Sure, Sun Valley is known for offering all kinds of heart-pounding and memorable things to do in the winter but sometimes it’s nice to have fun that’s a little more mellow than bombing down a mountain, gliding across the Nordic trails or trying to coax fish out of icy water.
Sometimes it’s nice to just go for a walk in this winter wonderland. That’s why we’re offering up a handful of fabulous winter walks for when you want to enjoy the quietly magical places Sun Valley is home to. All these walks are perfect for most well-bundled folks wearing good shoes, from toddlers to seniors. These walks are all dog-friendly too, so please bring a leash and something to pick up after your pooch.
And don’t worry, all of these walks qualify you for Sun Valley’s other winter joy—the après drinking and dining options!
Known for being home to some of the best Nordic skiing in the nation, Galena Lodge is also a popular spot for snowshoeing or simply going for a walk on the well-groomed trails. Besides great views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains, Galena Lodge is also beloved for it’s fabulous food and charming, log cabin-vibe. Whether you want to walk, snowshoe, Nordic ski or just enjoy some hot cocoa or a cold beer, Galena Lodge has everything your family needs for some low-key winter fun.
Useful Info: 23 miles north of Sun Valley, Galena Lodge has a parking lot and is also serviced by Mountain Rides.
Sellgren Trail | Sun Valley
This little gem of a trail follows the rolling ridge line along the White Clouds Golf Course in Sun Valley. The trail includes a bench that offers a sweet view of Bald Mountain. While the Sellgren Trail isn’t groomed in any way, it gets enough foot and paw traffic during most winter months to make it a rather easy and pretty place to take a stroll. It also gets lots of sunlight and can be one of the first spots to melt off each spring. This winter walk may be best for younger or more active participants.
Useful Info: The trail can be accessed from Saddle Road, across from the “Sledding Hill,” and a short stroll from the Sun Valley Resort. There is also access behind the Big Wood Golf Course on Telemark Road.
The Wood River Trail | Ketchum to Hailey
One of the best benefits in Sun Valley is the more than 20 miles of paved bike path in the summer and groomed Nordic skiing trail in the Winter. The well-groomed “Bike Path” is popular with walkers year-round. In the winter months, it’s important to not walk in the parallel classic cross-country tracks and to yield to skate skiers or fat bike riders who may pass by.
The stretch that leads out past Sun Valley Lodge to Trail Creek Road dead ends in the winter months and the road itself is one of the best spots for winter walks. Offering roadside parking and great views, it is an especially popular spot with dog walkers.
Useful Info: Fat Bikes have become a very popular way to enjoy the Wood River Trail in the winter. Numerous local sporting good shops rent the bikes and all the gear you need to enjoy a winter bike ride.
Draper Wood River Preserve | Hailey
Beloved for it’s iconic Bow Bridge, the Draper Wood River Preserve offers short walks along and across the Big Wood River. Draper is one of the best spots in the Valley to see wintering big game like moose, elk and deer, which often spend the snowy months around the preserve. Draper is also known as a winter home for Great Horned owls.
Useful Info: The best winter access for the wooded trail is to follow Bullion Street in Hailey west and then take your first left after crossing the river. There is a large parking lot immediately accessible and then a smaller one closer to the trailhead by a small pavilion. The iconic Bow Bridge is usually cleared of snow and makes for an idyllic photo op. It also a popular spot for winter fly fishers.
Howard Preserve | Bellevue
Hidden just behind Bellevue’s small downtown, the Howard Preserve offers a variety of trails that meander along the Big Wood River. Long ago used as the town dump, the Howard Preserve is a great example of community conservation as the “Dog Park,” as many locals call it, has steadily expanded from just 12 acres when it was first founded by the Wood River Land Trust in 2004 to now preserving over 35 acres of open space.
Useful Info: The best parking in winter can be found on Elm Street or behind Mahoney’s Bar and Grill—a popular spot with local diners and imbibers.
photo: Tory Taglio // Visit Sun Valley
Walk Around Town
If the nature walks don’t entice you, you can always enjoy simply walking around downtown Ketchum or the Sun Valley Village. Thanks to top-notch snow removal, sidewalks in Ketchum and Sun Valley are usually pretty clear and wander past a tasty variety of places to eat, drink, shop, gallery hop and, of course, be merry.
Useful Info: If you have so much fun imbibing and find it’s gotten too dark to walk home, there are a variety of options to help you go carless in Sun Valley.