Things You Should Do In The Mountains

73 Great Things You Should Do In The Mountains

If you’ve visited my blog, you probably know I like to hike and camp in the mountains – but that’s just a small sample of what you can do in this amazing place. With alpine lakes, aspen forests, whitewater rivers, and high rocky crags, the mountains have something for everyone to enjoy. If you need a bit of inspiration coming up with your next mountain adventure, I pulled together a few ideas to get you started. 

Here are 73 things you should do in the mountains, in no particular order. Enjoy!

73 Things You Should Do In The Mountains

1. Hike, of course!

2. Go stargazing at night.

3. Visit a ghost town or mining camp.

4. Soak it up at a hot spring.

5. Drive up Pikes Peak and eat some doughnuts. 

6. Visit a National Park like Yosemite, Glacier, or Rocky Mountain.

7. Enjoy a day on the shore of an alpine lake.

8. Go mushroom hunting in the fall.

9. Wake up early to see the alpenglow in the mountains.

10. Flyfish for rainbow or cutthroat trout.

11. Take a lead climbing class (it’s not THAT scary!)

12. Whitewater river rafting or kayaking.

13. Cook your own dinner in the backcountry.

14. Go off-roading or four-wheeling (where allowed).

15. Volunteer with a trail-building crew.

16. Ski or snowboard the slopes.

17. Enjoy a picnic in a mountain meadow.

18. Try out mountain biking.

19. Rent an Airbnb in a little mountain town.

20. Go horseback riding along a trail.

21. Take a snowmobile tour during the winter.

22. Visit the July wildflower blooms.

23. Come back in autumn when the aspen trees change colors.

24. Go tubing down a creek – not whitewater!

25. Watch for wildlife, like elk, bighorn sheep, and bears.

26. Hike to the summit of a 14er.

27. Research some birds and try bird-watching.

28. Paint something. You have plenty of options.

29. Find Fenn’s Treasure (Too late!)

30. Visit one of the thousands of historic sites in the West.

31. Drive up and over a high mountain pass.

32. Go deer or elk hunting during the season.

33. Try a backpacking trip in the wilderness.

34. Rent a pair of snowshoes for a winter hike following a snowfall.

35. Practice your wilderness survival skills.

36. Do some bouldering.

37. Rest your feet in a mountain stream.

38. Practice your self-arrest in the snow.

39. Visit a state or local park – you have a lot of options.

40. Practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

41. Ride on a backcountry historic train.

42. Take a gondola ride to a summit.

43. Try ice climbing during the winter months.

44. Find a quiet spot to read a good book.

45. Bring the ten essentials – always!

46. Enjoy an evening around a campfire with friends.

47. Go winter camping and build a quinzee or igloo.

48. Write while in the mountains.

49. Try to spot a yellow-bellied marmot or pika above the treeline.

50. Hike up to a waterfall and feel the mist.

51. See a mountain glacier.

52. Find a dispersed camping spot for a night all alone.

53. Stay at a campground for a night with others.

54. Go sledding or snow tubing.

55. Visit a Native American tribal museum.

56. Scramble along a class 3 mountain ridge.

57. Visit a historic gold or silver mine.

58. Go sailing in a mountain lake.

59. Ski to a backcountry hut for a winter adventure.

60. Follow good trail etiquette.

61. Listen to the sounds of nature.

62. Watch the sunset from a mountain.

63. Explore rare geological or volcanic features.

64. Skip a 14er to climb a 13er instead!

65. Grab a burger and beer at a mountain town restaurant or bar.

66. Take the Amtrack across the west.

67. Go for a chilly swim in an alpine lake.

68. Be mindful of bears and other wildlife.

69. Spend an afternoon in a hammock with a view of the peaks.

70. Visit a wildfire-scarred area; they’re really something.

71. Got to a Forest Service or Park Visitor Center

72. Do a big-wall climb if you’re insane.

73. Be nice! The mountains are only as nice as the people in them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A: On a mountain, there is a wide array of activities to enjoy depending on the season and your personal interests. For the adventurous, popular options include hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and mountaineering. Winter sports enthusiasts can take advantage of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. Those who prefer a more leisurely pace can engage in bird watching, photography, or simply appreciating the scenic views and tranquility that the mountains provide.

A: A mountain vacation offers numerous opportunities for both relaxation and adventure. Outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife watching are common pursuits. Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing can also be enjoyed during colder months. For a more immersive experience, consider staying in a mountain lodge or cabin, visiting local shops and galleries, or indulging in local cuisine at nearby restaurants.

A: In the mountains, there are countless activities to suit all preferences and fitness levels. Some popular choices include hiking, trail running, mountain biking, rock climbing, and rappelling. You can also take part in more leisurely pursuits, such as scenic drives, picnicking, bird watching, or stargazing. Winter months offer the chance to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or ice skate. Additionally, many mountainous areas have resorts and visitor centers that provide various recreational facilities and guided tours.

A: People living in the mountains often find employment in industries closely connected to the natural environment and the local community. Common occupations include forestry, farming, ranching, and mining. Many mountain residents also work in the tourism and hospitality sectors, providing services and accommodations for visitors, such as guiding outdoor activities, managing ski resorts, or operating restaurants and lodgings. Additionally, some residents may work in local government, education, healthcare, or maintain home-based businesses.

73 Things You Should Do In The Mountains

Did I miss something you enjoy doing while in the mountains? Leave a comment below with your suggestion and it may just get added to the list! I hope you enjoy your time in the hills, no matter which idea sparks your interest. However, please remember to always practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics while recreating in the outdoors. This ensures the next visitors will get the same experience and sense of wonder that you get to enjoy.  I hope you enjoyed my list of the best things you should do in the mountains. Safe travels on the trail!

Additional Resources

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

Enjoy this Article? Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Join 4,000+ other subscribers and receive mountain news updates, route guides, gear reviews, and other articles in our twice-monthly email newsletter.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

Join 5K Subscribers!

Get the latest mountain news, hear about training opportunities and gear discounts, receive new resources, and learn to advocate for public lands as a Next Summit Newsletter subscriber.

14er Planner

Get my Free Colorado 14ers Planner!

Become a subscriber and download my spreadsheet planner with all 58 peaks listed in the best order to climb them.

We keep your data secure; Unsubscribe anytime at the bottom of our emails.

14er Planner

Download my Colorado 14ers Planner for Your Next Summit!

Become a newsletter subscriber and get my free spreadsheet planner with all 58 peaks in the perfect order to climb them.

We keep your data secure; Unsubscribe anytime at the bottom of our emails.