own natural wonders and the small town of Leavenworth is famous for its Bavarian roots and the Cascade Mountains at the slopes of which it is located. To combine some of the best German beers on menu with the stunning scenery provided by the mountains must be what dreams are made of because somehow you’ll find yourself in Bavaria without even having left the continent of North America. So order a bratwurst and stock on some Bavarian goods because you’ll need plenty of energy to explore the mountainous backdrop that surrounds this small idyllic town. For the perfect memory of this Bavarian culture, you should also stop by Studio 1890 and have your picture taken in traditional Bavarian clothing. If you want to get the best of this city’s entertainment options outside of the outdoor activities provided by nature’s most astounding creation, go in October and see what a true Oktoberfest entails. You won’t regret it. Oh, they also have some great mulled wine.

Aspen, Colorado

Yes, I already included one city in Colorado, but how could I leave Aspen out of a list with cities surrounded by mountains? Isn’t it the most famous American mountain city? If it isn’t then it is always ranked at the top of America’s best mountain towns. In part due to its 14,000-foot peaks, its skiing resorts, Aspen is a favorite for skiers and boarders and it’s easy to see why. Many billionaires and celebrities go here during their winter holiday but the party here doesn’t stop year-round. If there’s no snow on the peaks surrounding the city of Aspen, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the hikes that go through the forests covering those peaks. Fly fishing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and many other summertime activities are available throughout the surrounding area for those seeking adventure at every step. Still, if you’d much rather take it easy and relax, you’ll find plenty of music festivals year-round, where food, wine and art are celebrated. But eateries, art galleries, high-end shops and restaurants are open everyday regardless of the festival’s timeline.


So now that you know which are some of the best US cities surrounded by mountains, which is the one you are going to visit next? Will it be Aspen as the most famous out of the ones mentioned on this list? Will it be Telluride for its interesting story concerning Butch Cassidy? Whichever city you wind up choosing, I am confident that you won’t regret your decision. Furthermore, I am confident that you will grow to appreciate the wild nature of these giants that are proof that our planet likes to grow or get smaller and that it has a life of its own, even if we often overlook that fact when we are busy dealing with the hustle and bustle of our modern lifestyles. We owe it to Mother Earth to cherish these natural treasures and appreciate them, but more than anything else, we owe it to our only hole in this universe to care for nature and let it be in their natural state so that those coming after us get to be astonished by their beauty, power and role in the ecosystem that connects us all.