This is the perfect time of year to go – in the middle of summer. With the climate and elevation, you’ll still catch lots of wildflowers on the trails and the snow is melted so you can access the far-away pristine places. Located in Ketchum, Idaho, Sun Valley is the resort (and small city) located right next to Ketchum…but so many people call Ketchum ‘Sun Valley,’ in my mind they are synonymous.
It’s a magical spot, lots of big nature and hardly any people.
The trails are shared and users are genuinely happy to see each other. Such a refreshing treat. Some trails right in town, that are super user friendly are in Adams Gulch (Shady side trail in, Adam’s to Citizens, then out again on Shady side) and Oregon Gulch. A little more challenging, but still so super fun is Chocolate to Fox (parking in the Fox Creek trail head.) Galena Lodge is on your way north out of town and has a whole network of trails and great food at the Lodge. Fun.
The SNRA (Sawtooth National Recreational Area) has free camping (and water and a dump station for your porta potty) just north of town – perfectly out of cell service range. There is free camping galore, along the river, north of there.
The YMCA is the most luxurious club. It has an indoor ‘river’ by the pool that has powerful jets to work out the body kinks. They have a climbing wall and Crossfit gym. $15/day drop in or $5 for a shower. Just around the corner on Northwood Way is the Big Wood Bakery and Cafe. The Galena breakfast bowl (with kale, quinoa and farro) is clean and will keep you going a long time.
Glow Café is itself almost worth the drive to Sun Valley. Vegan. Raw. High vibe food that is beautiful, nutritious and wonderful. It is right next door to Bavarian Soul, one of the only places in the states to carry Majola, a mountain biking/skate skiing clothing brand from Germany that is super styley. Just a block down the street, is Rickshaw, an off-the-charts dining experience. Fresh, authentic and epic.
Gather Yoga is right downtown, across the street from Atkinson’s Grocery. The Farmer’s Market happens kitty corner to Atkinson’s on Tuesday’s from 2-6 (and in Hailey on Thursday’s from 2-6.) You can get locally made root beer from Buck Snort Sodas and dog food made from scratch by Idahound.
Grumpy’s on Warm Springs Road (blocks from the YMCA) has laundry.
It’s a small gem of a community, which makes it easy to constantly be making new friends. The generosity and stoke of the people that call it home is contagious. It is a treat to be there and to keep going back.
photos by Chris Schey