10 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Sun Valley, Idaho
Words & Photos: Sara Sheehy
Hike Up, Hitch a Ride Down: Locals know there is a fountain of youth in Sun Valley, and it’s hidden on the daily pilgrimage up Bald Mountain. Hikers of all ages climb to the summit via the Bald Mountain Trail then hitch a free ride down on the Christmas Chairlift and Roundhouse Gondola. If you get hungry on your trek, swing by the Roundhouse for lunch. >>More: Hiking Trails in Sun Valley
Hone Your Throwing Arm: Disc golf is a mix of frisbee and golf, and can be enjoyed for free at the Ketchum Disc Golf Course and Keefer Park in Hailey. Bring your own discs, then try your best to hole out in less shots than your friends. Dogs are welcome at both courses.
See Art, Sip Wine: Fine art and wine come together at the free monthly gallery walk hosted by the Sun Valley Gallery Association. Sip a glass of chardonnay while admiring works by some of the country’s most talented artists. Grab a map so you don’t miss a single stop.
Dance the Night Away: Free music is on tap almost every night of the week in Sun Valley. Pack a picnic dinner, a bottle of wine, and a blanket for Ketchum’s Ketch’em Alive on Tuesday night and Jazz in the Park on Sunday night. Enjoy free music at the Wicked Spud in Hailey on Wednesday night, and Mahoney’s in Bellevue on Thursday night. Check out a full list of music events, including the free Summer Symphony, on our calendar.
Practice Yoga in the Mountains: Enjoy free yoga every Saturday morning on the lawn at River Run. Sunrise Flow starts at 8:45AM and Gentle Yoga, suitable for all ages and abilities, starts at 10:00AM. Be warned: it’s hard to hold a tree pose while taking in the incredible mountain views.
Catch a Lesson in Casting: The rivers and creeks around Sun Valley are a fly fisher’s dream. Learn the basics of fly casting with free lessons from Silver Creek Outfitters every Tuesday through Saturday at 5:30PM on the lawn at the Sun Valley Inn. No experience required except a sense of humor for when you catch the tree behind you. Come as you are – all equipment is provided.
(photo: Greg Randolph)
Cool Off in Rivers and Parks: Don’t be fooled by Sun Valley’s annual snowfall stats, our summers pack some serious heat. Keep it cool with a dip in the Big Wood River. Favored swimming holes include the hospital bridge in Ketchum (accessible via the bike path) and the entrance to Colorado Gulch in Hailey. For family fun with young ones, check out the free splash pads at Memory Park in downtown Ketchum and Jimmy’s Garden in Hailey. >>More: Guide to Sun Valley’s Swimming Spots
(photo: Tal Roberts)
Make a Furry Friend: It’s a dog’s life in Sun Valley. Between the endless miles of hiking, swimming and dog friendly events, your pooch has never had it so good. Don’t have a dog? Join the Animal Center of the Wood River Valley at Adams Gulch on Wednesdays from 9:00AM-3:30PM for Hikin’ Buddies. Bring the family and take a dog out for a romp through the canyon.
Feed Your Brain: Interact with engaging speakers year-round at the Community Library’s free series of lectures and discussions. Topics range from climbing the seven summits to the Civil War. Call ahead to reserve a seat if you want a guaranteed spot in the main lecture room. For those interested in local history, hop on the free Sun Valley Story Tour every Friday. Find out where Hemingway dined with his wife for the last time, the location of Union Pacific Railway Terminal, and more.
Hit the Putting Green: Enjoy epic views of Bald Mountain while playing a round at Sun Valley’s 18 hole Sawtooth Putting Course. Scoring a par on the putting course will make you feel like a serious – though not too serious – golfer. Grab a cocktail at the Sun Valley Club to sip as you play. Cost is $8 per adult and $4 per child under 12. Putters and balls provided.
Have your own favorite free and cheap things to do in Sun Valley? We want to hear them. Leave us a comment and let us know!