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Best Quick Getaways

posted: 02/04/2005

Escape RoutesNeed a weekend that feels like a vacation? Head to the hills.

From Seattle To Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, Wash.
Drive time: Four hours
Sun Mountain, in the Cascades northeast of Seattle, is known in winter for its enormous network of cross-country trails. That means miles of hiking and mountain biking on 3,000 acres of private terrain in the summer. Bonuses A full-service spa, horseback riding and Class III-IV rafting on the Methow River. From $140 per room; 800-572-0493;

From L.A. To Gold Mountain Manor, Big Bear City, Calif.
Drive time: Two hours
At seven-room Gold Mountain, you'll feel like personal friends of innkeepers Trish and Jim Gordon as they lead you on hikes along their favorite trails in San Bernardino National Forest. And if they can't make it, house canines Mat and Cappie will do the honors. Bonuses Gourmet homemade breakfasts under the purview of Jim, a former catering executive; trout-fishing on Big Bear Lake. From $125 with breakfast; 800-509-2604;

From Denver To Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyo.
Drive time: Three-and-a-half hours
Unlike most dude ranches, Brush Creek doesn't lock you into a seven-day stay, so you can make a weekend of ridin' and ropin' at this working ranch due north of Denver. Bonuses Four-wheel drive safaris through Medicine Bow National Forest, guided overnight horsepack trips and float rides down the Platte River. From $195 per person, per day, with all meals and activities; 800-726-2499;

From New York City To Emerson Inn, Mt. Tremper, N.Y.
Drive time: Two hours
A quick ride up the New York State Thruway, this ultra-swanky Catskills hotel boasts a 5,000-bottle wine cellar, Frette linens, a spa and champagne at check-in. Bonuses Hiking the Overlook Mountain Trail, which begins outside of a Tibetan monastery where monks pray in sight of expansive Hudson Valley views; shopping for art and antiques in Woodstock, 10 minutes away. From $489 per room with breakfast; 845-688-7900;

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