20 US Destinations For The Best Mountain Views, According To Travelers

The United States has no shortage of beautiful places. Our country is a natural wonder, with landscapes as diverse and varied as anything you'll find across the globe. However, it is our mountains that hold the most majesty. Whether in the quaint charm of Vermont's Green Mountains, or the mighty peaks of the Colorado Rockies, there is a mountain destination for everyone in the United States. 

All mountain towns possess special qualities. They can be found in the quirkiness of a German-themed village in central Washington overlooking the expanse of the Cascade Range. They can be found in the decadent luxury of the world's most iconic ski resorts, nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains. They can be found in the dramatic desert landscape of New Mexico, where the snow-capped mountains shimmer in the sunshine. They can even be found on a ridge overlooking an iconic Civil War battlefield in Tennessee. 

The destinations on this list have been brought to you by careful selection, but are in no particular ranking order. These recommendations come to you based on my own personal experiences, as well as those from other travelers. Some locations will be familiar, while others are more like hidden gems tucked away into the less-traveled corners of their respective states. Regardless of where they are, however, all 20 have one thing in common. They offer the best mountain views in the United States.

Greenville and Rockwood, Maine

When people think of Maine, they rightly think of the rugged coast and Acadia National Park. However, I am going to take you inland to two places that have, in my opinion, the best mountain views in the entire state. The town of Greenville and the village of Rockwood in the north-central Maine Highlands are a two-for-one deal. They are close enough to each other to be considered one entity, and offer some stunning views of the peaks, woods, and waters of inner Maine.

Greenville sits at the base of Moosehead Lake, a 40-mile long and 20-mile wide body of water that I have fished, swam, paddled, and hiked around many times. As you descend into town on Route 6, the expanse of Moosehead and the Great North Woods stretch out before you like a wooded ocean. It is a landscape of dramatic variation.

From Greenville, a short drive north on 6 brings you to Rockwood. From the village marina, you get an unimpeded view of Maine's most unique natural landmark. Mount Kineo rises from the middle of Moosehead Lake like a cresting granite wave. It's a breathtaking natural wonder which can be accessed by ferry from Rockwood. A climb up will give you a view of the entire lake, and, off to the east, a glimpse of the iconic Mount Katahdin. So, take some time to visit the Maine away from the coast. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Stowe, Vermont

As a native New Englander, I can tell you that the reputation Vermont has garnered as the setting of many holiday Hallmark movies is well-earned. All of them, however, vainly attempt to capture the essence of its northerly charm. Honestly, if Hallmark had just made a deal to film all their movies in Stowe, the setting would have been much more believable. 

I speak from personal experience when I say that Stowe is postcard New England. Its old Main Street and white-steepled church are set against the backdrop of the Green Mountains. Thanks to its location in the middle of the state, Stowe offers mountain views in every direction. In spring, summer, and autumn, you can traverse the rolling hillsides on mountain bikes, by foot, or by horse. You could also do as I do and take to one of the areas many excellent fly fishing streams. However, Stowe is truly in its element during winter.

This is because Stowe is home to the Stowe Mountain Resort. Considered the crown jewel of Vermont ski areas, the resort offers over 116 skiing trails stretched across 485 acres of land, perfect for both cross country and downhill skiing. The mountain is known throughout the world as one of the prettiest places to ski, while Stow itself is consistently ranked among the greatest mountain towns in the region, per Outside. If you come for a visit, you'll see why Hallmark is so keen on replicating its atmosphere for their movies. 

North Conway, New Hampshire

Rounding out our trip to northern New England, my home state of New Hampshire. The Granite State is home to the most stunning scenery in the entire country, though I am biased. However, it is an objective fact that New Hampshire routinely draws thousands of yearly visitors who gaze upon the hills alive with the flaming colors of autumn. If there is one place that perfectly captures the essence of New Hampshire's mountains, it is the village of North Conway.

Brimming with New England charm (and plenty of shopping to boot), every direction you look in North Conway is filled with views of the White Mountains. Towering over the town like a sentinel is Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeast, and one of the most treacherously tricky mountains to climb in the world. Other nearby peaks include Mount Monroe, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Madison.

If you're up for a short drive through some stunning scenery, I recommend taking a drive westward over to Franconia Notch in the White Mountains National Forest. When you're there, take a look at a fascinating visual illusion that recreates the view of The Old Man of the Mountain, the iconic New Hampshire landmark that fell due to erosion back in May 2003 (via WMUR-9). Regardless of where you go when you're up in the Whites, North Conway and the surrounding area offer the most beautiful mountain views in the entire region.

Lake Placid, New York

Perfectly situated in New York's gorgeous Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is more famous for hosting the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic ice hockey game against the Soviet Union than it is for its mountain scenery.  Still, these hills are home to some truly tremendous scenery, with the green hills rising high over lakes and streams. As travel bloggers Merissa and Meaghan of Mer and Meg's Escapades explain, though Lake Placid is something of a winter sportsman's paradise, there is plenty to do in the village all season long.

The town is surrounded by five of the greatest views the Adirondacks have to offer. Take hikes up Cobble Lookout, Baxter Mountain, Pitchoff Mountain, Heaven Hill, and Whiteface Landing. Each climb provides stunning walks for every level of hiker. Some of the best views can be taken during autumn when the mountains are alive with the vibrancy of the changing leaves. Wintertime activities in the hills include cross-country and downhill skiing on Whiteface Mountain, dog sled rides on the frozen lake, and zooming down the bobsled run at the Olympic Complex.

Lake Placid is one of upstate New York's premier destinations for anyone looking to escape the megalopolis that is the southern portion of the state. The Adirondacks rise up from the land and seem to stretch on into infinity. With plenty of places to stay and eat during your visit, Lake Placid is a perfect getaway for any mountain lover.

Roanoke, Virginia

The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of our country's most epochal mountain ranges. Though they wind their way through several states, where they are at their most magnificent might just be outside of the city of Roanoke, Virginia. With some of the best views, stays, and eats around, Roanoke is the hub of Virginia's Blue Ridge Region. 

Nicknamed the Mountain Biking Capital of the East, this honorific should give you some idea of the myriad trails available to you in the hills surrounding Roanoke. Not solely reserved for those on two wheels, however, Roanoke's trails are perfect for hikers, trail runners, and equestrians alike. Some of the greats include the Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Roaring Run Falls. McAfee Knob is rather famous for its flat rock outcropping near the summit of Catawba Mountain, which is a great spot for hikers to rest and take in the vast beauty of their surroundings. The Outbound also recommends a drive up Roanoke Mountain Road to the Overlook, which gives a great view of the city. 

Another great way to experience the mountains surrounding Roanoke is to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. This road runs along through a great portion of the range and serves as a connector between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The stretch near Roanoke offers tremendous sightseeing areas that allow you the opportunity to pull over, take out your camera, and capture the vast splendor of the tremendous landscape before you.

Lewisburg, West Virginia

West Virginia may not be on everyone's list of places to visit, but it should be. Its deep green and mountainous landscape is the country John Denver was singing about in "Take Me Home, Country Roads". We encourage you to go ahead and listen to it while you read this. West Virginia is a geographically diverse state that offers some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the entire country. Remember, the state is famous for coal mining. And what is required for coal mining? Mountains.

Nowhere in the state are the mountains prettier than in the town of Lewisburg. Voted the "Coolest Small Town in the USA," Lewisburg offers a tremendous arts and food scene while also catering to the more avid outdoorsman (via Mountain Roots). The Allegheny Mountains surrounding Lewisburg offer great opportunities for outdoor recreation. The nearby Greenbrier River Trail is 78 miles worth of walkable and bike-worthy trails that cut out of the mountainside. Horseback riding is another pastime that is extremely popular in these hills.

Lewisburg is also a prime location for visiting one of the newer National Parks: New River Gorge. There are a number of different ways you can enjoy this park, from white water rafting the gorge to bird watching or admiring the bloom of the wildflowers in spring. Whatever you plan on doing in or around Lewisburg, the mountains surround you on all sides, tucking you into this wonderful West Virginia gem.

Asheville, North Carolina

As proven by Explore, Asheville is a place that you'll see on nearly every list of Great Mountain towns, and for good reason. The town sits in the mountainous, western corner of North Carolina, not far from the state's border with Tennessee. When you're in Asheville, you will immediately understand why the surrounding hills are titled the Blue Ridge Mountains. The farther they stretch, the bluer they get. And in the sunset, that navy blue sharpens into a dramatic ridge.

Asheville is a quirky town with plenty of breweries and artistic ventures to make any cultural connoisseur feel at home in this mountainous country. Outdoor recreation, however, is where Asheville really shines, as Lauren Juliff at Never Ending Footsteps explains. Mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and winter tubing are just a few of the fun outdoor activities you can participate in. A section of the Appalachian Trail also runs through the outskirts of the town, giving hikers a brief place of sanctuary and culture on their journey north towards Maine, or southwards down to Georgia.

Waterfalls are another thing to see while you're in Asheville. Some freeze during the wintertime, providing the dramatic sight of gigantic frozen icicles descending down the hillside. If you're not one for hiking, the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The route winds through the mountains and is peppered with scenic areas where you can park and take in the grandeur of your surroundings.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

As the location of three great battles during The Civil War, the most famous of which took place at Missionary Ridge, the landscape surrounding the historic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, should tell you everything you need to know about its strategic value. The city sits on the banks of the Tennessee River, in a valley between two mountains. The town and surrounding country are beautiful to look at from points of elevation. Chattanooga serves as a gateway to Tennessee's portion of the Great Smoky Mountains, meaning that there is no shortage of outdoor activities to participate in.

Though you won't be finding ski resorts in this classical southern state, there are plenty of other activities that are sure to get your blood pumping. Hang gliding is a particularly popular activity in the Smoky Mountains, and is one of the best ways to take in all of the amazing scenery this city has to offer.

Rock climbing is another popular sport that takes the sandstone bluffs and outcroppings of the mountain into account. As Amy Alton over at Solitary Wanderer notes, some great spots to climb include Sunset Rock and Lookout Mountain, the peaks of which provide you with that strategic understanding that made Chattanooga such a sought-after Civil War prize. Mountain biking is also tremendously important to the area, with over 200 miles of trails cut within the last decade. 

Terlingua, Texas

Perched in the far western corner of Texas is a place called Terlingua. Just a stone's throw from the border with Mexico, this is perhaps the most southerly place that we will visit on our trip around the mountains. Plus, it's not a place you're likely to find on very many lists (although it has been getting some buzz, like from travel blogger Emma Golden Miller of EMMASTHING). Though it is a town that's not particularly easy to get to, Outside lists Terlingua as the best mountain views in the entire Lone Star State.

Sitting on the edge of Big Bend National Park are the cheerily named Christmas Mountains. These vast, rocky hills rise out of the desert like giant, misshapen triangles, and stretch for miles upon miles in every direction. There is something magical about the mountain ranges in the desert. The way they rise out of flat land, stretch across the clear open sky, and wax purple in the sunset gives them an otherworldly aura.

At their tallest, the mountains rise to around 6,000 feet, but more easily accessible peaks range in the 2,000-foot range. Wherever you climb, you are going to see some of the most dramatic landscapes Texas has to offer. Sweeping views of the Rio Grande River into Mexico, the Chihuahuan Desert, as well as all million acres of Big Bend National Park are all at your fingertips in Terlingua. 

Taos, New Mexico

While we're inclined to think of the New Mexico landscape as the desolate desert from "Breaking Bad", the farther north you travel, the more diverse and rugged the landscape becomes. Take the town of Taos, for example. Not far from the border with Colorado, Taos is a famous haven for artists, outdoorsmen, and spiritual seekers. And it is really quite easy to see why.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, though not as dramatic as the mountains in the neighboring states, have their fair share of magic about them, especially in the quiet, purple evenings when the sunlight strikes against the snow-covered peaks and some of the oldest Pueblos in the world. Taos also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage, with those same pueblos dating back to the 13th century, making them among the oldest buildings in the United States.

Taos is not just for admiring, however. There are plenty of outdoor sports that draw upon the surrounding landscape. As Andrea Overturf at Loubies and Lulu writes, "Taos Ski Valley is a must if you love to ski or snowboard." Not one for winter sports? No problem. You can certainly take advantage of the numerous hiking trails, side roads, and streams. Other activities that involve the surrounding mountains include llama trekking, fly fishing, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides, which is one of the best ways to take in the landscape around you. Once you're high in the sky, looking down on the mottled landscape, you'll see why Taos is such a magical place.

Deadwood, South Dakota

When one thinks of mountain views in the U.S., their mind might not immediately jump to the wilds of South Dakota. We assure you, however, that the Mount Rushmore State is more than, well, Mount Rushmore. When the gold rush came to South Dakota, the town of Deadwood became a haven for the types of wild west behavior that inspired the eponymous television show. Today, Deadwood is filled with that same type of Western charm that made it a legend, to begin with. And it helps that it's got some amazing mountain views to boot.

Nestled in South Dakota's Black Hills, the nature surrounding Deadwood is filled with peaks, rugged pines, and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. As Brandi of We're in the Rockies excitedly writes, "Deadwood has some really spectacular hikes with wonderful views." In the wintertime, it also happens to be one of the best places to go for skiers and snowboarders who detest the crowded peaks of the West and East.

The Black Hills themselves, while not reaching the heights and grandeur of the Rockies or Sierra Nevada mountains, are nevertheless an impressive range that has as many rock faces as they do wooded peaks. Hiking, fishing, and camping are all popular spots here in the summer, and you're always in for some tremendous landscapes to gawk at.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

From here onwards, this list will cover towns that cannot be disconnected from the mountains that surround them. The places that follow are some of the most iconic of all mountain destinations in the United States, and it begins with Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Thanks to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole is the perfect place to visit for anyone wanting to experience the stunning mountains of Wyoming. The Grand Tetons, in particular, offer a unique geological experience thanks to their pointed peaks that seem to descend like a cresting wave before merging into the prairie landscape below. The town of Jackson itself offers a fair share of luxuries and amenities. As for skiing, Jackson Hole Resort is known to be one of the most beautiful and most difficult mountains to ski in the whole country, even for those with experience.

There's plenty to be said for skiing on this list. Practically every town that follows doubles as a famous ski resort. But don't discount the beauty of these places outside of winter. If you're in Jackson Hole during the summertime, the town and surrounding countryside offer lush scenery and plenty of opportunities to hike, fish, and paddle. Don't feel like you need to be active the whole time, however. Mountain Modern recommends several drives around Jackson Hole as a great way to just want to relax and take in the nature surrounding you. 

Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky, Montana is a place that lives up to its name. The sky seems to stretch endlessly above you, offering some of the best viewings of the Northern Lights in the Lower 48. Situated in a valley below a massive skiing mountain, Big Sky is a refined place that is relatively devoid of some of the glitz and glamour that other ski resorts pride themselves on. The Madison Range and Spanish Peaks surround the town, providing visitors with views that can very easily cause jaws to drop to the floor.

Like many of the other destinations on this list, Big Sky is best known for its skiing. However, there are plenty of other outdoor activities the mountains have to offer at all times of the year. According to travel bloggers at The Leek and the Carrot, Ousel Falls Park Trail is a beloved trail year-round, yet hiking it in the winter makes for a scenic winter wonderland view. 

Anyone who has seen the film "A River Runs Through It" knows that fly fishing in Montana comes with its own postcard view of the surrounding mountains. Fishing the big water for big fish and looking at the big trees on the big mountains in big sky country can certainly make one feel small but in the best possible way.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Tucked deep into Idaho's Smoky Mountains, Sun Valley is yet another haven for the winter sportsmen, as well as being a prime location for fly fishers, hikers, and anyone hoping to see some of the most dramatic mountain views in the Western United States. The West offers something much different than the East when it comes to mountain ranges. While the East is full of greenery and charm, the mountains of the West show the ruggedness and pure wilds that have drawn people to them for centuries.

Sun Valley, however, tames that intense wilderness by offering cafes, bars, and restaurants catering to every personality and diet. Though it is a favorite as a winter playground, Sun Valley is also something of a wellness retreat. Several spas and yoga studios make this a destination for those seeking to find some kind of spiritual harmony. The striking views of the surrounding nature make that only too easy.

Literary lovers will note that nearby Ketchum is the resting place of one of the greatest authors of all time, Ernest Hemingway. You can see the house he lived in, as well as the mountains he enjoyed fishing and walking during the final years of his life. As Jessica at Bon Traveler writes, "Ketchum lies at the heart of the valley right below Baldy Mountain and is surrounded with 360-degree views of snow-capped mountains." Beautiful!

Estes Park, Colorado

We have placed two towns from Colorado on this list because there is perhaps no state more known for its mountains. Home to the great Rocky Mountains, which extend down from Canada, through the U.S., and into Mexico, Colorado is the place to be if you want to have a full mountain experience. And Estes Park is the gateway for many Americans to take in that splendor.

Estes Park is the place to go if you want to experience the essence of the Colorado Rockies without having to drive around the entire state. Contained within Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a great place for any visitors who love outdoor activities. Uncountable hikes, bike rides, skiing, rock climbing, fishing, and rafting opportunities present themselves in this memorable mountain town. The views offered by any one of these activities bring home the scope of the mountains, which are such a part of Colorado's identity.

If you're not one for hiking, Estes Park has several scenic drives that give you sweeping views of the surrounding mountains (something that The Wanderpreneurs suggest doing). Trail Ridge Road travels through the center of the National Park and provides breathtaking scenery of Grand Lake. Bear Lake Road and Old Fall River Road also run around the mountains and include stops at discovery centers and plenty of opportunities for photography. You'll probably fill up your phone storage with how many pictures you'll take.

Aspen, Colorado

Ask anyone from anywhere in the world to name one mountain town in the United States, and they are likely to give you one answer: Aspen. This town in central Colorado is set deep into the Rockies, making it a picture-perfect place. Though Aspen is known to be one of the most luxurious and expensive places to visit in the entire country, that luxury extends to the absolute beauty of the nature surrounding the town.

Of course, the vast majority of folks flock to Aspen for one reason: skiing. As perhaps one of the most culturally iconic ski resorts in the entire country, the wintertime sport is the lifeblood of Aspen, as it is for many towns in Colorado. It is perhaps the closest thing you will get to an Alpine Ski resort outside of Europe, and the peaks of the East just don't compare to the altitude, snow, and size of the Rocky Mountains.

However, the mountains have more to offer than just good snow. Just take the advice of travel blogger Marla Meridith. Hiking and cycling trails are incredibly prolific in the summertime, and lead you past fields of blooming mountain wildflowers. You'll also get to enjoy the many lakes surrounding the town, and the verdant beauty of the trees in summer. So, while skiing might be the reason most people go to Aspen, the views in the summer are just as beautiful, more accessible, and less crowded.

Park City, Utah

If you are looking for a quirky town that combines the very best of culture and outdoor activities, you can't go wrong with Park City, Utah. Though it is primarily known as being the home of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as many other artistic ventures, Park City is Utah's quintessential mountain town. Seeing as you can literally catch a ski lift from Main Street and make your way down Park City Mountain shows that this is one mountain town that takes its location seriously.

If you are a lover of winter sports, this place is nothing short of a paradise. Seriously, just check out the winter guide that The Traveling Spud so carefully curated. Park City Mountain alone has over 300 trails across its 7,300 acres. Other peaks, like Treasure Hill, Bald Eagle Mountain, and Masonic Hill are well-known to those who go hunting for the best winter powder. However, that's far from the only reason to visit.

Everywhere you turn in Park City you will see mountains upon mountains. You'll either feel protected by their presence, or dwarfed. With over 400 miles of walking trails and bike loops around the city, you'd be hard-pressed to find a reason not to be out of doors. Unless, of course, you're watching one of the many excellent independent films that make their way onto screens in town every year. Still, cinephiles need to stretch their legs too.

Truckee, California

No list of the greatest U.S. mountain destinations would be complete without a trip to Lake Tahoe in California. However, we want to head to the north side of the lake, to the lesser-known village of Truckee, which is something of a sanctuary from crowds. Southern Lake Tahoe is the place that sees the majority of the tourists. It is beautiful but crowded and heavily commercialized. For some, this is too much. Truckee offers a completely different experience.

Truckee has a quiet, local feel to it. This is exemplified by its historic downtown, and overall more laid-back nature. It also happens to be one of the hidden gems for skiing and snowboarding in the state of California. Travel writer Jenna from This is My Happiness has dubbed Truckee as an "eclectic getaway," praising the countless variety of activities available at your disposal. Sugar Bowl Resort, Boreal Mountain, and Northstar California are home to a whole host of hiking, cross-country skiing, and downhill slopes and are within a short of any one of the restaurants and B-&-Bs found in Truckee.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains are some of the prettiest mountains in the Western United States. They form the spine of eastern California, with Truckee being just one of many towns that offer amazing views of these majestic peaks. Trukee's allure, however, is in the quiet serenity offered by its relatively remote location near the Nevada border, and its old-school charm.

Leavenworth, Washington

A quick look around this town in central Washington state and you might be fooled into thinking you've wandered into a German Alpine village. That's the point, though. An old logging community that was revived into something of a German theme park in the 1960s, Leavenworth, Washington, has been drawing tourists and peak baggers to town for nearly 50 years. Obviously, the sweeping views of the Cascade Range were there when the community was founded in the 19th century, but since we've only relatively recently taken to using the mountains for recreational sport, Leavenworth is more popular today than it has been in its history.

Skiing, hiking, sledding, and Bavarian festivals for every season abound in this mountain community. Mountains surround you on all sides, whether you're taking a walk down Main Street, or stopping into one of the town's many authentic Bavarian restaurants. Take a hike up Cashmere Mountain, or absorb the rugged beauty of Icicle Ridge. Mount Stuart, Dragontail Peak, and McClellan Peak are all visible right from downtown.

What many of the towns on this list share is the ability to capture the magic of their surroundings. In the case of Leavenworth, the dash of German culture and architecture is what brings such charm to this most uniquely beautiful of mountain destinations. Pro tip from Katie and Ben at Two Wandering Soles: visit Leavenworth in the winter for the famous Christmas lights that make the town feel like a fairytale.

Juneau, Alaska

We wager there are only a handful of folks who could actually point out on a map where Alaska's capital, Juneau, actually is. This often-forgotten mountain city is situated in the middle of Alaska's southern string of islands that border British Columbia. As a result of its relatively remote location, Juneau has access to some of the best water and mountain views in the Pacific Northwest.

Surrounded by the Coast Mountain Range, the greenery of the hills can be seen from all over town. All you need to do is look across the Juneau Douglas Bridge to see the neighboring Eaglecrest Ski Area. Also nearby are the Mendenhall Glacier, Mount Juneau, and Mount Roberts, all of which provide amazing views of the waters and peaks of the southern Alaskan wilds, according to Wanderlust Alaska. You can access all of this outdoor leisure from Juneau International Airport or take a ferry, as the capital is not accessible by car.

All of the places on this list present unique opportunities to climb, ski, or just view the splendor of America's natural beauty. The towns themselves offer excellent amenities and have killer mountain views to boot. There are many more places you could go and visit that have not made it onto this list. But you'd be hard-pressed to find places more beautiful than these 20 destinations with the absolute best mountain views.

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