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Galena Lodge: Where You Should Take Your Family This Summer

Mike McKenna's picture
Mike McKenna

Galena Lodge has all the ingredients for an awesome and memorable family day in the mountains. Assuming, that is, that your family enjoys mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, great food, cool vibes and breathtaking views.

 

History 

The Historic Galena Lodge near Sun Valley, Idaho

photo: Dev Khalsa Photography // BCRD

Erin and her husband, Don, have been operating the Galena Lodge since 2006. Originally from Virginia, there’s no place they’d rather be than tucked away in the mountains of Idaho. And while the world-class mountain biking options have a lot to do with why, it’s just part of what they love about Galena Lodge.

 “What makes Galena so unique is that it’s a community-owned lodge. People don’t take this place for granted. This place means a lot to a lot of people,” Erin explained. 

With a rich history that runs back to the region’s booming mining days of the 1800s, the unique day lodge was purchased by the community and donated to the Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) in 1994.

Since then, it has become a hub for cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking, biking and horseback riding in the summer months.

       

Getting There

The ride up there is worth the trip alone. From Ketchum to Galena Lodge stretches 23 miles of high alpine country as pretty as you’ll ever find. Highway 75, or the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, follows the Big Wood River as it runs between the Boulder and the Smoky Mountains, leading to the log cabin lodge at the base of Galena Summit.

It’s also easy to drive up to the Scenic Overlook atop the summit, either before or after your adventures at Galena Lodge, to enjoy sweeping views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

 

Mountain Biking

 Dev Khalsa Photography

photo: Dev Khalsa Photography // BCRD

There once was a time when mountain biking was a sport primarily for the super fit (and somewhat crazy). But things have improved. You don’t have to dig pain or peddling bikes that weigh as much as water buffalos anymore, which is why the sport has become one of the top summer draws for Galena Lodge.

“Mountain biking has really changed over the last several years. The bikes are better and lighter. It’s become way more comfortable and fun,” Erin Zell said. “It’s crazy how much mountain biking is growing, especially with kids.”

Over the last year or so, BCRD has added 47 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.  And it’s all free.

When it comes to mountain biking, the biggest challenge can simply be choosing your adventure. That’s why we asked Erin for some advice.

For beginners, youngsters or folks getting back into mountain biking, Erin recommends the Senate Meadows Loop. Rides can cover 3 to 5 miles of terrain almost anyone can feel comfortable with.

For those more advanced riders, Erin recommends Outhouse Trail or, for a longer ride, Spring Creek. 

Mountain Biking Spring Creek at Galena Lodge near Sun Valley, Idaho

photo: Dev Khalsa Photography // BCRD

For those looking for something really special,the International Mountain Bicycling Association recently selected the Galena Grinder as the first trail in Idaho to receive an “Epic Rides” designation.

“There’s something for everyone out here,” Erin said.

 

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding at Galena Lodge near Sun Valley, Idaho

photo: Dev Khalsa Photography // BCRD

If you prefer your saddle to be on a horse rather than a bike, you’ll be happy to know that horseback trail rides are available at the Galena Stage Stop Corrals, across the street from the lodge.  Rides can be an hour, 1 and 1/2 hours, a half-day or full day for those 6 and older. 

 

Hiking

Hiking at Galena Lodge near Sun Valley, Idaho

photo: Dev Khalsa Photography // BCRD

For those of you who prefer the power of your own feet, the hiking options out of Galena Lodge are practically endless. You'll find pine forests, meadows errupting with vibrant wild flowers and babbling brooks as you stroll through the foothills of the Boulder Mountains. 

 

Food

No matter what kind of adventure you choose, a day at Galena would not be complete without enjoying a meal at the rustic lodge. The place is almost as famous for its food as it is for its outdoor adventures.

“Everything is homemade, from the soups and breads to the burgers, buns and cookies. Everything is delicious, but not overly done,” said Erin, who credits her professionally-trained chef and husband, Don, for the popularity of the food.

“Don and his staff do an incredible job. People love the food here,” she said.

In addition to offering lunch daily, Galena Lodge also offers a Sunday Brunch as well as BBQ Buffett Dinners and Wagon Rides on Thursday nights during the summer.

 

Rentals

Galena Lodge rents out mountain bikes and even offers overnight lodging in “semi-back-country” yurts. So pretty much all you have to do to enjoy Galena Lodge is show up with some proper clothing and a good attitude. The lodge and its glorious surroundings will take care of the rest.

For updates on trail openings, maps and other details, please go to http://summertrailink.bcrd.org

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