Sun Valley Travel Guide

USA  
Credit

Courtesy of CodyHaskell/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Sun Valley

Ketchum's casual town atmosphere and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains have made it a mainstay for celebrities and outdoor enthusiasts for decades. The Sun Valley ski resort is the most obvious attraction in town, as it enjoys plenty of powder and world-class facilities. And in the summer months, numerous biking and hiking trails in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area attract warm-weather visitors. For more relaxing pursuits, there's the peaceful Sawtooth Botanical Garden. And if you want to learn about the area's unique culture and history, check out the Sun Valley Museum of History.

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Sun Valley Ski Resort
    View all Photos
    #1 in Sun Valley
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're visiting Ketchum in the winter, it's hard to resist the powder and astounding vistas offered by Sun Valley ski resort, where about 220 inches of snowfall accumulate every year. Experienced skiers and snowboarders will love the nearly 100 trails at Bald Mountain. From groomed runs to glades to bowls to terrain parks, this massive winter wonderland will keep you entertained for days. And if you're just starting out, you'll find easy trails and group lessons at nearby Dollar Mountain.

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Sawtooth National Recreation Area
    View all Photos
    #2 in Sun Valley
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Comprising 756,000 acres and 40 peaks rising more than 10,000 feet, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is as breathtaking as it gets when it comes to nature in the Northwest. More than 700 miles of trails snake through this massive wilderness in central Idaho, which provides ample viewpoints and campgrounds. Outdoor enthusiasts can do it all here, including hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating, biking and rafting.

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Hiking and Mountain Biking
    View all Photos
    #3 in Sun Valley
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is the most well-known wilderness area near Ketchum, there are multiple trails of varying difficulty in the immediate vicinity of town. If you're looking for a great workout, try the 5.3-mile Bald Mountain Trail, which winds up Bald Mountain with multiple switchbacks and rewards you handsomely at the top with panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside. This trail is accessible in the summer from the bottom of the mountain, and bikers can take lifts up via the Sun Valley ski resort to enjoy downhill rides on car-free paths.   

    ...Read More »
  • #4
     Sun Valley Museum of History
    View all Photos
    #4 in Sun Valley
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A remodeling of the former Ski and Heritage Museum, the Sun Valley Museum of History highlights the unique legacy and culture of the Ketchum and Sun Valley area. The museum's exhibitions inform visitors about the history of Ketchum, from its original founding as a mining and ranching hub to its development as a world-class skiing and tourism destination. Recent reviewers especially appreciated the displays of antique ski apparel and equipment, and they complimented the knowledgeable museum curator. Plus, there is a special exhibit specifically about the life and death of famed writer and Ketchum resident Ernest Hemingway.

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Sawtooth Botanical Garden
    View all Photos
    #5 in Sun Valley
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A showcase of natural beauty and high-altitude plants, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden is a must-stop for any plant lover or gardener. The 5-acre garden showcases both native and cultivated plants that represent the five biomes of south-central Idaho. What's more, there are art installations and educational exhibits interspersed among the plants. The crown jewel of the garden, though, is the interactive Tibetan prayer wheel in the center of the Garden of Infinite Passion. Featuring a handmade, free-spinning wheel imported from India, the exhibit contains about one million hand-printed prayers on individual pieces of paper. Visitors can spin the wheel themselves and learn about Tibetan traditions of meditation and religion. 

    ...Read More »
  • Ketchum Cemetery
    View all Photos
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Easley Hot Springs
    View all Photos
    Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Sun Valley

Recommended

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019

15 Epic Outdoor Adventures to Enjoy Across America

Plan an unforgettable trip in your own backyard or on the opposite coast.

Will WalkeyMarch 12, 2019

The 30 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Explore the globe in search of these intriguing historic sights.

Gwen PratesiMarch 11, 2019

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2019

U.S. News ranked 3,877 top properties for 2019. Check out the 50 best.

Zach WatsonFebruary 5, 2019

30 Hot New Hotels to Check Out in 2019

See which new properties offer surprising and fun features.

Lyn MettlerFebruary 5, 2019

10 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the USA

Go all-in for these luxe resorts flush with amenities.

Will WalkeyFebruary 5, 2019

The Caribbean Comeback: 12 New and Renovated Caribbean Hotels to Visit

These island properties are sure to impress travelers.

Erin ShieldsFebruary 5, 2019

17 Amazing Kid-Friendly Hotels

Discover which properties offer ample amenities for children.

Christine SmithFebruary 5, 2019