Travel: Three great summer mountain getaways

Allecia Vermillion

Don’t rule out a trip to the mountains when ski season comes to an end. For many high-altitude resort areas, snow’s departure means golf, hiking, water sports, and embracing an area’s history and local arts offerings. Savoring the scenery with a good book or cup of coffee is also encouraged.

These mountain hotspots offer all levels of activity against a backdrop of stellar scenery.

Asheville, N.C.

Do you prefer your mountain retreat with a side of art galleries and sidewalk cafes? Asheville offers a small urban oasis with ready access to the splendors of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Population of the town: 73,900

Avg. cost of meal: $20

Airfare: $200

Hotel: $150

Best time to go: July is the warmest month of the year, although temperatures usually remain in the low 70s.

Off the beaten path: Beloved bald mountain Max Patch offers stunning views, and the route to the summit passes through quaint mountain towns far from the tourist zone.

Main attractions: Spend a day touring the famous Biltmore estate or hike the Looking Glass Rock Trail.

Truckee, Calif.

This former frontier town and nearby Donner Lake offer a warmer, less-crowded alternative to Lake Tahoe. Water sports and outdoor adventures abound, and Truckee’s frontier-era downtown boasts shops, bars and restaurants.

Population of the town: 16,000

Avg. cost of meal: $35

Airfare: $300

Hotel: $200

Best time to go: May through September

Off the beaten path: The Emigrant Trail Museum in Donner Memorial State Park tells the story of the Donner party’s grisly winter spent snowbound near the lake that now bears their name.

Main attractions: Bike, golf or enjoy water sports on Donner Lake.

Dunton Hot Springs, Colo.

A restored ghost town in the Colorado Rockies mixes the rugged outdoors with unabashed luxury. Visitors select their own private log cabin and eat communal meals of locally grown meats and produce.

Population of the town: 905 in neighboring town of Dolores.

Avg. cost of meal: Included

Airfare: $400

Hotel: $900 per night for a couple

Best time to go: Wildflowers hit their peak in late June and early July, or hunt for the elusive chanterelle mushrooms that flourish in August.

Off the beaten path: Travel by horseback to the resort’s private vineyard, about one hour south in McElmo Canyon.

Main attractions: Visit the spa, go kayaking, horseback riding or tipple in the old mining town’s saloon.

Sources: U.S. Census,, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Dunton Hot Springs, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce