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Start off in Durango, where you can raft the Animas or hike the start of the Colorado trail. Hit Bread bakery for cookies and danishes before you head out of town.
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You can take the train from Durango to Silverton, but you can also drive over Molas Pass. In Silverton, mountain bike at the ski resort, or hike in the San Juans. Lodging and dining options are slim, but you should probably drink beers at Miners Tavern.
The stretch of highway 550 from Red Mountain Pass to Ouray is called the Million Dollar Highway, because of the millions of dollars in gold and silver miners expected to find. It’s also got million dollar views (zing.) Ouray is known for ice climbing, but in summer there’s good local rock climbing too.
Head out of Ouray towards Ridgway and descend out of the mountains for a while. Stop for a soak at the Orvis Hot Springs. The thrift store on the corner where you turn towards Telluride can be a gold mine for vintage bikes.
Drive up the canyon to Telluride. On summer weekends, it’s not hard to time it right so you hit a festival, like Blues and Brews, or the Telluride Film Festival. In the morning head to the Steaming Bean for people watching and the best blueberry muffins in the world. At night, get Thai food at Siam, drinks at There, and your swerve on at the Llama.
Bethel, Maine, home to Sunday River is also ground zero for some of the best hiking and whitewater rafting in the Northeast, paddle the Kennebec, or hike Grafton notch, then head west on Route 2.
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Turn the corner at Gorham and stop for a sandwich at the Moonbeam Cafe before heading south to North Conway.
North Conway is arguably the heart of New Hampshire skiing, but it has a lot going on in the summer, too. Go rock climbing at Cathedral Ledge, or hike to the Crawford Notch Hut on the Appalachian Trail. Have dinner at the Red Parka Pub, where you can get one of their famous PBR martinis, complete with a chicken wing.
Head west. In Lincoln, take a detour to Franconia Notch State Park to swim in the Basin, a series of natural pools and waterslides.
Head west-er, into Vermont and through the “metropolis” of Barre and Montpelier. Turn south on 100B, arguable one of the prettiest roads in the Northeast. Golf or mountain bike at Sugarbush, where they have downhilling and a bike terrain park. Get lunch at the Warren Store, an old school country story complete with a penny candy aisle. Sick of driving? Stick your feet in the stream out back and hang out for a while.
Start in Jackson Hole, where your can raft or fish the Snake River, or take the tram up the ski resort and hike out from there. When you come back to town, get food and beer at the Snake River Brew Pub go to the Stagecoach bar to take in live music played by ski mountaineering pioneer Bill Briggs.
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In the morning, gear up in town for a couple of days of camping then head north past the ski resort to Grand Teton National Park.
Try to secure a campsite at Jenny Lake, the prettiest and most popular campground. If you do get a spot, it’ll set you up perfectly for a bunch of good hikes and climbs. You can also go boating on the lake.
After you’ve exhausted Grand Teton (which might take years) head farther north up 287 to Yellowstone National Park.
The main attractions at Yellowstone, like Old Faithful, are almost always crowded, but they live up to the hype. Deal with the crowds to get a look, then break away for a hike like the Doghead Loop near Lewis Lake or, head into the backcountry for a longer trip.
Start in Reno, but you probably shouldn’t stay there too long or you’ll spend your entire trip playing slot machines in the airport. Head west on 80 to Truckee. In Truckee stop for breakfast at Wild Cherries, then head south on 89 towards the lake.
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Stop at Squaw Valley to mountain bike or play disc golf, then keep heading south. At Emerald Bay get out of the car to hike to Eagle Falls.
In South Lake, rent a boat so you can get out onto the water for a bit. Make sure to get a cheeseburger at Fatburger.
To work off your burger head to Heavenly for some hiking. Or, you can take the gondola to the top to minimize your effort.
Head back to the lake and drive north. When you hit Lake Tahoe State Park detour to Sand Harbor for some beach time.
When you get back to Tahoe City, raft the Truckee river, Lake Tahoe’s only outsource.
In the summer, the powder highway becomes the mountain bike highway. Start in Cranbrook, the town with the only legitimate local airport. Then head north on 93.
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Once you hit Golden, it’s time to start biking. Go downhilling at Kicking Horse, or ride some of the plethora of local trails. There’s even camping at the bike trailheads.
Get on the road again and head to Revelstoke, where there’s even more good riding to be had. If you want some time off your bike, you could also go rafting, fly fishing, or climbing. Get food and beers at the Village Idiot.
On your way south, stop at Arrow Lake for some scenery, then head to Kamloops.
Kamloops calls itself the birthplace of “freeriding” so it’s a big bike town. You can ride the Kamloops Bike Ranch, one of the coolest bike parks out there, or hit the downhill trails at Sun Peaks.