The building itself is dilapidated, but beloved by locals, many of whom have braved the spiders and other creepy-crawlies to write their names on the interior walls. It was built in 1938 by Sun Valley Co. to make skiing in the Pioneer Mountains more accessible, but has since been abandoned and is visited mostly in the summer by lovers of the hike's vista.
Munter said he takes the trip about once a year, meaning he's done the trail about 20 times since moving here. He said it can get warm later in the season above the treeline and crossing the plateau, but there is typically a cool breeze at that 9,500-foot elevation. However, he recommends hiking it in the spring, when there's still snow on the peaks and in the vista.
The elevation gain of 3,000 feet makes this hike not all that accessible for beginners. Munter estimates it's a medium-intensity hike and urges taking it slowly, bringing food, plenty of water, a windbreaker for the chill and perhaps a waterproof jacket against the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms.
The trail can be accessed from Corral Creek Road, east of Sun Valley off of Trail Creek Road, past the Boundary Campground. To reach the trailhead, take Sun Valley Road from Ketchum until it after turns into Trail Creek Road and continue on, about 5 miles in total. Turn right at the sign for Corral Creek Road and continue 3.9 miles down the dirt road to the trailhead.
Pioneer Cabin can be hiked as a 7.2-mile out and back trip, or can be combined with Long Gulch to form a loop with a different view on the way back. Long Gulch drops back down after the cabin, with one roughly 400-foot elevation gain before descending back down along a ridgeline. The long, slow descent avoids switchbacks, but makes for a more lengthy trip—approximately 8.5 miles in total.
But, however you choose to hike this trail, just do it, Munter said.
"It's one of the good ones."
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