Dunton Hot Spring

What qualifies an adventure lodge as one of the world's best? Hot tubs and high thread counts, sure. But what sets these ten launchpads apart is access—to remote trails, steep runs, and lonely peaks.

Dunton Hot Springs (Photo by Jack Rishmond/Dunton Hot Springs)
Dunton Hot Springs

It All Starts Here

DUNTON HOT SPRING
Colorado
TAGS: HOT SPRINGS, HELI-SKIING, BUTCH CASSIDY, GHOST TOWN
This was once a very creepy place to go: a series of 12 desolate, abandoned cabins originally built in 1885 by gold miners at 8,700 feet in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride. No more. In 1994, Christoph Henkel, founder of the Canyon Group, moved in and gave the ghost town a five-star face-lift. In summer, hurtle down hundreds of miles of nearby singletrack on a loaner Specialized full-suspension bike and fly-fish for rainbows on nine private miles of the Dolores River's West Fork. In winter, wander down to the parking lot, where Helitrax, a Telluride outfit, picks up guests for heli-ski trips in the San Juan backcountry ($1,549 per day; helitrax.com). Either way, cap the day off by soaking in natural hot springs with fourteener views. Then hit up the resort's 1895 Saloon, which features Colorado lamb and the signature of Butch Cassidy carved into the bar—he stopped by after his famous 1889 Telluride bank heist. $650 per person per night; duntonhotsprings.com

Highland Lodge at Crawford Notch

New Hampshire

Highland Lodge at Crawford Ranch
Heading into the White Mountains from Highland Lodge (Photo by Herb Swanson)

TAGS: MOUNT WASHINGTON, GREEN BUILDING, SNOWSHOES
This 34-room eco-friendly lodge—it's built of recycled steel and heated with a biomass-burning boiler—is less about exclusive luxury than good vibes. Guests sleep in simple, comfortable rooms, share stories in front of a gaping fireplace, refine map-and-compass skills at group sessions, and eat family-style meals like roast turkey with chocolate cream pie. Then they leave—after all, the White Mountain National Forest lies just out the back door, and Mount Washington, the baddest peak in the northeast, looms overhead. Go on a group snowshoe outing, take a day hike up one of four nearby 4,000-foot Presidential peaks, or use the lodge as a departure point for a hut-to-hut trek. From $92 per person per night; outdoors.org/highland

Tu Tu' Tun Lodge

Oregon

Rogue River

The Rogue near Tu Tu' Tun

TAGS: CHINOOK, ROGUE RIVER, SEA STACKS, LOCAL WINES
Tough to beat this location: Tu Tu' Tun, a gussied-up fishing lodge, spreads across a grassy bank on the shores of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, just seven miles from Oregon's rugged southern coast. Book a room—they all have river views—to recover in style following a 40-mile expedition on the Rogue's famous Class III–IV whitewater stretch, just 25 miles upstream (Rogue Wilderness Adventures guides three-day trips for $770; wildrogue.com). Other options: swim off the dock, paddle the placid lower Rogue from the lodge in a sea kayak, or ramble down to the coast. A two-hour hike through old-growth Douglas fir and red cedar takes you to a secluded cove looking out on the famous Cape Sebas­tian sea stacks. Dinner is local mesquite-grilled Chinook washed down with a choice of 150 Pacific coast wines. From $135 per person per night; tututun.com

King Pacific Lodge

British Columbia

King Pacific Lodge

King Pacific Lodge

TAGS: RESIDENT ORCAS, FLOATING LODGE
In the province that has perfected the adventure lodge—we could make a case for locating half our list in B.C.—King Pacific towers above the rest. The place is essentially a (very expensive) floating wildlife blind with a spa. Each spring, the 17-room property is towed 100 miles from the nearest highway to its anchorage in a cove off Princess Royal Island, deep within the wild-as-hell Great Bear Rainforest. The cove's only occupants are the lodge's 25 staff—including kayak and fly-fishing guides—a resident pod of nine orcas, a small clan of gray wolves, and, in September, the occasional grizzly or white-coated Kermode. The digs aren't bad, either: each room has a soaker tub, and dinner is what­ever fish you caught that day. US$4,725 per person for three nights, including round-trip flight from Vancouver; kingpacificlodge.com

The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island

Georgia

Little St. Simons
Off Little St. Simons (Photo by Chip Litherland)

TAGS: PRIVATE ISLAND, LOGGERHEAD TURTLES, GATORS, MINT JULEPS
Reachable only by boat, 15-square-mile Little St. Simons is one of the few undeveloped barrier islands off the southern Atlantic coast. That means it's prime habitat for river otters, gators, tricolored herons, and bald eagles. The same family has owned Little St. Simons—about two hours south of Savannah—for more than a century, and they take their southern hospitality seriously. The daily happy hour (mint juleps!) is sacrosanct, and meals like hipotle-and-brown-sugar-grilled pork are served family style in a century-old hunting lodge. Only 32 guests means you're left largely alone to sea-kayak the placid waters of the tidal rivers, swim in the gentle Atlantic swells, walk the seven miles of empty beach, or watch loggerhead turtle hatchlings with one of the lodge's six naturalists. $450 per night for double occupancy; littlestsimonsisland.com

Amangiri

Utah

Amangiri

Amangiri

TAGS: SLOT CANYON, VIA FERRATA, INFINITY POOL
It's as indulgent as every resort in the über-luxe Aman chain, but the 18-month-old Amangiri property makes this list because of its setting: plopped in the middle of 600 acres of southern Utah canyonlands, between the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. Besides, how many resorts have their own via ferrata? Amangiri has three separate fixed-hardware routes up sheer 500-foot-tall sandstone walls surrounding the property. Nothing's small here: the sweeping vistas from the 34 suites (made of poured concrete to mimic the landscape), the 25,000-square-foot spa, the infinity pool, the neighboring slot canyon (Buckskin Gulch, one of the world's longest), or the prices. From $950 per night; amanresorts.com

Tordrillo Lodge

Alaska

TAGS: HELI-SKIING, WOOD-FIRED HOT TUB, FIVE SPECIES OF SALMON
There may be no other place in the world that delivers such astounding adventure options from one hub. Five years ago, former Olympic alpine skier Tommy Moe and professional freeskier Jeremy Nobis decided to open a lodge. Result: a 5,600-square-foot property plopped on the shores of the Talachulitna River, on a roadless hunk of the Alaska Range 70 miles west of Anchorage, with a squad of pro guides on staff year-round. In summer, cast for five species of salmon and football-size rainbow trout right out the front door. Come winter, ski 4,000-foot lines in the Alaska Range with an assist from Tordrillo's chopper. In June, do both with a five-day Kings and Corn package. If you get bored, raft the Class III Happy River, paddle among calving icebergs, or pay a visit to the in-house masseuse and soak in the wood-fired hot tub while staring out at the smoking crater of 11,070-foot Mount Spurr. From $600 per person per night; epicquest.com

The Ranch at Rock Creek

Montana

The Ranch at Rock Creek
Après fishing at the Ranch at Rock Creek (Courtesy of The Ranch at Rock Creek)

TAGS: HORSEBACK RIDING, CUTTHROAT TROUT, SINGLETRACK, BOWLING
This year-old property, set on a working ranch in the Anaconda-Pintler Range, near the mining town of Philipsburg, offers spectacular facilities: a full-service spa, nine lodge rooms, three log mansions, eight luxury platform tents, a 24-foot movie screen, a hockey pond for the colder months, and—why not?—a bowling alley. But we're more excited about the 60 horses for riding across sage-covered hillsides, the archery range, the 80 full-suspension mountain bikes (the ranch has ten miles of singletrack), and the arsenal of fly rods for hauling brown and cutthroat trout out of blue-ribbon Rock Creek, which runs through the backyard. $900 per person per night; theranchatrockcreek.com

Chic-Chocs Mountain Lodge

Quebec

TAGS: AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER, HERO GLADES, BEER ICE CREAM
As a rule, we approve of any lodge that issues avalanche transceivers with the room keys. This 18-room property, perched at 3,000 feet among the steep crags of Quebec's seldom-visited Chic-Choc Mountains, is reachable only via snowcat in winter. Once you arrive, pick up your transceiver, two-way radio, and choice of randonnée gear or split-board for tackling the nearby peaks and 40-degree glades. (Guides are available on request.) In summer, take a loaner mountain bike on 30 miles of trail or scramble up 3,428-foot Mont Coleman, framed in the lodge's giant windows. Also worth noting: they serve beer ice cream after dinner. US$320 per person per night; sepaq.com/ct/amc

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Vancouver Island

Clayoquot Biosphere

Deep in the Clayoquot Biosphere

TAGS: SEA OTTERS, LUXURY TENTS, FJORD
Think of Clayoquot as the summer camp of your dreams: a series of 20 wood-floored guest tents plopped at the mouth of a nine-mile-long fjord deep in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, on Vancouver Island. Following a 30-minute boat trip from Tofino or a 60-minute floatplane flight from Vancouver, guests ride horses through old-growth forests; paddle the fjord among sea lions; scale the resort's natural-rock climbing wall, which overlooks the Bedwell Sound; and eat lunch on empty rock beaches. Three-day packages from US$4,788 per person, including the flight to and from the resort; wildretreat.com

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