Sun Valley Essentials
hiking and biking
This is the hiker and biker’s nirvana. The Wood River Valley is riddled with hiking trails and bike paths for on- and off-road cycling pursuits. Trail Creek, Adams Gulch, Fox Creek, Bald Mountain and Warm Springs areas offer popular trails close to town.
The Wood River Trail System, a paved trail on the old railway right of way, stretches between Bellevue and Ketchum and then into Elkhorn and Sun Valley. The picture-perfect summer commute winds along the Big Wood River and is a popular place for walkers, inline skaters and young cyclists on outings with their families.
The 18-mile Harriman Trail, with the Boulder Mountains as a backdrop, runs north from the SNRA headquarters to Galena Lodge. See the feature article.
Idaho is indeed the whitewater state, and the Wood River Valley is an easy drive to many of the rivers famous the world over. The Main and Middle Fork sections of the Salmon and the Payette river system offer varying levels of whitewater action—from Class II to Class V. A range of trips, from day adventures to weeklong vacations, can be arranged through commercial outfitters or by obtaining private permits from the U.S. Forest Service.
To help you get around to the valley’s many summer events, catch a ride on the valley’s free bus system that makes regularly scheduled trips between Sun Valley, Elkhorn, Ketchum and Warm Springs. It is called the Ketchum Area Rapid Transit or KART.
The Peak Bus is a commuter service that makes morning and afternoon trips daily between Hailey and Ketchum. Both the Peak schedule and the KART schedule are published weekly in the Friday issue of the Idaho Mountain Express.
There are few pleasures to rival that of spending a summer evening listening to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
This world class symphony is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the open-air tent on the Sun Valley Esplanade Aug. 1-16. The Edgar M. Bronfman Chamber Music Series will be held July 26, 28 and 30.
Directed by Alasdair Neale, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony brings together musicians from the world over for three weeks of free concerts. Special guest this year include violinist Midori, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and relative newcomer violinist Leila Josefowicz.
Idaho is a mecca for the art of fly-fishing. Through the season, anglers hurry to favorite spots along the Big Wood and Little Wood rivers for big fish action. Warm Springs Creek, Penny Lake and Trail Creek are ideal for kids; they’re allowed to keep a limit of fish. The Silver Creek Preserve in the south county offers fabulous fishing coupled with wildlife watching. Hire a guide for the really secret spots.
A stay in Sun Valley is not complete without an outing to the Sun Valley Ice Shows. Held at dusk on Saturday evenings all summer, the shows feature some of the world’s best skaters. Past shows have featured Katarina Witt, Tara Lipinski, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano.
Go just for the skating or enjoy a rink-side dinner prepared by the chefs of the Sun Valley Lodge.
Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, first came to the Wood River Valley in 1939 to finish his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” while staying in suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge. His grave is in the Ketchum cemetery a half-mile north of downtown Ketchum on State Highway 75. Look for the two granite rectangles flush to the ground in a stand of four pine trees.
The Hemingway Memorial, one mile northeast of Sun Valley Lodge above Trail Creek, is a fitting monument to a man who wrote, “Best of all he loved the fall.”
Every summer the community honors Hemingway’s birthday on July 21. The Community Library in Ketchum holds a special lecture with a guest speaker, and the Ketchum-Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum hosts a birthday celebration. New this year to the valley will be a Hemingway Festival Sept. 23-26.