IT MAY BE TEMPTING to pigeonhole Sun Valley as a winter destination (it’s home to one of the top ski resorts in North America, after all). But the options for adventure and fun only increase in proportion to the daily hours of sunlight — meaning that summer in Sun Valley is pretty hard to beat. Here are 19 truths that prove why.
THERE’S A LOT TO LOVE in Sun Valley — just ask around and you’ll pretty quickly encounter folks who left behind their lives and high-powered careers in big cities like New York and Los Angeles for a chance at the good life in this one-of-a-kind mountain town. If you’ve never been to Idaho’s Wood River Valley, here are a handful of experiences to expect…and which may just turn you into Sun Valley’s newest year-round resident. It’s happened plenty of times before!
A smattering of things you might not have know about Sun Valley, Idaho.
Sure Sun Valley might technically be considered a desert region, but believe me, there is no shortage of natural water sources. Keep in mind I’m still far from the highly acclaimed local status but if a fellow Out-of-Towner asked me, my top 5 spots thus far would have to be:
Sore legs, epic views, and cold beer. Three thoughts that command my attention as I reflect on a glorious weekend spent acquainting myself with Coyote Yurt in the Smokey Mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho. This magical, remote place perched high above the valley is a dream come true for mountain bikers looking to ride endless single track from a base far away from it all, yet still fully supported. Think glam camping with all the beer you can fit in to a 4×4, comfy beds, and bottomless vistas. The Coyote Yurt should be on your Sun Valley bucket list.
Regardless of old man winter’s fickle temperament and unpredictable generosity, you can always count on the good folks at Sawtooth Mountain Guides to sniff out the stashes and pave the skin track to the goods. When slopes on Baldy rattle your teeth, soft powder conditions can often be found in the vast backcountry surrounding Sun Valley.
Ketchum and Sun Valley may be known for many outdoor opportunities like biking, hiking, skiing, camping and so on, but what many people do not know is that it is also a well known Skateboard destination.
To be honest, the Osberg Ridgeline Trail doesn't make any sense. It's too perfect. It's too remote, yet too close. It's singletrack is too flowy, too rolly, too buffed out and way too scenic to be so close yet so far away. It's too easy to be a backcountry trail and it's too far from town to be… well it's almost too much of everything to be real. But it is. Sitting in the middle of nowhere, 3,000' above the valley floor, unspooling from east to west, following a prominent ridge system that divides Baker Creek and Warm Springs Creek with views for tens if not hundreds of miles, this newest addition to the Sun Valley region's singletrack motherload is a mind blower.
The official score card of destiny Harley’s for hangovers, Banks Gilberti must still be looking for his passport. It began nearly a quarter century ago as a way to pass time during spring slack season at a time of year when the tourists are not on tour and the locals are getting a little restless. It’s a basic yet brilliant concept: the bars and restaurants in town rally together and each creates a mini-golf hole to try and befuddle even the savviest golfer. Athletes congregate in teams of two and play a round of ultimate mini golf. Bonuses are awarded for various actions and everyone tries to make it all the way around town before the closing bell rings. Costumes are taken seriously in Sun Valley and the KWO as it is affectionately known brings out the best of the best. The Vikings and the Americans battle for the title. It’s no joke and if there was ever a winter of preparation to get ready for this event Sun Valley has got it. Spend hours upon hours at apres and you are the finely tuned machine who will come and represent. The Mutant Turtles …
One way to get a spectacular view of Sun Valley and the surrounding mountains is to hike or ride the lifts to the top of Baldy. But an even better way, as we found out, is to run off the top of the mountain with another person strapped to your back as a big beautiful glider rises over your head and takes you soaring out over the valley.