While it’s easy for most of us parents to fall for a place as pretty as Sun Valley during the colorful autumn months, it takes kids take a bit more convincing than some gorgeous mountain views.
Luckily, there is so much fun stuff to do for kids of all ages during the autumn in our blessed little Idaho oasis that it’s easy for kids to fall in love with this place, too.
In fact, the biggest challenges for kids isn’t deciding what to do, it’s deciding what they’d love to do first. Biking or bowling, hiking or fishing, skate boarding or swimming, ice skating, mini-golf or the playground, they’re all easy to do in and around Sun Valley. And the best part about playing around here in the fall is that it often feels like you’ve got the whole place to yourselves.
To help parents guide their kids and themselves down the amorous path around Sun Valley, here’s rundown of six great ways for families to spend a fall day in America’s original destination mountain town.
Go For a Hike
Many folks will tell you that fall is the best time of year to go for a family hike. The temperatures keep things cool. The falling leaves keep the views ablaze in beauty even the youngest eyes can appreciate, and there aren’t as many people or pets to have to share the trail with. Popular family hikes include: Proctor Mountain Loop Trail past the world’s first chair lift just down the road from Dollar Mountain; Adams Gulch just a short ride north of Ketchum; and Baker Lake on the way up to Galena Lodge. The crews at Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in Sun Valley and The Elephant’s Perch and Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum can dial you in for the best hiking options and necessary gear.
Catch Some Fish
Fishing seems easier in the fall. Maybe, much like some of us parents, it’s because trout are trying to pack on a few extra pounds before the cold of winter settles in. Maybe it’s because there’s less bait and lures being thrown at them. Maybe it’s because trout like to play Trick or Treat. Whatever the reason, fall is a great time to introduce kids to fishing or to reward those who already love casting with some of the best and easiest action of the year. Penny Lake out Warm Springs Road and Gavers Lagoon across from Silver Creek Preserve are both put-and-take family fishing waters. The Big Wood River is also more easily accessible and wadeable during low fall flows. Silver Creek Outfitters and Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum have all the gear and info you’ll need.
Have Fun at the Sun Valley Resort
While skiing is what made Sun Valley famous, the real reason people love the place is because of all it has to offer. It’s easy for a family to spend a day playing around the Sun Valley Lodge and Village. Your day can start with tasty breakfast treats at the authentic Austrian Konditorei restaurant, coffee shop and bakery. Next stop is some pool time, or spa time for mom and dadat the newly remodeled (and heated) Lodge Pool. After a swim, you can spend some time ice skating at one of the only year-round outdoor rinks in the nation or you can hit the lanes at Sun Valley’s retro Bowling Alley. For more info about any of these activities or Sun Valley’s great Fall Stay and Play packages, check out SunValley.com
In the pantheon of outdoor family activities, mini-golf is right up there with badminton and backyard volleyball, except mini-golf usually doesn’t involve getting hit in the head with a ball or a shuttlecock. The Sawtooth Putting Course is lots of fun, very forgiving and offers stunning views of Baldy and Dollar mountains. If you’ve got bigger kids and want to use bigger clubs, there are a handful of courses within a few miles. Sun Valley offers the Trail Creek, Elkhorn and White Clouds courses while the 9-hole Big Wood Course in Ketchum is popular with locals.
If your family enjoys exploring on two wheels, there aren’t many better places to do so than Sun Valley in the fall. There are more than 400 miles of mountain bike trails in the area, while the Wood River Trail offers 20 miles of paved trails, perfect for everything from family treks out to lunch to long road rides. And both Ketchum and Hailey offer free Pump Tracks. Pete Lanes in Sun Valley and Sturtevant’s, The Elephant’s Perch and Formula Sports in Ketchum can get you peddling in the right direction.
Bounce Around the Playground
For the younger kids, nothing beats exploring a big, new playground and that’s exactly what you can find at Ketchum’s Hemingway Elementary School and Atkinson Park. The playground is open to the public during non-school hours and the park is a great place to toss a Frisbee, whack a tennis ball or kick a soccer ball. The Ketchum Pump Track is across the street from the park and the new and improved Guy Coles Skate Park is just a few blocks down the road by the YMCA pool, rock climbing gym and workout facility. Plus, it’s all just a short stroll or bike ride to town, where you can enjoy a nice variety of restaurants to please even the pickiest eaters.