It might be the oldest cliché in ski country: We came for the winters and stayed for the summers.
While skiing draws us to the mountains, summer beauty keeps us here. Summer in the mountains is spectacular. The warm sun, long views and cool temperatures make the mountains a perfect summer playground.
Whether your tastes run to hiking, concerts, festivals or biking, you can do these, and more, on mountain this summer.
Need inspiration? Check out these resorts in the mountains of Idaho, West Virginia and California.
Pedal Back Through Time at Lookout Pass and Silver Mountain Resorts
If your taste in biking runs toward flat, slightly downhill and breathtakingly beautiful trails, Idaho’s Route of the Hiawatha is for you.
The Route of the Hiawatha is a section of abandoned rail line turned popular rails-to-trail bike path. Originally built to serves the area’s mines and to provide passage through the Bitterroot Mountains, interpretive signs explore the region’s history.
Along its 15 miles, the Route of the Hiawatha crosses seven trestles, the highest of which is 230 feet above the canyon floor. It also goes through 10 tunnels, including the 1.66-mile Saint Paul Tunnel on the Montana-Idaho border.
Lights and helmets are required to ride the Route, as is a trail pass from Lookout Pass Ski Area. Lookout Pass also offers shuttles for one-way riders.
Looking for something longer? Try the Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes, a 73 mile paved path along an abandoned Union Pacific right-of-way. This rails-to-trails route rolls downhill along the banks of the Coeur D’Alene River and around Lake Coeur D’Alene before reaching Idaho farmland.
Twenty trailheads and 17 picnic areas offer frequent public access. Ride as little or as much as you like.
Silver Mountain Resort is a great base for both bike rides. The resort is adjacent to the Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes, with a trailhead nearby. The Route of the Hiawatha is only 22 miles away.
Plus, guests at the Resort’s Morning Star Lodge have access to the Silver Rapids Water Park. In addition to being a perfect place to soak after a long day’s bike ride, there are plenty of slides and pools, as well as a wave simulator for surfing lessons.
Downhill Thrills in The Snowshoe Bike Park
While these two words are often used to sum up West Virginia, home of Snowshoe Mountain, they are also a good description of the Snowshoe Bike Park.
If you haven’t tried downhill biking, the first thing you need to know is that downhill biking is not the same as mountain biking. It’s a completely different sport, combining fat tire bikes with features normally found in a ski or snowboard terrain park. While the trails wind through stunning forest and meadows, man-made features including jump lines and berms take your skills and thrills to a new level.
The Snowshoe Bike Park opens in late May, giving it a long season. With 40 trails and 1,500 vertical feet of descent (two chairlifts handle the ascents), it is one of the largest bike parks in the east.
This season, a new machine-groomed beginner flow trail will open in July on the north side of the mountain.
Beginner instruction, camps, and clinics for all levels are available, as are rental bikes and safety equipment. Best of all, women ride free on Sundays.
If downhill mountain biking sounds just a bit too wild, there’s always the wonderful side of Snowshoe. Kayak and canoe on Shavers Lake. Hike and explore over 11,000 acres of wilderness. Ride a horse into the sunset. Tee off at the Gary Player Raven Golf Club.
Wild? Not always. Wonderful? Yes.
Yoga, Music and Nature at Squaw Valley’s Wanderlust Festival
Does it get anymore California than this?
Practice yoga with some of the world’s best teachers. Learn about and enjoy organic wines and farm-to-table dining. Meditate under the stunningly blue ski. Enjoy the gorgeous Sierra wilderness from the vantage point of your bike, a hiking trail or while relaxing by the mid-mountain pool.
And that’s just one day at the jam-packed Wanderlust Festival at Squaw Valley.
A celebration of mindful living, mountain fun and music, this year’s Festival takes place on July 18-21. Wanderlust is for everyone, of all ages. There is even a daily yoga program just for kids, ages 4-10.
And while the days are filled with an abundance of organic choices, the nights are all about the group groove, with a lineup of live music and late night DJs.
Not everyone likes a busy festival atmosphere, so if Wanderlust sounds too intense, choose another time for hiking, biking, and of course, the irresistible pull of Lake Tahoe. While the lake is busy in summer, Squaw Valley offers a quiet respite from the crowds.
The High Camp pool and hot tub are open, and the mid-mountain ice rink turns into a roller rink. Dogs are allowed on the tram and if you hike up, you can download for free. The Shirley Canyon trail to Shirley Lake is recommended, as is the on-mountain disc golf course that plays down into Shirley Canyon.