The Best Offseason Mountain Destinations

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The Best Offseason Mountain Destinations

We’re squarely in the summer zone: scorching hot and waiting for the heat to break. If you are one of those who needs a break from the summer now, CheapTickets has helped by providing us a list of the top offseason mountain destinations to cool you down with scenic landscapes, cool lakes and recreational activities. Offseason destinations also mean big savings. With savings between 15 and 50 percent, there is no reason why you won’t be spending your future summer enjoying these cooler regions.

Full disclosure: CheapTickets doesn’t pay for this content. We cover these suggestions based on an editorial desire to bring solid content to readers about alternative summer destinations. Regardless, reporting good deals to travelers is part of our mission. Please enjoy.


1. Park City, Utah

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During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Park City hosted the luge, bobsledding, skeleton and Nordic ski jumping events. Today you can visit the park and ride on the Summer Comet Bobsled ride which reaches 60 mph. Two zip lines are available to ride at the park including the Freestyle and the Extreme Zip Line which is one of the steepest in the world. Bikers swarm to Deer Valley Resort which has almost 70 miles of biking trails. Park City is also home to Utah’s largest Alpine Coaster with elevated tracks of more than a mile of hair-pin curves overlooking the scenic landscape. With more than 150 miles of public trails, Park City has all experienced and inexperienced hikers covered when strolling along the thrilling terrain.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Silverado Lodge Park City/Canyons Village, from $480.30
Travel Dates: August 22 – 25

2. Winter Park, Colorado

You don’t need snow to take a Colorado dogsled ride. Dogsled Rides of Winter Park allow their 80 huskies to participate in dog cart rides through almost three and a half miles. If backcountry is what you want, guided horseback treks and wagon hayrides are available to admire the mountain landscape through Cabin Creek Stables at Devils’s Thumb Ranch or High Country Trails. If you are yearning to view more landscape, hot-air balloon rides from Grand Adventure Balloon Tours
can give you what you want with low-level flying that allows you to spot wildlife and even pick pine cones from the treetops. Even though it’s not winter, Snow Mountain Ranch expanded their tubing ability through spring, summer and fall with its Snowflex tubing slope. It’s only the third tubing hill of its kind in the United States.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Fraser Crossing/Founders Pointe for $448.62
Travel Dates: August 25 – 28

3. Vail, Colorado

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Photo courtesy of Marcus Kwan

If you are looking for a rafting or kayaking adventure, Vail has it. Vail boasted its own Whitewater Park in the center of the town ranging from Class I to Class V river trips. Arkansas Valley Adventures, which has almost two decades of Colorado whitewater rafting experience, offers trips along the Colorado, Blue, Eagle and even the Arkansas river. With many popular fly fishing spots, Gore Creek Fly Fisherman and Vail Valley Anglers can guide first-time fishers out on the water or guide veteran fly fishers to some of the best-secluded spots. For the epic adventurer at heart, the Scenic Gondola Ride from the Eagle Bahn Gondola out of Lionshead or Gondola One out of Vail Village takes you 10,000 feet in the air to view the Gore Range.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Simba Run Vail Condominiums from $387.78
Travel Dates: September 12 – 15

4. Snowshoe, West Virginia

How about a Segway Tour on a mountain? These Segways are X2 models which can travel on paved mountain top walking paths or forest trails. If four wheels are more your thing, try an Off-road Adventure Tour and hop into a 4-seat Polaris RZR or the brand new 1-seat ACE. Drive off-road in a 1.5-hour guided tour through 11,000 acres of resort property in the backcountry of Snowshoe Mountain. If you are comfortable with the RZR, Adventure Dining is a must. Take one through the scenic terrain to the Sunrise Backcountry Hut two miles away from the Village on the Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail. You have the option of a FireFly Dinner with 20 of your friends, or stay a Night in the Backcountry with ten friends for dinner, everyone involved must be 12 or older.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Expedition Station for $507.75
Travel Dates: September 15 – 18

5. Breckenridge, Colorado

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Take a tour of the Country Boy Mine which was one of the most famous gold mines in Breckenridge. At the historic restored mining site explore the official mine site, view the exhibits and equipment, pan for gold, slide down the 55-foot ore chute and even pet the burros. Incorporate a scavenger hunt into the hike or walk around Breckenridge with geocaching, an outdoor recreational activity which uses a GPS devices and other navigational techniques to hide and find containers with hidden objects. Although hiking and exploring the terrain is part of the fun, discovering the treasure is exhilarating. Join the club and climb a “14er,” or one of the nearly 60 mountain peaks in Colorado that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation. Breckenridge is home to one of them, the Quandary Peak.

Sample Hotel Rate: Stay 3 nights at the Tyra by Wyndham Vacation Rentals from $393.06
Tavel Dates: September 22 – 25

Photo courtesy of Tony Webster

6. Truckee, California

Hike or Bike around Donner Lake in Truckee (pictured above) then cool off renting a pedal boat, hydro bike, canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board at Donner Lake Watersport and Marina. The Rainbow Bridge, or more officially known as the Donner Summit Bridge, is a concrete arch-style bridge that was designed and created to provide a safe way through the Donner Pass area along Old Highway 40. Although it might not be the most appealing bridge, it definitely is one of the most impressive with its surrounding scenery. Head over to the Boca Reservoir where you can fish for Rainbow Trout, Brooke Trout and Kokanee Salmon during the summer season since the Boca freezes during the winter months. Don’t forget to bring all of your aquatic toys to play with such as Jet Skis or boats while enjoying the calm water of the earth filled dam.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Truckee Donner Lodge for $433.47
Travel Dates: September 20 – 23

7. Aspen, Colorado


If you are seeking thrills, start out with a bang and experience the scenic landscape of Aspen like few have seen with professional tandem pilots from Aspen Paragliding, Inc. The flight will take you up to 18,000 feet. If you prefer to stay on land and view scenic landscapes, travel along the Maroon Creek Road to enjoy the Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed mountains in North America. Summer is the perfect time to sneak a peak at these mountains since winter weather can be unpredictable along the road. The Five-Star, Five-Diamond ranking restaurant in The Little Nell hotel, Element 47, gives tribute to silver in their name which put Aspen on the map. The award-winning restaurant has no dress code and welcomes guests who want to drop by after hitting the slopes or for special occasions.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Snowmass Mountain Chalet for $303.17
Travel Dates: September 20 – 23

8. McCall, Idaho

This year-round resort town was named after its founder, Thomas and Louisa McCall. McCall Sports Exchange welcomes visitors every day with Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Canoe’s Tandem, single Kayaks, adult and kid cruiser bikes, tandem cruise bikes and fat bikes located near Payette Lake. Golf enthusiasts can choose from the region’s five golf courses including Meadow Creek Resort in Meadow Valley, Jug Mountain Ranch and Osprey Meadows at Tamarack Resort. There are six zip lines and suspension bridges stretching over 4,425 feet at Tamarack Resort, which is open seven days a week for the thrill seekers where you can witness the surrounding meadows, lakes, mountains, and forests.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites McCall/The Hunt Lodge for $474.96
Travel dates: September 13 – 16

9. Mammoth Lakes, California

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With a name like Mammoth Lakes, you can bet this place does nothing small. Explore the landscape and view the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that is over 4,500 years old and view the Mono Lake Tufas with its diverse wildlife and salinity levels over three times that of the ocean. The Hot Creek Geologic Site contains dozens of natural hot springs deep in the rugged walls of the river gorge. However, swimming is illegal with fluctuating water temperatures reaching 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Wake up after camping in the Inyo National Forest which has over two million acres of beautiful terrain. There are 800 campsites in the campgrounds, many of them located near the forested stream banks and alpine lakes. Don’t leave without seeing the mysterious Devils Postpone. Current studies have suggested that less than 100,00 years ago cooling lava flowed cracking the multi-sided columns reaching 60 feet.

Sample Hotel Rate: 3 nights at the Mammoth Estates Rentals from $478.80
Travel Dates: September 13 – 16

All sample rates shown were accurate and available on on 8/12/16 for travel in the third quarter of 2016 on the travel dates specified in each of the sample fares and may not represent current prices because our real-time pricing booking engine is constantly updating prices and availability. Hotel prices shown are for two adults and include applicable taxes and fees, and will vary by selected day of arrival and departure, length of stay, hotel selected, hotel room category, and availability.

Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, but most call her Spiler.