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June Lake, CA
Photograph courtesy flickr/alaskandude
With trout-filled waters and outcroppings worthy of Yosemite (which is nearby), June Lake is what you want a mountain town to be: remote without being, you know, scary remote. Double Eagle Resort and Spa offers the area’s most ambitious accommodations—low-key cabins and a spiffier pond-side chalet—below the curtain drop of Horsetail Falls and the pine-clad crags of Carson Peak. Trails coil up forested walls past roaring streams and wildflower meadows to lakes glistening at 10,000-plus feet. If you don’t have the lungs, try a High Sierra Jeep Adventures tour or hop the old-school chairlift at June Mountain Ski Resort to June Meadows Chalet Summer Café for a panoramic barbecue. Then poke around the handful of gingerbread shops along June Lake Loop, which flows past three looking-glass lakes on the return to the resort. Get a steak at Eagle’s Landing, where the giant windows frame moonlit peaks.