A Weekend in Sun Valley/Ketchum

A few weeks ago I told you about our time in Boise. Now it’s time to tell you about Ketchum and Sun Valley, Idaho. I’ll be honest – when planning this trip, I didn’t have that high of expectations. I’ve traveled to so many beautiful places in the world I knew Idaho would be pretty, but I doubt it it would wow me. I was wrong.

The gorgeous scenery.
Idaho is a stunner!

All the online guides and recommendations say to take the road through Stanley from Boise to Ketchum. It adds about an hour to the drive, but we figured there would be some nice scenic spots to see along the way. A lady we spoke with at the football stadium in Boise also recommended stopping in Idaho City. So we set out on the next part of our adventure. Our GPS, OK my phone‘s GPS, sent us on the wrong road so we had to go on a back road over a mountain. It took forever and probably added another hour to the trip. Along the way, we saw lots of campers and a few hunters. But the scenery we encountered was beautiful. The golden hues on the trees and grass really put me into the autumn spirit. We stopped a few times for photos.

Gorgeous Idaho scenery.

Soon, we arrived in Idaho City. This was apparently Idaho’s largest city at one time but also burned down several times. It was an old mining town. Cool to see, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for it.

Historic Idaho City.

So we continued on the road and arrived and Lowman. Now this is where the stunning scenery begins. There’s a picturesque river and it’s so peaceful. I could have sat there gazing at the mountains and river all day. Alas, we needed to get going. We passed many more scenic spots and stopped for photos. Then, we drove through Stanley. It’s a small town of like 65 people. We quickly drove through and stopped just outside of town at a scenic view along the river where we watched the cows meander. I was smitten. Gosh Idaho is gorgeous! Who knew?!

We continue to drive, enjoyed more scenic stops, especially seeing snow on the mountains, and then came into Ketchum where the golden yellow and orange foliage welcomed us. I was immediately charmed.

Charming downtown Ketchum.

We stayed in a condo we found on Vacasa in the Warm Springs area. We had a nice view of the mountains and everything we needed. Unfortunately, nothing restaurant wise was within walking distance so we drove into downtown Ketchum. What a cute little town. I was immediately drawn to the red maple tree and pumpkins. The cool breeze didn’t hurt either. We walked around town, but there were big crowds doing the dine around event for the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. So we ended up popping down a flight of stairs and dining at the Cellar Pub. The chicken tenders were solid and it was a cozy little establishment. After dinner, we stopped by Atkinsons Market for a turban cake and some wine.

On Saturday, we had initially planned to drive to Twin Falls, but we had such limited time in the area we decided to stay put. We headed over to the Sun Valley Resort to grab breakfast. I had always wanted to visit after seeing the resort featured in ice-skating magazines when I was younger. It was gorgeous. We grabbed a bite from the Austrian bakery Konditorei. I had a red velvet brownie with cream cheese frosting. It was so decadent. Chris had some fluffy pastry. OMG I highly recommend.

The Sun Valley Lodge.
These pastries were delicious!!

We wandered around the resort seeing the opera house (movie theater) and an outdoor ice rink. I want to come back in the summer for adults skating camp. I would have love to have skated, but was recovering from a broken arm.

Sawtooth Botanical Garden.
Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

From there, we went to downtown Ketchum. We stopped in a few of the stores before heading to Hailey. We picked up some wraps from Albertson’s to have a picnic and went to a little hiking area. Great scenery though it seems to be more for mountain bikers then for hikers. We also drove through downtown Hailey and popped into the Sawtooth Botanical Garden to look around.A nice little hike.

A nice little hike.

Then, we went to another hiking area near Ketchum. It started to get cold so we decided to head back into town, but first we wanted to stop at the Ketchum Cemetery to see Ernest Hemingway’s grave. Yes, Ernest Hemingway is buried in the Sun Valley area. I wasn’t expecting all the booze bottles on his grave though.

Ernest Hemingway’s grave,

We had dinner at an Italian place called Rico’s. The caprese bread was wonderful and the service was very friendly. At one point, I looked out the window and it was snowing. Could it get any better?!

A delicious appetizer at Rico’s.

And on Sunday, it was the day – the big event of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival – The part where 1500 sheep run through downtown Ketchum. What a spectacle! We got there early to stand for a spot to view the parade. We have the perfect spot right across from the Pioneer Saloon. The little town was bustling. The parade featured many covered wagons, dancers from Peru, the Basque dancers as well as Scottish bagpipers and highland dancers. But seeing the wools run in town was amazing. The dogs herded them so they wouldn’t get out of hand. They raced by and the crowd had big smiles on their faces. But it went by so quickly. I absolutely loved it. Well worth the journey here. After the parade, the announcer warned people not to cross Main Street just yet as the sheep left some little gifts.

1500 sheep running down Main Street!1500 sheep running down Main Street!

From there, we spent the remainder of the day walking around a dog park and disc golf area. This place was stunning and the weather was perfect. We also drove through Sawtooth National Forest and saw a Hot Spring.

This was at a dog park. Lucky dogs!

When it was time to catch our flight back and make the trip to Boise, I was sad. Idaho was really charming and I can’t wait to go back.

Some travel notes:

  • Sun Valley has an airport but we wanted to see Boise. If the price and connections work out, I would use the Sun Valley Airport in the future.
  • We dined at the Cellar Pub twice and Rico’s. Pioneer Saloon is supposed to be amazing, but they have long waits. I would have liked to of tried a few other places around town but we didn’t have enough time. Next time for sure.
  • I bet Sun Valley is great in winter for skiing and looks amazing in summer. October is off-season, but still very enjoyable with fall colors and crisp, cool air.
  • The prices were what I expected for a resort town. They weren’t too terribly expensive, but it isn’t a bargain destination either. Many of the amazing outdoor activities are free though.

Learn more from the Visit Idaho.

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