Take a ten-hour drive southeast—or a twohour
flight—and you’ll find yourself at the
famed ski destination, Sun Valley, Idaho.
Often thought of as a snowy playground
for the elite, Sun Valley is actually a welcome vacation
area that caters to many types of budgets
and activities. In fact, with its spectacular scenery,
abundant trails, appealing shops, excellent food
and close proximity to the Sawtooth National
Recreation Area, it’s a hub for spring, summer, and
fall outdoor activities as well. This spring, add it as
a possibility to your travel list.
What to Do
In the Wood River Valley, the problem won’t be figuring
out what to do, it will more likely entail how
to fit in everything you want to do. Expanding your
adventures outside Sun Valley and Ketchum will
only cause your list to grow. The beautiful thing is
that it’s the type of place many visitors return to
time and again—each vacation a new chance to
catch up on missed desires.
Newbies are encouraged to try some of the classics.
In the winter, Bald Mountain—called Baldy by
locals—is a skier’s haven. When the snow is gone,
it’s an incredible hiking and mountain biking spot.
For those who wish to take the easiest route, a gondola
is available for sightseeing in the summer.
Another timeless activity during snow-free
weather is biking. There are 30 miles of paved,
car-free paths to meander on thanks to the Wood
River Trails. You can pedal all the way to the
younger town of Hailey, or bike to closer shops
and dining. The paved system will lead you to
mountain biking trails for a more thrilling ride.
Cars aren’t a necessity to get around, which
keeps you in touch with the stunning natural
Two legs will be as important as two wheels in
the area. Hiking is prolific, with trailheads located
in any and every direction. Discover the region
through awe-inspiring walks. The friendly residents
are always willing to point you in the right
direction, but you can also invest in one of the
guides, books, or trail maps of the area.
For daytrips—or a quick overnight—venture
north for hiking, camping and water sports at popular
Redfish Lake or the lesser-known Pettit Lake.
You can also find horseback riding if you’re looking
to indulge your inner cowboy.
Like many mountain towns, action is the heart
and soul of the community. Sun Valley, Ketchum,
and Hailey are full of residents who love to connect
with nature on a daily basis. Visitors will
discover their own way to interact with the raw
beauty of the area, whether it’s running, fishing,
camping, photography, kayaking, paddle boarding,
or one of the classic activities like biking, skiing,
and Nordic skiing.
Where to Dine
Kick start your morning with a cup of fair trade
coffee, some town gossip and an inspired menu at
Java Coffee and Cafe. Locals flock to this regular
haunt, with locations available in both Ketchum
and Hailey. Your trip isn’t complete without
indulging in their epic house specialty mocha—the
Bowl of Soul.
Of course, you can always have
breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack at Sun Valley’s
famed Konditorei Restaurant. The Austrianthemed
establishment serves up excellent pastries
and hearty meals. The options in the Wood River
Valley are extensive. However, classics include the
rustic Pioneer Saloon or sophisticated Globus. For
the ultimate affordable and delicious Mexican
eats, try La Cabanita—although be ready for loyalists
to guide you to the equally excellent Despo’s.
Where to Stay
Sun Valley is unlike many vacation spots—you
won’t be staying at the typical motel or hotel.
Options are more geared toward a homey sojourn.
While you can stay at the renowned Sun Valley
Lodge (which is currently under renovation
through approximately June 2015) or
the lovely Sun Valley Inn, many people
stay in cottages, condos, townhouses,
or other rentals. Some good resources
for your lodging are sunvalley.com/
lodging and visitsunvalley.com/lodging.
Scheduling around the winter season
will yield more bargains.
Where to Shop
Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Hailey are
all hubs for shoppers. Ketchum’s sleek
streets contain wonderful gems like
Huck & Paddle, Iconoclast Books
and Cafe, and Backwoods Mountain
Sports. Down the road next to the
Sun Valley Lodge is an outdoor shopping area with a more exclusive vibe.
The grounds by the lodge are beautiful, and you can entertain the kids
with a visit to The Toy Store. They
give out free bread to feed the ducks
and swans. Hailey has an infusion of
ski and snowboard-hungry twentysomethings.
The shopping reflects the
population with more artsy, eclectic
store choices. Try crafter favorites that
include the Sun Valley Fabric Granary
or The Bead Shop.
The Sun Valley area is a worthy
travel option. It reflects a deep love for
the outdoors in a sun-filled, refreshing
and dashing mountain-town setting.