Great on Mountain Restaurants in the U.S.
Due to a personal obsession with getting after it in the outdoors as well as a perpetually empty wallet, I sometimes forget that food can be a big part of travel. Whenever I experience a truly great meal though, I am reminded why this is. Tasting the best an area has to offer, whether traditional cuisine or a unique fine dining experience, is a way to enhance a trip by getting a better sense of the local culture. Eating great food is also just undeniably pleasurable.
A delicious meal can be further enhanced by the setting in which it is served. This is especially true if you are enjoying this meal in a unique area, such as next to the ocean, in the desert, or in the mountains.
In mountain towns, some restaurants are positioned high above everything else, right on the side of the mountain. The difficulty of getting to these restaurants can often add to their allure. Some involve snowcat rides or long hikes in, while others are only accessible to those enjoying a day of skiing or snowboarding. Offering incredible views along with scrumptious food, these dining experience may be worth a trip to the following mountain towns, even if you don’t love skiing.
Game Creek Restaurant, Vail, CO
Located above the Game Creek Bowl at Vail, one of the most notoriously posh ski resorts in the country, the Game Creek Restaurant offers stunning views from the setting of a European style chalet. To get to this restaurant, patrons must take the Game Creek chair lift and then be shuttled the rest of the distance to the chalet itself, either by snowcat in the winter, or on a 4-wheeler in the summer. If you prefer, it is also possible to hike the distance from the lift to your dinner during the summer months.
Reservations for this restaurant are only open to the public during specific hours. The rest of the time the chalet is reserved for members of the Game Creek Club. This place is exclusive, so make sure to book your table ahead of time. The menu is high quality American fair and includes a four course, five course, and children’s prix fixe option. The Game Creek Restaurant also offers an award-winning selection of wines.
Visit the Game Creek Restaurant’s site for more information and to make a reservation.
Ledgewood Yurt, Killington, VT
An evening at the Ledgewood Yurt, located on Killington Ski Resort in Vermont, begins with a snowcat drawn sleigh ride up the mountain. The yurt itself is tucked into the woods and covered with lights, which allow you to see it as you approach, enhancing the magical feel of the evening. Dinners in the Ledgewood Yurt take place every Saturday evening from January until March, although some special dates including New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day weekend are also included. Reservations are necessary, and it is suggested that you book at least two weeks in advance.
The menu is a five-course prix fixe meal, that strives to stay true to the area. The food is sourced from New England and the dishes are come straight out of the local culture. The price one pays for the food does not include the extensive beer, wine, and liquor menu. Dinners at the Ledgewood Yurt can accommodate 30 to 35 people at tables of 6 to 8 and are 21 and over.
Visit the Ledgewood Yurt’s site to learn more and to make a reservation.
Black Mountain Lodge Moonlight Dinner, Arapahoe Basin, CO
Most of the time the Black Mountain Lodge, located on the side of the continental divide in the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort, is a food court that features BBQ, salads, sandwiches, and soups. However, starting in December, they begin hosting the Moonlight Dinner series once or twice a month during the full moon cycle. Each dinner features a different theme for the food, which is served buffet style, and a wide selection of alcohol available for purchase at the bar.
To get to this dining experience most people take the chair lift, however, it is also possible to skin or snowshoe up, and then ski down afterwards. In fact, the first and last Moonlight Dinners held each year are randonee, meaning you must ascend the mountain using your own legs if you want to reach your dinner. Climbing those vertical feet is tough, but it also makes sitting down to eat that much more satisfactory. Tickets for each Moonlight Dinner must be purchased ahead of time. They go on sale in October and sell out quickly, so plan accordingly. The prices vary depending on which evening you choose.
Visit Moonlight Dinner Series site for more information.
Corbet’s Cabin, Jackson Hole, WY
If you find yourself at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, you must make the journey out to Corbet’s Cabin. Accessible via the aerial tram, this small cabin differs from the other restaurants on this list in the fact that it isn’t fine dining. However, located atop Rendezvous Peak at 10,450 ft. above sea level, it still offers a truly unique eating experience.
Corbet’s Cabin is famous for its waffles, which are made to order and come with an astonishing assortment of toppings. You can pick your own toppings or choose from one of the current waffle flavors. Besides waffles, it is also possible to buy drinks (including those of the alcoholic variety), snacks, and souvenirs here. The cabin is open daily from 9am until 3pm, however they stop serving waffles at 2:30pm.
Visit the Corbet’s Cabin site for more information.