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Sun Valley (Idaho)

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Sun Valley [11] is a mountain resort city at 6,000 ft (1,830 m), in central Idaho; incorporated in 1967.


Bald Mountain Sun Valley Idaho
Bald Mountain ski area as seen from Ketchum Idaho

Sun Valley is located in Blaine County, which began its life over a century ago in much the same way other Idaho mountain communities did: as a hardscrabble mining area. By 1900, mining was clearly in decline in southern Idaho. Many Idaho mountain mining settlements eventually became ghost towns, but the Blaine County communities managed to hang on, mostly due to the sheep industry.

In 1936, tourism entered Blaine County in a big way with the opening of the Sun Valley resort, which attracted the rich and famous from day one. A particularly famous early visitor was Ernest Hemingway, who spent his final days in the area and is buried in Ketchum. Today many world famous people maintain first or second homes in Blaine County.

Sun Valley revolves around tourism, with skiing in the winter and outdoor activities in the nearby Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the summer dominating the itinerary. The area has a reputation as a highbrow and unapologetically liberal enclave in largely conservative Idaho. While vegan and organic lifestyles may be openly scoffed at only a few miles away, it's no problem at all to indulge them here. (IATA: ASE) (ICAO: KASE))

Get in[edit]

By Air[edit]

The nearest airport to Sun Valley is Friedman Memorial Airport (IATA: SUN, ICAO: KSUN) in Hailey, ID. The airport is served by Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines, and is reachable from the gateway sites of Seattle (WA), Portland (OR), Denver (CO), Los Angeles (CA)and Salt Lake City (UT). These cities are served by most major airlines and are met by Sun Valley’s two connecting carriers. Horizon Air now offers daily direct, nonstop flights via Los Angeles and Seattle.

Charter companies such as Sun Valley Air Charter and Air Charter Advisors offer access to a variety of charter planes across the country for flights to Sun Valley, ranging from single and twin-engine props, to luxury gulfstreams and business jets.

By Bus or Shuttle[edit]

Sun Valley Stages offer charter service to Sun Valley from the Idaho gateway cities of Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Sun Valley Express offers daily bus service to the resort from the Boise, Idaho airport.

By Car[edit]

Sun Valley is located adjacent to the town of Ketchum on Idaho State Route 75, about two hours north of Twin Falls.

Get around[edit]

  • Mountain Rides, 208.788.RIDE (7433), [1]. operates a free, year round transportation busing system with fixed route service in and around the cities of Sun Valley & Ketchum. Newly Expanded service to Hailey and Bellevue costs $2 to $3 one way and $3 to $4 round trip. In the winter there is service 3 days a week to Galena Lodge and the north valley cross country ski trails.  edit

  • Walk and bike. Sun Valley is a walking village. Vehicles park next to the Sun Valley Lodge. Everything in Ketchum is accessible by walking as well. There is a walking/bike path between the two cities, about 1 mile. Bicycle rentals abound.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Community Library, 415 Spruce Avenue, 208.726.3493, [2]. Varys. in Ketchum is one of the only privately owned and operated libraries in the country. Free internet for the public  edit
  • World Class Ice Skating Performances, Sun Valley Ice Rink. Saturday nights during the summer. Tickets can include a buffet dinner or just the show  edit
  • The Hemingway Memorial (dedicated in 1966). off Trail Creek Road, 1 mile from the Sun Valley Lodge.  edit
  • The world's first chairlifts. installed on Proctor and Dollar Mountains in the fall of 1936. The chairlift design was adapted from banana loading equipment used on fruit ships in the tropics. The single-seat chairlifts were developed at the Union Pacific headquarters in Omaha in the summer of 1936. The chairlift went on to replace the primitive rope tow and other technologies used at ski areas at the time.  edit
  • Wagon Days, Ketchum. First week in September. Wagon Days spans four days of Old West entertainment with street theater, dances, live music, food, antique shows, arts and craft fairs, and the highlight: the Big Hitch parade, the longest non-motorized parade in the Northwest. with more than a hundred museum-quality buggies, carriages, tacks, carts, buckboards, and wagons of every variety in existence today-- featuring the giant ore wagons pulled by a sixteen-draft mule team.  edit
  • Ore Wagon Museum, 900 3rd Ave N; Ketchum. Free.  edit
  • Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Fair (August), Sun Valley.  edit
  • Ketchum Ski & Heritage Museum, First Street & Washington Ave, Forest Service Park Ketchum, 208-726-8118.  edit
  • Trailing of the Sheep (Second weekend of October).  edit
  • Ernest Hemingway Festival (Late October), [3].  edit
  • Sun Valley Writers Conference (Mid July), 208.726.5454, [4]. a once-a-year community of discerning readers and writers who come together to consider ideas set forth in fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, and filmmaking. While covering a great breadth of subjects, the conference is always anchored by important literary figures and frequently includes policy makers who have authored respected books.  edit
  • Sun Valley Summer Symphony, (208) 622.5607, [5]. A free outdoor Symphony that feature nationally known classical musicians Concert in August at the brand new Symphony Pavilion at the Sun Valley Resort. FREE.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Skiing. Magnificant skiing! Baldy's 13 chairlifts, including high-speed quads, have a capacity of over 23,000 skiers per hour. With an average of 3500 skiers per day (& less than 6000 skiers per day during peak periods), Sun Valley has kept the lift lines to a minimum, a rarity among major resorts. Also Dollar mountain for learners, great place for children.  edit
  • Fishing. Idaho in general is a mecca for fly-fishing. Nearby walk and wade options include the Big Wood, Big Lost, Little Wood, Copper Basin, Silver Creek and the headwaters of the Salmon. You will find a variety of fishing guidesin the area that offer Walk and Wade trips.  edit
  • River Rafting. Idaho is the Whitewater State. A number of river rafting companies offer 1 to 5 day trips on the Salmon River of No Return just north of Sun Valley  edit

  • Ice Skating. at the Sun Valley Ice Rink or free at Atkinson Park in Ketchum.  edit
  • Sun Valley Wellness Festival (May), [6]. provides education on health and wellness though programs and events. Past keynote speakers have included Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Marianne Williamson, Byron Katie, Dr. Marasu Emoto, Mariel Hemingway and Debby Ford.  edit
  • Sun Valley Ketchum US Half Marathon (Half Marathon = 13.1 miles, 12K, 5K & Kids MaraFUN), [7]. Memorial Day Weekend. Experience one of the most scenic and traffic free courses imaginable. The US Half Marathon, Sun Valley Ketchum runs primarily along the Sun Valley and Wood River paved path and trail system.  edit

  • Mountain Biking. Sun Valley and Stanley are home to more miles of buffed singletrack than any destination in Idaho. The huge trail variety makes the Sun Valley/ Stanley area the perfect place for beginner to advanced riders to explore the surrounding Pioneer, Smokey and Sawtooth Mountains. With so many options pick up a local guide book or try a Mountain Bike Guide company to ensure you find the best trails in the area  edit


  • Camp Fideaux
  • Food & Wine Festival
  • Center for the Arts Wine Auction
  • Ketch’em Alive

Buy[edit][add listing]

The Sun Valley area is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, either to visit or to live in. Out of sheer economic necessity, many people who work in the area commute daily from as far away as Twin Falls. If money is no object, pretty much anything can be had here. Otherwise you may want to do as many of the locals do: see the sights, then head for less expensive locales.

Equipment Rental[edit]

There are many places in Ketchum and Sun Valley where you can rent all types of equipment including skis and snowboards in the winter and bikes in the summer.

Just a few stores that specialize in equipment rentals:

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Ketchum Grill, 520 East Ave Ketchum, (208) 726-4660. Dinner served from 5:30PM nightly.. One of the areas best.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Duchin Lounge, Lobby of the Sun Valley Lodge, (208) 622-2145, [8]. noon-midnight. Recently remodeled bar in the Sun Valley Lodge. Features a small food menu and upscale drinks. $$.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Sun Valley Lodge (Built in 1936, the historical Sun Valley Lodge's elegance lives on.). offers rooms featuring French country interiors and furnishings, marble appointed bathrooms and large-screen televisions, as well as the Lodge Dining Room, Gretchen's, the Duchin Lounge, Sun Valley Salon & Day Spa, massage center, sauna and heated swimming pool, workout facility, bowling alley, game room, room service,gift shop and Ice skating that runs all year long.  edit
  • Best Western Tyrolean Lodge, 260 Cottonwood Street Ketchum, 800-333-7912/ 208-726-5336. has Austrian-style guest rooms and overlooks Baldy Mountain. $$$.  edit
  • Tamarack Lodge, Corner of Sun Valley Road and Walnut Ave Ketchum, (208) 726-3344, [9]. in the heart of Ketchum. Indoor pool, hot tub, etc. $$.  edit
  • Wyndham Vacation Rentals, 333 South Main Street Ste 101, 208.726.5601, [10]. checkin: 4:00 PM; checkout: 10:00 AM. Wyndham Vacations Rentals offers nightly rentals in studios, condos, town homes, and private residences throughout the Sun Valley area. Ranging in price and size, the properties are located in Ketchum, Warm Springs, Elkhorn, Sun Valley, and even Lane Ranch. Enjoy the amenities of home in a vacation rental. (43°40'35.7N,114°21'42.2W) edit


  • Java Coffee House, 191 4th St W Ketchum, (208) 726-2882. coffee, food, and free wireless Internet. Nice, casual, and friendly atmosphere. The back room looks like someones living room, sort of.  edit
  • The city of Ketchum. has free wireless Internet throughout the city.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • North on HWY 93, will take you over Galena Summit and into the beautiful town of Stanley Idaho. From there, HWY 21 leads to Boise, or HWY 93 continues on to Challis and Salmon Idaho, then into Montana.
  • South on HWY 93 leads to the Sun Valley airport and Hailey, Idaho, 11 miles from Sun Valley, then onwards to Twin Falls or Boise.

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