America's Best Mountain Resorts
There may still be snow at the summit of Aspen Mountain, but down below on the patio of The Little Nell resort, the crowd enjoying après-hiking, après-shopping, and après-festival cocktails has swapped down jackets and ski goggles for shorts and sundresses. Related: America's Favorite Mountain Towns Aspen’s most luxurious resort draws guests seeking five-star service and see-and-be-seen ambience whatever the season. Not surprisingly, The Little Nell was one of six properties in Colorado to make it into America’s best mountain resorts, a list of 20 hotels in the Rockies, Tetons, Adirondacks, and beyond, culled from our reader-selected World’s Best Awards Survey. From hip to historic, romantic to kid-friendly, these properties all provide a literal breath of fresh air, dramatic views, and a convenient base for getting an adrenaline fix. Yosemite National Park plays host to one of these great mountain resorts, the Ahwahnee, set amid towering cliffs and waterfalls. It’s easy to set out from here to the trailheads for El Capitan and Half Dome, but it can be tempting just to linger at this recently renovated landmark that blends Art Deco and Native American influences—especially when there’s a view of Half Dome right from your window. Related: America's Best All-Inclusive Resorts While the western mountains go for high drama, the Great Smoky Mountains are hazy and undulating, known for folk art, bluegrass music, and 20-year-old bourbon. Set on 4,200 acres, Blackberry Farm’s 51 Anglo-American rooms are spread throughout the main house, three guesthouses, and 20 cottages. The best place to hang out is on one of the rocking chairs positioned on the front lawn for the biggest local attraction: sundown over the Smokies. Related: America's Most Romantic Winter Destinations Then there are the mountain resorts that families return to year after year for their cozy, casual vibe and roster of activities. At Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in Lake Placid, NY, our readers’ No. 9 choice, you can start your day with a morning canoe ride and then test your mettle on the only bobsled, luge, and skeleton track east of the Rockies, at the nearby Lake Placid Olympic site. Want to know which mountain resort was voted No. 1? Read on for all the winners. —Donna Heiderstadt
Nature lovers of every stripe can get their fix of foliage, mountain vistas, and wildlife spotting on a backpacking trip. Still, even people who love the great outdoors can find the prospect of setting up a camp with only the items on your back a little daunting. The truth of the matter is, when you’re traveling into the wilderness with only your feet to carry you and every item strapped to your body, your packing list must be heavily edited—and the items on it super lightweight. Related: 18 Cute Hiking Boots to Take You From Trail to Town On your first trip, it's always tempting to bring more than you need; the fear of forgetting something can sneak a few non-essentials into your pack. That's why, before attempting an overnight jaunt, it's a good idea to put everything you're planning to bring on a day hike. You'll know pretty quickly what items simply aren't worth the added weight. So, besides a backpack, what exactly do beginner backpackers need for their first overnight trip? Read on for our complete list of adventuring essentials.
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Through rain or shine, spring is easily one of the most confusing seasons. With the weather transitioning from the cold of winter into the warmth of summer, anything can happen—it can be freezing one day and a few days later it seems like summer. Add springtime traveling into the mix, and you never know what type of weather you are going to get. The best way to handle indecisive Mother Nature is to always carry a lightweight and transitional jacket. When thinking about great spring outerwear, the first style that most people think of is the iconic trench coat. This military inspired staple has become a traditional favorite all over the world because of its durability and flexibility within the wardrobe. But a different kind of jacket is making its way to become the must-have item have this season—the anorak parka. This sportier style of outerwear was seen all over the spring runways, and many brands have created their own version. While each style varies in in its own way, some of the features that these jackets have are drawstrings for syncing, lightweight breathable fabrics (great for a hike or other outdoor activities), and the ability to move freely and get active during this time, when the weather can't seem to make up its mind. Of course, one of the best features that a spring jacket could have is waterproof or water repellant properties. Whether you get caught in a surprise thunderstorm, or are sailing and want to shield yourself from the ocean spray, a jacket with GORE-TEX®, which makes waterproof and breathable fabrics, will have you covered. We have found the most stylish jackets for you to get this spring—all of them are lightweight, simple to pack, and easy to transition into your wardrobe, no matter what the occasion.
Everyone who has read Cheryl Strayed's Wild has probably envisioned themselves heading out into the woods with little but a tent, a water bottle, and a worn-in pear of hiking boots. Related: The Best Hiking Trails Near Major Cities But before you try to take on all 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, you'll need to test out your gear, train your body, and try your patience. The best way to prep? Take shorter trips to acclimate your body and figure out what you really need (and don't need) for six months on the trail. After all, backpacking is a skill, and like most skills it takes practice to master. These trails, from the coast of Maine to the meadows of Shenandoah, are perfect for beginners: short, sweet, and scenic.
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T+L Hiking Guide
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