If you have ever visited the Sun Valley area, chances are there is at least one image of our breathtaking locale in your Instagram feed. Or maybe you haven’t visited yet but hashtags like #seeksunvalley on our @visitsunvalley page have caught your attention and have drawn you into exploring this amazing place. Whether you are a seasoned visitor or a first timer, we complied a list of the must see places in and around Sun Valley to fill your Instagram feed with the best there is to offer.
The Sun Valley Barn
An icon of Sun Valley, many a photo has been taken in front of this barn and numerous reproductions of it in paintings and memorabilia have been made over the years. Located on Sun Valley Road between Ketchum and Sun Valley, the red barn is hard to miss. Built in the early 1880s, its thought that this barn used to service ore wagons that traveled Trail Creek Road. Speaking of, swing by the Ore Wagon Museum for some more history and to grab a few grams there too.
Across Sun Valley Road from the barn is a stop many make to photograph the beautiful horses that are occasionally in pasture here. These horses are part of the Sun Valley Stables, owned by Sun Valley Company, who use the horses for wagon rides and horseback rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter.
Located just off the bike path south of Ketchum, John Grade’s sculpture Spur was commissioned in 2016 by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts with significant support from the City of Ketchum as part of a larger project celebrating Craters of the Moon National Monument during the 2016 National Park Service Centennial. Spur was located at Craters during that summer before relocating to its current long-term site. Based in Seattle, artist John Grade visited Craters of the Moon several times before beginning work on Spur. He was fascinated by the park’s extraordinary geology, and using a technology called LIDAR, he digitally mapped the interior of a lava tube in the park and used the map as a model for the sculpture. Built from Alaskan cedar, the sculpture’s ribs are carved and charred to imitate the craggy interior of the actual tube.
The Big Chair
A large wooden chair located on the corner of Sun Valley Road and Leadville Ave. might not sound like a very Instagrammable location. But with its own pair of large wooden cowboy boots and a carved image of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco this local icon is less a chair and more a portal into the old west days of Ketchum’s past. The rumps of many have sat upon the Idaho sized chair, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Cold Springs Bridge
The bike path crosses over the historic Cold Springs Bridge located two miles south of Ketchum. The 208-foot-long, 17-feet-wide, single span Pegram truss bridge was constructed in 1884 at the Snake River Crossing in Ontario, Oregon. In 1917 the bridge was disassembled and brought to its permanent location in Ketchum where it crosses the Big Wood River. The bridge served the Union Pacific from 1936-1981 when it would bring skiers on luxury trains to Sun Valley. In 1984, the Blaine County Recreation District converted the bridge for pedestrian use and in 1997 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Worlds First Chairlift
Another engineering marvel of the Union Pacific era of Sun Valley is the world’s first chairlift. Designed to safely whisk skiers up the slope to circumvent the grueling hiking that was required to enjoy some turns on the slopes. Although technically the first chairlift is no longer standing, the third chairlift built only months later on Rudd Mountain is maintained and easily accessible from Fairway Road in Sun Valley.
Located out Trail Creek is the memorial to famed author Ernest Hemingway who often visited and lived in Sun Valley and made it his final resting space. Nestled in a grove of cottonwoods is a bust of Hemingway as well as a plaque with following words:
“Best of all, he loved the fall. The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams, and above the hills the high, blue, windless skies. Now he will be a part of them forever.”
These words were actually a eulogy written by Hemingway during his first visit to Sun Valley for Van Guilder, a Sun Valley publicist who died young in a tragic hunting accident. The Hemingway memorial is tucked into a grove of cottonwoods on Trail Creek Road past Sun Valley Resort. It overlooks the yellow leaves beneath the high blue skies to which the eulogy refers.
Fourth Street Art
Ketchum has a wonderful array of art strewn across the town from sculptures tucked near buildings to vibrantly wrapped utility boxes on street corners. A challenge is to post a gram of art that you stumbled upon and to get creative with your angles. A good place to start off your street art adventure is the Fourth Street corridor. Large art pieces stretch the length of the street and are on a frequent rotation to keep things fresh and vibrant.
Sawtooth Botanical Garden
Open year-round from sunrise to sunset, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden is not only a gorgeous spot to explore but also a venue for events, classes, and opportunities for learning more about species native to our high-altitude area. Located on Highway 75 at the turn into Gimlet subdivision, the Garden is also conveniently located along the bike path, making it the perfect destination for tourists and locals alike looking to explore a little of the Wood River Valley’s backyard.
Instagrammable locations are not only limited to history or art around town. Five mountain ranges surround Sun Valley and offer up breathtaking alpine scenery. There is always the classic pow shot while skiing on Baldy or schooner vision on the Grumpy’s patio. What is an Instagram vacation without food pics and we have some great restaurants to make all of your followers mouths water. Remember these places are special so be mindful and tag responsibly on your next Instagrammable visit.