Hemingway in Sun Valley



Hemingway Haunts

Author Ernest Hemingway embraced local nature and nightspots with a vigor matched only by his fictional and largely autobiographical character Nick Adams.

As Adams lived in Michigan's wilderness, Hemingway meandered the meadows of Sun Valley and the Big Wood River.

Hemingway's time in Sun Valley began in 1939 when he came to the area after Union Pacific Railroad chairman Averell Harriman invited Hemingway and other celebrities to Sun Valley.

In the fall of 1939, he finished his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. He worked on it while staying in suite 206 at the Sun Valley Lodge.

The author made his hunting haunt the Silver Creek area near Picabo, shooting feathered prey and big game.

They were going after partridges so he pulled out the tube of the magazine and poured the long-rifle cartridges into his hand and then put them into a chamois pouch and filled the magazine with .22 shorts. They made less noise and would not tear the meat up if he could get head shots.

--"The Last Good Country" by Ernest Hemingway

"The Last Good Country" was first published in 1972 in a collection of Nick Adams stories.

Though none of Hemingway's fiction or nonfiction is set in the Wood River Valley, the actions of his characters and the hunting knowledge revealed were drawn from his life, which included his time here.

In 1946 and after 1948, Hemingway stayed at the Ketchum Korral room 38, along State Highway 75 at the south end of town. Then known as MacDonald Cabins, Hemingway stayed while the Sun Valley Lodge was being used as a hospital by the Navy during World War II.

The author described a bar in his story "A Clean and Well-Lighted Place."

In Ketchum, he often went to the Alpine Club (now Whiskey Jacques) and the Casino Club, which still exists on Main Street.

In ill health, the Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author feared he could no longer write and so shot himself dead at his home in Ketchum.

Sites to visit include the Hemingway House, Hemingway's grave and his memorial.

Hemingway ended his life at the Hemingway House, now owned by the Nature Conservancy, off Warm Springs Road.

The house can be seen from Saddle Road off State Highway 75, three-quarters of a mile north of Ketchum. The best view is from the west side of the highway.

Take Saddle Road Extension toward Warm Springs Road, then turn right on Northwood Way and look uphill to the left. The house has four big windows with green trim and a green balcony.

Hemingway's grave is in the Ketchum Cemetery.

Drive north on State Highway 75 through downtown Ketchum for half a mile and turn right into the cemetery. Take the right-hand road and stop after the curve. Walk into a stand of four pines to the right and look for two granite rectangles flush with the ground.

A memorial to Hemingway stands on Trail Creek Road one mile northeast of Sun Valley Lodge.

Look for a sign on the right and take the trail going downhill.