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USA-High End Hiking Resorts and Inns

Hi All,
My husband and I want to take a hiking trip for about two weeks this August, in the Rockies or another US spot (w/the exception of the South). Have hiked extensively in California.
We want to live it up and stay in a high end resort (not large) or a charming inn with easy access to a range of hiking trails (ez for me). Highly prefer accommodations that are non-family oriented, with amenities (eg, pool, hot tub, great meals, guides/good maps and nice people). All-inclusive is a plus. Thinking about the Rockies but open to other spots, especially those that you can recommend.
Would love to hear about your experiences and any spots that were especially fun.
Thank you!

Posted by
7626 posts

We live down the road from both of these, and haven’t actually stayed at either, but regularly cross-country ski at one in the winter. The other is strictly for guests staying there, any time of the year, and both are high-end, and highly rated. In Colorado, about as high as you can get in the USA, with a superior setting and furnishings:

Devils Thumb Ranch. They raise their own Waygu cattle, and have lots of hiking onsite, plus offer a private shuttle to Rocky Mountain National Park. Heck’s Tavern restaurant used to be open to the public, a fantastic place, but was made available to only lodging guests when they went upscale. There’s also a lot of fantastic hiking and mountain biking (public) trails nearby. There’s also horse riding and wagon rides available, a barn with furry rabbits and pigmy goats, and Zip-lining, fishing, and archery activities, too.

There’s also the C Lazy U, a dude ranch that I understand is as fancy, or more, than Devil’s Thumb. They don’t let anyone in who’s not staying there, so it’s super-exclusive.

Grand County doesn’t have as many people as you’ll find in Gore County (Vail and Surrounds), and it’s more accessible than Pitkin County (Aspen).

Posted by
512 posts

I recommend the Taos Inn (https://www.taosinn.com/) in Taos, N.M. I'd go back to the Taos Inn just to stay there: It was incredibly charming. You'll be right next to Carson National Forest (https://www.fs.usda.gov/carson), which has dozens of hiking trails. About three years ago, I hiked two trails.

Another town worth investigating is Glenwood Springs, Colo.: https://visitglenwood.com/. The town is known for its hot springs, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's in a hiking, skiing, bicycling and outdoors mecca.

I stayed in the Hotel Colorado (https://www.hotelcolorado.com/) resort with plenty of amenities, including access to the entry area for the springs, plenty of eateries (more about that in a second), bicycle rental and so on. However, the hotel, which was founded in 1893, was large and even a bit forbidding. When I first laid eyes on it, I was wondering if I was staying in Jack Nicholson's hotel from The Shining, but I had no ghostly encounters. The tourist site for Glenwood Springs might point you to something more amenable.

Eatery: I was in Glenwood Springs with my sister, who's a physician. As a traveling physician, she travels pretty extensively. She said probably the best meal she ever had on the road was in Glenwood Springs. I wish I would remember the place's name.

Posted by
7626 posts

Glenwood is a nice place. Hanging Lake is an amazing hike, just a short distance east of there, but it’s gotten so popular that there’s now a charge, to limit access. It was announced in just the last few days that the big hot springs pool is being renovated. Doc Holliday (of Gunfight at the OK Corral fame) is buried in the cemetery on the other side of the Colorado River from The Hotel Colorado. His one-time wife was called Big Nose Kate, who moved to Arizona after his death. Glenwood Springs is along I-70, at the turnoff for Aspen, but isn’t quite a luxury resort destination.

(Edited) Steven King wrote The Shining after staying at the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley was recently updated by a new owner, but was built more than 100 years ago by the inventor of the Stanley Steamer, a steam-powered automobile. The hotel is in Estes Park, in eastern Colorado, at the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.

One other hotel on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, and probably the poshest resort hotel in Colorado, is The Broadmoor, on the western edge of Colorado Springs, at the foot of Pikes Peak.

Posted by
7075 posts

Jack Nicholson wrote The Shining after staying at the Stanley Hotel.

Actually Stephen King wrote the Shining after staying at the Stanley Hotel. :)

Posted by
5837 posts

Have you considered the grand lodges of some of the western national parks? To name a few:

Yellowstone NP Old Faithful Inn
Yosemite NP Ahwahnee
Grand Canyon NP El Tovar
Mt Rainer NP Paridise Inn
Glacier NP Many Glacier

Posted by
7626 posts

Oops - Nancy caught my listing of the wrong person as the author of The Shining. I’ve corrected my earlier post, but I stand by my earlier suggestions of high-end places to stay, in and near the Colorado Rockies.

Posted by
116 posts

Hi All,
Back again looking for hiking + lodge in Rocky Mt Natl Park. Considering a short hiking trip in Grand Lake Region: problem the only inclusive one I can find (at this late date) is one in late August. Do you know anything about the climate conditions at that time?
Climate map (2023) note August as highest annual level of precipitation and calls weather "muggy" and even "oppressive".

No one is around locally right now, in that region, to confirm/refute.
Is this forecast relatively accurate?

All advice & thoughts welcome.
Thank you!

Posted by
4012 posts

Wrong part of the country! Look to travel to Acadia National Park in Maine and stay at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. It has everything you want as described above.

Posted by
461 posts

I can't recommend the historic lodges of Glacier/Banff enough. The rooms themselves are nothing the write home about, but the setting, the beautiful common areas, and the fact that you're supporting a bit of history more than makes up for it.

If you've never been to Glacier, you definitely should add it to your bucket list.

If you're flying, you could fly into Kalispell and rent a car. Then open jaws, Glacier Park Lodge--->Many Glacier Lodge ---> Prince of Wales---->Banff/Lake Louise and fly home from Calgary.

Otherwise, just skip Banff and maybe even Prince of Wales

Posted by
719 posts

Check out Gateway Canyons Resort an Spa in Western Colorado. It's isolated and high end.

Both of Cyn's recommendations are very nice.

Posted by
7626 posts

Just arrived home today after our Europe trip, and even though there were reportedly regular snowstorms over the past week, the high temperatures have been in the 40’s, so the snow has melted at elevations below 9,000 feet. Our dirt roads are currently more dirt than mud, which is nice.

“Muggy” is a climate condition that really doesn’t occur in Colorado. I’ve lived in New Orleans, northeastern Iowa, and Indiana, and have spent considerable time in Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida. For humidity and high August heat, Grand Lake doesn’t even come anywhere close to those places, and oppressive it is not. Air conditioning isn’t really needed in the Colorado Mountains, although some may disagree - I’d disagree with them.

There is moisture in Grand Lake in August, in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. A typical daily weather pattern is a cool (even cold) early morning, warming up into the 70’s or even 80’s for a high, which causes clouds to develop. Thundershowers can occur in early to mid-afternoon, and are generally short - less than an hour. With relatively low humidity, rain is cooling and refreshing if anything. Rainproof, breathable clothing, with an extra layer available for warmth if needed, will keep a hiker comfortable.

A wonderful 4-mile hike just a little south of Grand Lake is the loop that circles Monarch Lake. It’s not particularly difficult, but it is a definite hike. A trail that branches off of it goes to Crater Lake, with iconic views of Lone Eagle Peak reflected in its waters. That’s longer and more difficult. There’s a small parking fee the Forest Service charges for the area.

A great hike I discovered in Rocky Mtn. National Park last year is Bowen Gulch. It actually starts near the western edge of the Park, then continues west into the Never Summer Wilderness. The hike off of it to Blue Lake (actually, its water’s green) adds more steepness and returns fantastic views. If you don’t see moose at some point, that would be unusual.

Posted by
1502 posts

I live about an hour from Rocky Mountain National park at 8200 ft (so - in the mountains). August is a great time. We do sometimes get a weather pattern that can bring regular thunderstorms in the afternoon, but I don't berlieve I've ever heard Colorado described as "muggy". It's very dry here. The afternoon thunderstorms if they do come don't last long. At our house the high never gets above 82 and most of RNMP is at or above our elevation. Our preference is to go to RMNP in September before it gets too cool as that's when the elk start their rut and the hiking is still great! I wouldn't hesitate to go in August at all!!!

ETA: Just read Cyn's last response and totally agree:)

Posted by
16878 posts

Two options in the Canadian Rockies, all-inclusive with guided hiking.

This Backroads one is only 6 days but you could combine it with another of their trips:

https://www.backroads.com/trips/WCNI/canadian-rockies-walking-hiking-tour

Backroads is known for high-end lodging.

This one is a UK company offering a 2-week trip. It is priced with flights from and back to the UK but they should be able to re-price that if you call them. We have done several long weekend with this group and will be hiking in Italy with them in September . It is actually a member-owned cooperative, but non-members are welcome.

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/canadian-rockies?format=pdf&vid=1966

Posted by
1112 posts

August woulld be a good time for Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska. Hiking, horseback rides, fishing, etc.

Posted by
7626 posts

Update: I just learned today that the U.S. Forest Service will be replacing the dam at Monarch Lake sometime this summer. Exactly when is uncertain, but it will prevent a full circling of the lake. The trailhead will still be accessible, but how parking will be affected is also unknown at this time.

Posted by
7626 posts

Further Update: on Sunday, there was a floating boom installed in Monarch Lake, adjacent to the dam, which has never been there before. Maybe it’s in preparation for the upcoming dam work, but maybe it’s now a permanent thing. The trail around the lake is open, but with some snow and ice covering parts of it at the back (east) end. It’s still passable, but late spring means snow, mud, and some running water with stepping stones to get through it. Moose and one marmot were out and about.