Hiking, Summer

Guide to Hiking Sun Valley – Part II

With hundreds of miles of trail within easy reach of downtown, Ketchum and Sun Valley are a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly hike that you can finish before lunch, or an all-day epic that will make you earn your schooner of beer from Grumpy’s, we have you covered. Here are some of our favorite hikes in and around Sun Valley.

 

Hikes Close to Sun Valley

Guide to hiking in and around Sun Valley & Ketchum, Idaho

White Clouds Loop

  • Rating: Easy
  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 560 feet
  • Map

The White Clouds Loop was built in 2008 by Sun Valley Resort, and the trailhead is located across the street from the Sun Valley Lodge. The loop starts out with a climb to an overlook of Ketchum, then rolls over gentle hills with stellar mountain views. The last part of the loop is along the paved Trail Creek Path.

 

Taylor Canyon

  • Rating: Easy
  • Distance: 3.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
  • Map

Taylor Canyon is close enough to town to run over for a quick hike after lunch, but far enough that you won’t see many people. The loop begins as a gentle climb through an open canyon before making big, lazy switchbacks up to a ridgeline with great views of Bald Mountain. 

 

Titus Lake

  • Rating: Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 400 feet
  • Map

Just before reaching the top of Galena Pass you’ll notice a crowded parking area on the right. This is the starting point for Titus Lake, an easy-to-reach alpine lake above 9,000 feet. Because of its elevation the wildflowers don’t bloom until late July, making it a great destination for those who missed the earlier blooms closer to Sun Valley.

Guide to hiking in and around Sun Valley & Ketchum, Idaho

Proctor Mountain 

  • Rating: Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
  • Map

The lupines blooming on Proctor Mountain in June is one of the most beautiful sights in the valley. But Proctor Mountain is perfect throughout the summer, and is one of the closest hikes to Sun Valley Resort. The trailhead is located just west of the Trail Creek Cabin’s driveway, and passes the Hemingway Memorial before starting a sustained climb onto the ridgeline. This hike is mostly exposed, so bring plenty of water.

Guide to hiking in and around Sun Valley & Ketchum, Idaho

Norton Lake

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
  • Map

If you’ve never hiked to an alpine lake before, make Norton Lake your first. Norton Lake’s turquoise water edged with deep green pine trees makes it one of the most memorable, yet accessible, alpine lakes in the area. Don’t be scared by the elevation gain, the trail is a gradual climb with such beautiful scenery you’ll forget you’re working your lungs and legs.

 

Fox Creek

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Distance: 7 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
  • Map

Fox Creek is a popular loop hike north of Sun Valley on Highway 75. For scenic diversity the trail is hard to beat; it passes through open meadow, dense forest, and meanders on a rocky slope above the Big Wood River. Mountain bikers use this trail frequently, so stay aware of your surroundings (they will be riding the loop counterclockwise).

 

Pioneer Cabin

  • Rating: Advanced
  • Distance: 7.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet
  • Map

If there is one quintessential hike in Sun Valley, climbing to Pioneer Cabin from Corral Creek is it. This grunt of a hike ascends 2,400 feet in 23 switchbacks through alpine fields to Pioneer Cabin, which was built in 1938 by Sun Valley Resort for their alpine school. The cabin has no services, but pop your head inside to look around before sitting for lunch with one of the best views you’ll find anywhere.

 

Hikes Off the Beaten Path

Guide to hiking in and around Sun Valley & Ketchum, Idaho

Sawtooth Lake

  • Rating: Advanced
  • Distance: 8.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet
  • Map

The Sawtooth Mountains, a rugged and formidable range that towers over Stanley, is home to some of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the country. Sawtooth Lake is the largest in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, and is worth every step of the challenging climb. Leave first thing in the morning to beat the afternoon heat, and whatever you do, don’t forget your camera.

 

Surprise Valley

  • Rating: Advanced
  • Distance: 11 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet
  • Map

Skilled hikers who crave solitude will love the remote expanses of Surprise Valley. Located over Trail Creek Pass in the Fall Creek area, Surprise Valley is a lightly traveled trail with such spectacular views at its end that you’ll wonder why you haven’t seen another soul on the journey (hint: the brutal climb near the end has something to do with it). 

 

Fourth of July and Born Lakes

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Distance: 8 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
  • Map

Located in the White Cloud Peaks outside of Stanley, a hike to Fourth of July and Born Lakes takes you into the newly created Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness. Fourth of July Lake is the easiest, and therefore busiest, lake accessible from the trailhead. Continue north with a climb to the ridgeline that marks the edge of the Wilderness boundary. The view from this ridge may satisfy your quota for breathtaking scenery. If it doesn’t, descend in the wide valley to reach Born Lakes.

 

Sun Valley Hiking Resources

 

Shops

Ketchum’s gear shops have everything you need for a hike in the mountains. Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephants Perch, Lost River Outfitters, and Sturtevant’s carry a wide variety of hiking gear, maps, and advice from valley locals. 

 

Guides

Would you prefer to hit the trail with a knowledgeable and safe guide? Book a trip with Sun Valley TrekkingSawtooth Mountain Guidesor Sturtevant’s Sun Valley Mountain Guides.

Share this Post