Places to Visit: Sun Valley Idaho

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Sun Valley Idaho

In 1936 Sun Valley became a major stop on the map as a European style ski resort where tourists come to enjoy powder, sun, and all outdoor activities of its high desert and alpine location. With 3,400 feet of vertical drop on Bald Mountain and endless amounts of snow due to one the largest snow-making systems in the world, it's not surprising that this place became a destination resort for skiers and snow lovers so quickly. Don't worry if you are just learning because Dollar Mountain, just across the valley floor, is a smaller and more relaxed ski hill for beginners.

The area provides much more than the top notch skiing opportunities which make it famous. In the winter visitors enjoy sleigh rides and twirling on a year round ice rink in the Sun Valley village. When the snow melts there are endless trails, particularly the Wood River Trail system which provides 20 miles of paved trail, for horseback riding, biking, skating, or hiking. Swimming, fishing, golfing, paragliding, and tennis playing options are abundant in the valley as well.

Ketchum is an 1880s vintage mining town that lies at the base of the ski area. The actual village of Sun Valley sits about 1 mile further to the east in a quieter setting. If you want to see the town or just stroll you'll find plenty of hip shops, outfitters, restaurants and cafes in the small area that makes up downtown Ketchum.

The calendar year is filled with cultural events and activities. Every Saturday night from June to September enjoy ice show performances by Olympic skaters in Sun Valley village. The summer symphony plays 12 classical concerts during the months of July and August. If you are visiting in September or October don't miss Wagon Days, the longest non-motorized parade in the northwest, or the trailing of the sheep, as hundreds of sheep move down Main Street and head south of town. Christmas is a magical time in Sun Valley where families can participate in making gingerbread houses, caroling, and watching a torchlight parade. No matter what time of year you arrive in Sun Valley, you are guaranteed to find fun for everyone.

From Sun Valley the jagged granite peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains are hard to miss. About 15 miles northwest of Ketchum the Sawtooth National Recreation Area invites you to explore over 250 miles of trail and 300 lakes. More than 40 humbling spires tower above at 10,000 feet. On your way there, stop at the areas headquarters that are just 7 miles north of town for more information on the geology and natural history of the area and to get a map and hiking recommendations.

There is an airport located in Sun Valley that serves frequent flights to major airports like Salt Lake City, UT, Seattle, WA, and Boise, ID. KART, Ketchum Area Rapid Transit, provides free bus service all over Sun Valley. Rental cars are available in the valley but are unnecessary if remaining within Ketchum and Sun Valley. Sun Valley sits 160 miles west of Idaho Falls, 100 miles east of Boise, and 300 miles north of Salt Lake City.

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