Sun Valley Ski Resort#1 in Best Things To Do in Sun Valley
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.
But even if you aren't here to downhill ski, you can still have a great time. Cross-country skiers can enjoy more than 25 miles of Nordic trails, and ice skaters will love the outdoor rink. Plus, you can book a sleigh ride with your family or just relax in the lodge with a hot drink. Recent visitors applauded Sun Valley for its fast-moving lift lines and said it's a great family destination thanks to its variety of runs. The ski season generally begins in late November and continues until late April.
Both Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain are easily accessible from town via the free town buses, and there are many restaurants and shops at the base of either ski area. Lift ticket prices vary by season, day and customer age, but adults can expect to pay at least $130 for a one-day ticket during peak season. For a full-day ticket, you'll have access to the lifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can save some money by purchasing your tickets online at least seven days in advance. Plus, deals for children, seniors or groups pop up on Sun Valley's website all the time.
If you visit Ketchum in the summer, you can have fun at the Sun Valley ski resort too. The resort's lifts still run during that time, and downhill mountain bikers can take advantage of that and enjoy 30 miles of car-free rides. And if you want to check out the view without doing the work, you can ride the gondola to the top and enjoy a meal at the Roundhouse Lodge. Bald Mountain blooms with wildflowers in the summer, and it's hard to walk around Ketchum at any season without gawking at the impressive landmark and wanting to go to the top of it at least a few times.
The summer lifts run every day from the end of June through mid-September from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Recent reviewers loved walking around the summit, watching mountain bikers and enjoying the views from more than 9,000 feet. Prices to ride to the top change depending on availability. The gondola departs from the edge of town, and there are restaurant and bathroom facilities both at the bottom and the top of your ride.
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#2 Sawtooth National Recreation Area
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.
If you're visiting Sawtooth for the first time, try the 11.4-mile Redfish Lake to Alpine Lake trail. This journey is unique because it starts with a short boat ride across Redfish Lake (with the help of guides and for a small fee). From there, you'll pass through colorful meadows and impressive rock fields while hopefully catching a glimpse of some local wildlife. Though this is an intermediate hike, there are some steep switchbacks before you make it to Alpine Lake, which sits at more than 8,000 feet and is a nice place to cool off in the summer.
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