Sun Valley, Idaho

Outdoors In Sun Valley Idaho

SUMMER

The Sun Valley area boasts nearly one million acres of surrounding wilderness and just about as many summer activities. Guests are invited to enjoy the many natural wonders — flyfishing in beautiful Silver Creek, hiking through teeming fields of wildflowers on Bald Mountain, or riding the rapids of the Salmon River. Thirty paved miles of bike trails, award-winning golf courses, a skateboard park and chairlift rides add a multitude of man-made marvels to Sun Valley’s stunning backdrop.

Mountain Biking in Sun ValleyBiking

The same conditions that created world class skiing have also created world class mountain and road biking. The area accommodates all levels of experience from the beginner to the white knuckle advanced. From wide dirt roads and extensive paved Wood River Trail System connecting the valley from the south to the north, to the challenging 28 miles of single track on Bald Mountain and the surrounding recreation areas, the Sun Valley/ Ketchum area has a large, varied trail system for all riding abilities. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of Ketchum and the Ketchum Ranger District, which surrounds the Wood River Valley, contains miles of maintained trails with spectacular mountain backdrops.

Hiking

Rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking trips can end at the top of a ten thousand foot peak or at a pristine alpine lake. Spectacular views are everywhere and spotting wildlife is virtually guaranteed. Guided trips are available for any length trip and for any ability. For those choosing to go solo, maps and guide information are available at the Sun Valley/ Ketchum Visitors Center, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area Visitor Center, Ketchum Ranger District, local bookstores, and the Community Library.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding outfitters are ready to take you wherever you would like to go on a multi or single day trip. Excursions into nature are not limited to the animal friend that you pick to help guide you. A popular activity is day hikes with llamas. Hikers are accompanied with trained guides through many of the scenic wilderness areas and the llamas carry everything. Both options are a great family activity.

River Rafting in Sun Valley IdahoRiver Rafting

Float, Boat, or Swim— Raft, kayak or tube Idaho’s wild rivers and their rapids. Along the Salmon and Payette rivers hot springs, Indian pictographs, thousand-foot cliffs, and trout fishing are a few of the treats found in a day’s journey. The gentle but exhilarating rapids on the day-stretches of the Salmon River are perfect for families and seniors looking for a little excitement. Eleven local outfitters offer single or multi-day river trips for rafters or kayakers. Head south of Ketchum for a day of flat-water kayaking and of wildlife viewing. Just 45 minutes north of Sun Valley three high alpine lakes invite windsurfers, water skiers, canoers, swimmers, and scuba divers to jump in. Classes and rental equipment are available at many area sporting good stores.

Golf

Said to be one of the most addictive sports ever invented and at one time banned in Scotland due to its popularity in the 15th century because lads were not tending to their archery responsibilities, golf is a pastime, a sport and a culture that easily fits into the Sun Valley experience. Though perhaps a more humble sport than skiing and mountain biking, playing the greens in these mountains is sure to elevate the spirit. Home to three eighteen hole courses that range from target design and tree-lined fairways varying in width to Elkhorn’s maze of water hazards and sand bunkers.

Unveiled in the summer of 2008 was the 9-hole White Cloud championship golf course. Along with the new holes will also be a state-of-the-art, 58,756-square-foot golf clubhouse and Nordic Center.

Golf in Sun Valley IdahoThe new nine-hole golf layout was designed by Donald J. Knott – of Knott Brooks Linn Golf Course Design Group out of California – who was lead architect during the obert Trent Jones Jr. design firm’s renovation of Sun Valley’s original 18 holes in 1978-79. The course largely sits on ridges and among the clouds, and the course reverses the traditional way resort courses are routed.

Whereas most resort courses are in valleys with real estate and resort lodging stealing the best, higher elevated vantage points, Sun Valley’s new nine dances from on high, providing panoramic views. It offers long-range, unforgettable sight lines, spectacular views of the Sawtooth, Boulder and other surrounding mountains, and an inspired routing which will require golfers to hit shots at the top range of their abilities to negotiate well the titillating layout.

Fishing

When Lewis and Clark passed through Idaho on their way to the Pacific in 1805, Idaho’s rivers and streams supported about 4 million wild salmon and steelhead (ocean-going rainbow trout). The mighty Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers produced some of the greatest chinook salmon and steelhead runs on earth. And in Sun Valley, you can experience the wild of the rivers as they did over a hundred years ago at famed spots such as Silver Creek, The Big Wood, The Big Lost, Copper Basin and The Little Wood.

Rainbow Trout in Sun Valley IdahoConsidered the original backdrop and inspiration for Hemingway’s famed character, Nick Drake — Sun Valley really is the divine destination for fly-fishing. Whether you re looking for remote high mountain streams or lowland desert reservoirs, you will find trophy cutthroat trout, bass for the masters and much more. From jewel-like alpine lakes to the streams flowing in the bottoms this country’s deepest canyons, trout in all their forms lure anglers to Idaho waters. Idaho’s salmon and steelhead journey further inland than almost any other salmon – salmon born in the Sawtooth Mountains must swim up to 1,000 miles to the Pacific Ocean where they grow to upwards of 40 lbs and 4 feet long. After spending 1 to 3 years in the ocean, they use their acute sense of smell and the earth’s magnetic fields to find the mouth of the Columbia River and make the heroic 000-mile-long journey back to the place they were hatched. See our photo gallery for exactly how impressive this journey becomes here in the Sawtooths.

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing

Some of the best alpine granite in the country can be found in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of the Sun Valley area. With a short hike you can access areas such the Elephant’s Perch and Finger of Fate. By late July most of the technical peaks in the Sawtooths can be done as pure rock climbs including Mt. Heyburn and Warbonnet. Also, there are some world-class cragging destinations in Southern Idaho a short drive from the Sun Valley area including City of Rocks and Castle Rock State Park.

Camping

The Sun Valley and Ketchum area is surrounded by five mountain ranges: Pioneers, Whiteclouds, Boulders, Smokeys and Sawtooths. Please enjoy the beauty of mother nature and the wildlife that lives within it.

Camping Near Sun Valley IdahoThere are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy while camping: hiking, biking, fishing, bird watching, rafting and much more. Please respect the environment and natural beauty of the area. Please remember to leave your camping site better than you found it. Be a courteous camper including keeping noise level down and pets under control. Always make sure your fires are put out completely and never leave a fire unattended. The campsites vary in size and have different amenities. Most facilities do have restrooms but do not have showers.

Ice Skating

Sun Valley is home to year round ice! Whether it’s winter or summer, when you’re here, lacing up your skates is never a problem. Home to a minor hockey team, ice shows and personal ice time, playing on the ice is a treat for all ages. Skating at the Sun Valley Ice Rink, home to the world famous ice shows in the summer, is open to the public year round every day of the week and is great for all ages and abilities. The rink is located just outside the Sun Valley Lodge and has skate rentals available in all sizes. Join a pick up game of hockey or broomball at the natural ice rink at Atkinson’s Park in Ketchum where they just have a variety of skates, helmets and hockey sticks available to borrow. Although you might have to shovel the ice, admission at this natural ice rink is free.

Hockey in the valley is a pastime enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. For sizzling hockey action throughout the winter season look to the Sun Valley Suns, the elite men’s amateur team. All home games are played at the Sun Valley Indoor Ice Arena. Games start at 7 pm, tickets available at the door. Games start 7 PM – doors open 6:30 PM. All local league games and the Sun Valley Junior Hockey program are played at the Sun Valley Indoor Ice Rink as well. The women’s teams include the “A” level Sunsets, and the “B” level Fury and the Sawtooth Edge, a team for women of all ages and abilities. Home games are played at the Sun Valley indoor ice rink.

WINTER

Not every Sun Valley winter activity requires a lift ticket. The surrounding area supplies visitors with an endless variety of spectacular scenery and sporting diversions. Spend a day mushing a pack of huskies, turn a few circles at the famed Sun Valley ice rink, cuddle up in a cozy yurt or hop a horse-drawn sleigh for a hearty dinner at the legendary Trail Creek Cabin. Snowmobiles provide an easy means to explore the incredible backcountry, while the devoted will still be fishing the local rivers in mid December. With so much to occupy your time, a return trip to Sun Valley will definitely be in order.

Downhill Skiing

Skiing In Sun Valley Idaho on Bald MountainKnown as the “American Shangri-La” and as the nation’s first destination ski resort, Sun Valley offers world class downhill skiing and snowboarding on one of the country’s largest and best mountains. And with 250 days of Rocky Mountain sunshine a year, your best days of skiing await you at Sun Valley. Don’t take our word for it. Sun Valley consistently rates in the top ten in Ski Magazine. Read for yourself what some of the most reliable sources in the industry are saying about Sun Valley.

“Known for its long, long, lo-o-ong steady-pitched jet-fueled groomers (perfect for raising World Cuppers like Picabo Street and Reggie Crist), its lack of crowds (“forgot what a liftline was!”), its opulent on-mountain lodges and its celebrity-studded history, Sun Valley has won over skiing’s well-traveled visitor for decades.It has sunshine and a top-light lift network, an authentic Old West town with metro-quality cuisine, sagebrush vistas and a largely friendly and easygoing vibe.Its resort hotel facilities are equally appropriate for families with kids, vacationing couples, aspiring starlets and global financiers alike.” – SKI Magazine

Sun Valley is also one of the best places to learn how to ski. Being the first destination ski resort in the country we’ve grown used to the idea that not everyone grows up with a world class ski mountain in their backyard. The mountains are diverse enough for the beginner to the advance. As Ski Magazine puts it “Sun Valley lets you ski like water flows. ” One reader calls Bald Mountain “the monarch of skiable mountains.”

Ski Mountains

Sun Valley Idaho Bald Mountain SkiingHailed by serious skiers as the country’s single best ski mountain, Bald Mountain boasts 3,400 vertical feet, 630 snowmaking acres, 14 lifts and 65 runs on 2,054 skiable acres. You’ll never tire of the immense variety of runs and errain for all levels of ability and interests. There’s open cruising on perfectly groomed corduroy, runs as long as 3 miles, steep bumps, spacious bowls, tree skiing and plenty of high-speed quads to get you back up the mountain in record time. If snowboarding’s more your style, our new super pipe will bring a smile to your face.

The treeless, groomed slopes of neighboring Dollar Mountain have long been ideal for learning to ski and snowboard. With 3 chairlifts and 13 runs, Dollar has gentle terrain mixed with more challenging slopes to allow beginners to progress to more difficult runs as their skills improve. It also has its own halfpipe and terrain park as well as a tubing hill, perfect for a day of sledding with the kids.

Nordic Skiing

Besides offering world class alpine skiing, the Sun Valley area is home to some of the most extensive and beautifully maintained Nordic trail systems in the nation. Be sure to check out the nordic and backcountry ski packages listed on our web specials page.

his is where the Boulder Mountain Tour, one of the nation’s pre-eminent cross country ski races is staged, and where top athletes from around the world come to train on our more than 200km of immaculately groomed trails. Whether you’re an experienced Nordic skier, a world class athlete looking for the perfect training area or are simply interested in trying the sport for the first time, you can’t choose a better place than Sun Valley, where you’ll be greeted every morning by freshly groomed trails, crystal clear air and unlimited possibilities to explore.

snowshoe ladyNordic ski trails in the Sun Valley area are open from mid-November to late April, depending on snowfall. Ski rentals, instruction, guided tours and other activities and services are offered by both Galena and the Nordic Center.

Backcountry & Heli Skiing

As the birthplace of United States helicopter skiing, Sun Valley has a long tradition of flying visitors to an untouched skier’s paradise on top of the Rockies. Most of the skiing takes place in the 7,000 to 10,000 foot range and there is a variety of terrain and runs to suit every level of skiing ability, including 33-degree pitches, 40-degree chutes, steady 2,000-vertical-foot descents and vast bowls of flawless corn. But don’t get the impression that heli-skiing is only for the super advanced. There are plenty of inviting, low-angled slopes ideally suited for the first-time or family heli-ski experience. And with the new fat ski technology, skiing in deep powder and ungroomed snow is a breeze.

Back Country

One of the special joys of skiing in Sun Valley’s backcountry is the network of well-equipped huts and Mongolian-style yurts that offer a welcome shelter at day’s end. The huts and yurts are strategically placed at the doorstep to some of Idaho’s most spectacular powder stashes. Skiers can ski from hut to hut (or yurt) or can use any of them as a base to explore the surrounding mountains. The huts and yurts are shared by local guiding ompanies and are available for use by skiers on guided tours as well as for rent by independent skiers.

Snowmobiling

With over 500 miles of groomed trails within 45 minutes of the Sun Valley area you’re sure to get some great riding in while you’re here. Closest to the Sun Valley area there are 120 miles of trails in the Baker Creek area ten miles north of Ketchum, and the Wood River Recreation Area three miles west of Hailey. Off trail riding is available. Also, just over the Galena Summit in the Smiley Creek and Stanley area there are 170 miles of trail. Off trail riding is also available as is guided and non-guided trips. And finally there are 200 miles of trails and open play areas in the Fairfield region.

Ice Skating

Sun Valley is home to year round ice! Whether it’s winter or summer, when you’re here, lacing up your skates is never a problem. Home to a minor hockey team, ice shows and personal ice time, playing on the ice is a treat for all ages. Skating at the Sun Valley Ice Rink, home to the world famous ice shows in the summer, is open to the public year round every day of the week and is great for all ages and abilities. The rink is located just outside the Sun Valley Lodge and has skate rentals available in all sizes. Join a pick up game of hockey or broomball at the natural ice rink at Atkinson’s Park in Ketchum where they just have a variety of skates, helmets and hockey sticks available to borrow. Although you might have to shovel the ice, admission at this natural ice rink is free.

Hockey in the valley is a pastime enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. For sizzling hockey action throughout the winter season look to the Sun Valley Suns, the elite men’s amateur team. All home games are played at the Sun Valley Indoor Ice Arena. Games start at 7 pm, tickets available at the door. Games start 7 PM – doors open 6:30 PM. All local league games and the Sun Valley Junior Hockey program are played at the Sun Valley Indoor Ice Rink as well. The women’s teams include the “A” level Sunsets, and the “B” level Fury and the Sawtooth Edge, a team for women of all ages and abilities. Home games are played at the Sun Valley indoor ice rink. Please check the current indoor ice rink schedule for times and use.

Sun Valley Idaho Ice SkatingThe Sun Valley (outdoor) Ice Rink is the best place to take in the stars. Over the years, skating’s biggest names have taken to the ice at Sun Valley, and the current ice shows are no exception. BOOK today! Stroll through the Sun Valley Lodge Lobby to the Terrace and watch the skaters twirl around the rink. Rent a pair of skates and rub elbows with Olympic and world class skaters practicing their routines. Professional skater and Olympic silver medallist, Linda Fratianne heads an excellent staff of skating professionals for group and private lessons. Skate Rentals available. Full service Skate Shop on premises.

Ice skate in summer! —Even when it is 90 degrees outside, Sun Valley offers ice-skating for everyone. Plus every Saturday night, June through September. Olympians such as Sasha Cohen, Irina Slutskaya, Jamie Sale, David Pelletier, and Todd Eldredge perform amazing feats on ice. A buffet dinner is served on the Sun Valley Lodge Terrace, adjacent to the outdoor ice rink, just before show time.

The Sun Valley Ice Shows began when young employees were required by Union Pacific to work at the resort in other capacities. They were given a costume, a pair of skates and instructions that were often as sketchy as, “just move around!” Guests were engaged in the chorus numbers and had their photos printed in the society pages of their local newspapers. Skating outside in the summer was as unique an experience then, as it is today. Since then, the ice shows have become a summer showcase bringing attention to rising stars who follow the legacy of such greats as Scott Hamilton, Kitty and Peter Carruthers–who all performed as amateurs here in Sun Valley.