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Mountain Getaways and Best Mountain Getaways | The Cabin Shack

Mountain Getaways

Are you looking for the best mountain getaways? Today, we will discuss five of the top mountain destinations. Whether you are vacationing, looking to move, or purchasing a second home in the mountains, then you have landed in the right blog. As an experienced traveler, and someone whose family has second homes in Colorado, Minnesota, and Tennessee, I will give you my top mountain getaways. We will dive into the scenery, the attractions, and the hidden gems of each mountain getaway.

READER NOTE: If you visit any one of these areas make sure to ALWAYS ASK LOCALS for recommendations on everything. I don't care if it's for where you should hike or what restaurant to eat at. Your local residents know what's best! The last thing you want to be is disappointed at dinner or lost in the national park. Ask the experts. Message me personally at nick@thecabinshack.com if you have any questions.


5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best Mountain Getaways - Gatlinburg, TN | The Cabin Shack


Location:

  • Border between North Carolina and Tennessee

    Great Smoky Mountain National Park Map | The Cabin Shack


Best Nearby City to Visit:

      Overview:

      • Attracts over 15 million visitors per year!
      • Gatlinburg, TN is just minutes outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is the most popular city to visit near the park.
      • Family oriented with many shops, restaurants, rides, and attractions
      • Voted the best mountain getaway

      Animals:

      • Population of 1,500 black bears live in the park
      • 65 mammal species including white-tail deer
      • 200 species of birds
      • 50 native fish species
      • Extirpated (no longer live there) Animals - bison, elk, river otter, and wolves just to name a few. Hunters and trappers eradicated these animals from the area, but elk have been reintroduced to the smokies by biologists.

      Gatlinburg, TN is the most popular mountain town near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's full of attractions for all ages. There are many cabin rentals to choose from, 100's of hikes in the park, and a plentiful amount of activities for the whole family. The biggest attraction is hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Fork, TN is 30 miles north of Gatlinburg and is another hot tourist draw. It is more of a quaint town, but it gets jam-packed in the peak season. Either way, expect more than enough with places to eat, shop, and have one the best mountain getaways.



      4. Yellowstone National Park & Grand Teton National Park

      Mountain Getaways in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park


      Location:

      • Wyoming

        Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park Map

      Best Nearby City to Visit:


      Yellowstone Overview:

      • Yellowstone National Park gets 4 million annual visitors per year
      • Yellowstone and Grand Teton are just 31 miles apart
      • Yellowstone is home of the iconic geyser Old Faithful
      • Yellowstone sits on top of a supervolcano
      • Yellowstone has over 10,000 geysers and hot springs
      Grand Teton Overview:
      • Grand Teton National Park gets 3.4 million visitors per year!
      • It offers some of the most iconic mountain range views in the lower 48 states
      • Wildlife is never far
      • Jacksonhole, WY is a popular mountain getaway all year round as it is a snowmobile and skiing destination due to its heavy snowfall
      • Many old and new shops with an abundance of restaurants

      Animals:

      • Over 60 mammal species
      • Moose, Bear, Elk, Eagles, and Wolves
      • Wolves were re-introduced into both parks in 1995  
      • Moose are known to hangout right in town, so you're not short of wildlife

       

      Moose in Jackson Hole

      moose-jacksonhole-wyoming-the-cabin-shack

      Summer in Jackson Hole, WY

      Jackson Hole Wyoming - The Cabin Shack

      Jenny Lake Scenic Drive

      Jenny Lake Scenic Drive | The Cabin Shack

       

      Both of these national parks offer so much to do that one week is often not long enough. Grand Teton National Park offers many scenic drives such as Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, Moose Wilson Road, and more. Hiking is one of the main draws to both parks, especially Grand Teton. It is not for the faint of heart, as many of the trails are listed at moderate levels and above due to the parks' steep elevation and rugged terrain. There's endless lodging and camping options all year round, especially in the winter due to the ski resort and endless snowmobile trails. It's perfect for one person or for entire families as it provides enough nature and entertainment for everyone. You can learn more by visiting the official website for Jackson Hole, WY.

       

       

      3. Yosemite National Park

      Yosemite National Park Blog Picture | The Cabin Shack

      Location:

      • East-Central part of California

      Yosemite National Park Map | The Cabin Shack

       

      Best Nearby City to Visit:

      • El Portal, Lee Vining, Oakhurst, and more (there are not many big towns near Yosemite as most of them are very small). These cities are all considered "the gateway" to Yosemite National Park.

      Overview:

      • 4.5 million visitors annually
      • Located in the Sierra Mountains
      • Offers hiking, backpacking, fishing, birdwatching, and more!
      • Roughly the size of Rhode Island with 1,600 miles of streams and 800 miles of hiking trails
      • Home to "El Capitan," which is a world renown rock-climbing destination. Only one person, Alex Honnold, has ever free soloed this cliff (no rock climbing gear or ropes!)

      Animals:

      • Over 400 species of animals
      • Bears, Wolverines, Big Horn Sheep, & Mountain Lions!
      • Air pollution, climate change, fires, and other factors that harm the ecosystem have caused grizzly bear, California red-legged frog, and foothill yellow-legged frog to be extirpated (no longer existing there)


      Sierra Nevada Big Horn Sheep

      Sierra Nevada Big Horn Sheep | The Cabin Shack

      El Capitan

      El Capitan in Yosemite National Park | The Cabin shack

       

      2. Glacier National Park

      Glacier National Park | The Cabin Shack Blog

       

      Location:

      • Montana

      Best Nearby City to Visit:

      • Whitefish, MT - 26 Miles from Glacier National Park

       

      Whitefish Montana Map | The Cabin Shack

       

      Overview:

      • 3 million visitors annually
      • Over 130 named lakes
      • Mountains were formed over 170 million 
      • 700 miles of hiking trails

      Animals:

      • Grizzly Bear, Moose
      • Mountain Goats
      • Lynx
      • Wolverines
      • 71 species of mammals and 276 species of birds

      Whitefish, MT

      Whitefish Montana Downtown | The cabin Shack

      Mountain Goat

      Mountain Goat in Glacier National Park | The Cabin Shack

      Glacier National Park is a must see. Tucked away between Montana and Idaho, it may be a far drive for people in the central and east part of the United State. However, it offers some of the best natural beauty the United States has to offer. With the abundance of outdoor scenery, activities, and lodging nearby, it rounds out number 2 on our list. 

       

      1. Rocky Mountain National Park

       Rocky Mountain National Park | The Cabin Shack Blog

       

      Location:

      • Colorado

      Best Nearby City to Visit:

       

      Rocky Mountain National Park Map | The Cabin Shack

       

      Overview:

      • 4.7 million annual visitors
      • Only 1.5 hours from Denver, CO
      • Makes the top of our list because of its proximity to Estes Park, Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Grand Lake
      • Has the most options for lodging and entertainment, which is why it tops our list
      • Nearest ski resort is Eldora, with Breckenridge, Keystone, and Aspen all within a few hours drive

      Animals:

      • Black Bear
      • Moose
      • Elk
      • Mountain Lions 

      Estes Park, CO driving in from Highway 36 from Boulder

      Estes Park Colorado | The Cabin Shack

       

      Rocky Mountain National Park is at the top of the list for the best mountain getaway. First, the town of Estes Park is truly the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Estes Park is one of the most unique mountain towns in the United States. Sitting at an elevation of 7'522 and with a population of around 6,500, there is enough mountain feel with city amenities. Also, you can enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the west side (while Estes Park is on the east side), which is known as Grand Lake (another spectacular mountain town of the rockies!). While Rocky Mountain National Park offers many of the same outdoor activities as the other top four on our list of best mountain getaways, it comes in at number one because its ease of access with Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Grand Lake, and Estes Park all nearby. This allows for a vacation that gives you a little bit of everything. Now I leave it up to you to explore.