Top 10 hotels for nature lovers

Stroll out your door and into paradise from these well-situated lodges

4. BIG SUR, CA

Ventana Inn & Spa
It's a good thing the Ventana Inn & Spa is on more than 200 acres of pristine California coast, because something has to lure you out of your room. This low-key but luxurious resort is so plush and comfy ― with luxe beds, private decks, spa tubs, fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs ― it's tempting to spend your stay in a bathrobe with room service on speed dial. But that would be a shame, because Ventana's real strength is its location. As soon as you step outside, you're rewarded with heart-stopping views of the Pacific (or an equally beautiful sea of fog), the unmistakable smell of coyote brush and coastal sage, and access to 300 miles of hiking trails through the Ventana Wilderness. The inn also has a hiking concierge service to help find just the right route. INFO: From $500; 800/628-6500. -Samantha Schoech

5. BOULDER CITY, NV

Hacienda Hotel & Casino
Hop straight from the casino floor to a railroad route turned trail when you stay at the Hacienda, 30 miles from the Strip. This is not the Bellagio ― rooms are motel-modest ― but they're comfortable and clean, and won't empty your bank account. From the east parking lot, descend the path and veer right to see the five tunnels on the Historic Railroad Trail, which once conveyed construction materials to Hoover Dam. The 2.7-mile (one-way) route offers views of Lake Mead, where you might spot a bighorn sheep or two. You can access 30 more miles of trails from here, with options like taking the ambitious 9-mile trek (with a strenuous climb) into Bootleg Canyon, a hot spot for mountain bikers, or walking the easier Lakeshore Trail, along the edge of Lake Mead. INFO: From $60; 800/245-6380. -J.C. Davis

6. ASHLAND, OR

Mt. Ashland Inn
You can drive to the Mt. Ashland Inn, or walk here from Mexico or Canada, if you're so inclined ― it's right on the Pacific Crest Trail, 5,500 feet up the mountain and 20 minutes from town. Handcrafted 20 years ago from incense cedars logged on-site, the inn has five roomy guest suites, each with a large spa tub and gas fireplace. Dine in Ashland or bring a picnic (mini fridge and microwave in each suite) to eat in your room or at the split-log picnic table outside, where long-distance backpackers often pause. The inn's generous breakfast will fuel your own hikes, to Mexico, Canada, or just along the mountain's forested slopes. INFO: From $175; 800/830-8707. -Bonnie Henderson

 

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