Rockies, Blue Ridge Mountains are top outdoors vacation spots worldwide

Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies.

Matteo Colombo | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Pandemic-era mask and social distancing mandates may be ending all across the nation but many Americans may not yet be ready to get up close and personal with strangers while on vacation.

If that sounds like you, you might consider a vacation in the Rockies or the Blue Ridge Mountains, two of the top 10 ranges worldwide for mountain holidays recently ranked by U.K. outdoor clothing and gear outfitter Blacks. Visits to open-air outdoors destinations like national and state parks soared amid Covid and those still looking for safe getaways in the great outdoors can head for the literal hills.

The World’s Top 10 Mountain Holiday Destinations

U.K.-based active gear and clothing outfitter Blacks ranked the top 10 mountain ranges worldwide for vacations. The firm factored in average hotel price*, number of Instagram posts, annual online search volume, annual rainfall and average temperatures, and number of peaks to determine a score of 1 to 10:

1. Pyrenees (Spain & France)— Score: 8.5; Avg. Hotel Rate: $67.75
2. Atlas Mts. (North Africa)— Score: 8.3; Avg. Hotel Rate: $63.67
3. Andes (South America)— Score: 8.0; Avg. Hotel Rate: $48.77
4. Alps (Central Europe)— Score: 7.7; Avg. Hotel Rate: $54.19
5. Himalayas (East Asia)— Score: 7.3; Avg. Hotel Rate: $65.03
6. Rockies (U.S. & Canada)— Score: 7.2; Avg. Hotel Rate: $143.60
7. Carpathians (Central/East Europe)— Score: 6.9; Avg. Hotel Rate: $98.90
8. Blue Ridge Mts. (Eastern U.S.)— Score: 6.6; Avg. Hotel Rate: $132.76
8. Caucasus (West Asia)— Score: 6.6; Avg. Hotel Rate: $102.96
10. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia)— Score: 6.3; Avg. Hotel Rate: $63.67

*Converted to USD from GBP as of Feb. 9, 2022
Source: Blacks

The Rocky Mountains, running from northernmost western Canada south to New Mexico, ranked at No. 6 worldwide, landing a score of 7.2 out of a possible 10. The Blue Ridge Mountains, meanwhile, which span southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, came in at No. 8 worldwide with a score of 6.6, tying with the Caucasus Mountains on the Europe-Asia border.

Blacks ranked each mountain range based on factors like number of peaks, average temperatures and precipitation, annual search volume and Instagram posts, and average nightly hotel rates. Both North American ranges were the priciest in the rankings, with a hotel night in the Rockies costing around an average $143.60 and one in the Blue Ridges priced at about $132.76.

The average rate in the Pyrenees, in France and Spain, by comparison, is just around $67.75.

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Feeling like something more exotic or far-flung than the Rockies? The Pyrenees, in fact, topped the list overall, with the Atlas Mountains in North Africa and South America’s Andes rounding out the top three ranges. The latter, in fact, is the cheapest range to visit, with an average hotel cost of just under $49 a night in the Andean metropolis of Bogota, Colombia, according to Blacks.

No. 1 contender the Pyrenees is packed with ski resorts, national parks and hiking trails, and scored big when it came to popularity on the web, with more than 1.5 million Google searches a year and 2 million Instagram posts. The Atlas Mountains, meanwhile, are the warmest and least wet.

Whichever range you’re headed to, preparation is key, according to a statement from Kiera Baxter, marketing executive at Blacks.

“A great mountain holiday is all in the planning,” she said. “It’s vital to take your time planning everything from your routes to your accommodation to ensure you’ve considered all eventualities and don’t get caught out.

“Back up your routes with safer alternatives and have a plan in mind for the unexpected,” Baxter added.