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Sun Valley: Endless Options for Every Idaho Road Trip

After spending the last three summers backpacking in the Sawtooth Range, I was keen to explore the trails and dispersed camping in Sun Valley, which tend to fly under the radar. While I usually set my schedule in stone, this year I’ve been modifying it weekly as I adjust to the new normal with road tripping. With a wealth of options (plus a commitment to the safety of tourists and locals alike), Sun Valley has something for every traveler, budget and schedule — even those subject to change. Without further ado, here are some ideas and suggestions for an amazing Idaho fall road trip to Sun Valley. Where to Hike From the jagged peaks in the background to the catchy phrase painted on the roof, it’s easy to see why Pioneer Cabin is one of the more popular hikes in Sun Valley. With four different routes to the cabin, overcrowding on the trail is not an issue, thus making it a very appealing day hike. Hikers can access the cabin via the Pioneer Cabin Trail (8 miles roundtrip, 2,570 feet of gain), Long Gulch (9 miles roundtrip, 3,000 feet of gain), Johnstone Creek (12 miles roundtrip, 3,000 feet of gain) and …

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24hrs with a Local

24 hours with a Local: Hemingway Steam School Teacher Ross Parsons

Life has come full circle for Ross Parsons, a teacher at Hemingway Steam School, where he himself went to elementary school. The school expanded to pre-k through 8th grade in 2017, which was Ross’s first year teaching back at his alma mater. Before returning to the Valley and becoming a teacher, Ross worked as a field instructor at the McCall Outdoor Science School, ski patrolled at Snowbasin in Utah, and was a U.S. Forest Service/BLM River Ranger on the Salmon, Rogue, Owyhee, and Bruneau Rivers. He now teaches 6th grade science, 7th grade math, and 8th grade advisory, and works a second job as a ski patroller in the winters (taking after his father, Ron Parsons, a ski patroller since 1979). Ross’s wife, Mya, is a fellow teacher at Hemingway (5th grade). The two met through Mya’s brother, Ross’s best friend in college, and after dating long-distance between Ketchum and Breckenridge, Ross convinced her to move here. “You gotta import the good ones,” he says of his wife, describing her as his “best friend on the planet.” The two live on Warm Springs out Board Ranch, just past Penny Lake, with their eight-month-olds twins, Redd and Maeve (the birth of …

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Bucket List, Fall

How to Fall in Love with Fall in Sun Valley: A Bucket List

This is your guide for how to Fall in Love with Fall in Sun Valley, Idaho. From hiking to leaf peeping see why this is the best kept secret season.

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Arts & Culture, Fall

What Not to Miss at the 27th Annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Aside from the brilliant transitioning leaves, The Trailing of the Sheep Festival is the highlight of Sun Valley’s fall season. Celebrating sheep and sheep herding traditions, Trailing of the Sheep offers a unique glimpse in to a part of Idaho’s past. Five days of dancing, music, wool classes, lamb dinners, sheep dog trials, and the famous Big Sheep Parade will tantalize the spectrum of senses.

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24hrs with a Local, Fall

24hrs with a Local: Miles to Go Fitness’ Miles Fink-Debray, November

Ski season is almost upon us which means it’s the perfect time to start leveling up your training! And when it comes to training for ski season, Miles Fink-Debray is your man. The elite athlete has worked with high-level trainers and athletes in multiple sports for his whole life. He has taken that experience and directed it into his own training gym, Miles to Go. When he’s not training clients at the gym of the portable van gym that makes house calls, he’s practicing what he preaches by participating (and often winning) local events like the Baldy Hill Climb or Suffer Fest, the “World’s Toughest 10K” which he created. He’s also in the top 75 world rank in skiing, an amateur national mountain bike champ, and 2012 Sun Valley Athlete of the Year. Before the intensity of the ski season begins, Miles walks us through an ideal 24hrs in Sun Valley fall day. How does your perfect fall day start? Miles: I work and workout all week, so Saturdays are designated for me. I love having the access to the outdoor right out my doorstep in Warm Springs to mountain bike, hike, run, and skate ski. I start by making …

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Innovation, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Sun Valley Bronze

When it comes to locally made hardware in the Wood River Valley, Sun Valley Bronze has you covered. This long-standing institution in the valley is an inspiration. Get to know them in this edition of, “What We’re Made Of.” Sun Valley Bronze What has now become a 30-plus-year institution in the Wood River Valley once had very humble beginnings, with founder Bob Commons starting Sun Valley Bronze (SVB) in his garage. Back in 1992, Bob was working in construction, building the high-end homes so ubiquitous in the area, while his wife, Debbie, drafted architectural plans. Frustrated by the lack of luxury hardware available for the jobs he was working on, and with 15 years of thoughts of starting his own business, Bob began experimenting with the casting process using old foundry equipment he purchased from the local high school shop department. Since then, the company has evolved into an internationally sold brand used by some of the top architects and designers in the world. What was once created in a garage is now operated out of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that utilizes robotics, CNC machines for patterning and machining, and 3D printing for prototyping. The luxury architectural hardware created by …

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24hrs with a Local

24 hours with a Local: ERC Executive Director and County Commissioner Lindsay Mollineaux

A native of the Wood River Valley, Lindsay Mollineaux felt like many do when leaving their hometown—that they can’t get out of there fast enough. But after working for the International Monetary Fund, the Federal Reserve, and then as Deputy Chief Analytics Officer for the City of New York, she realized that she missed the mountains. In the fall of 2016, she came back to Sun Valley with the plan to ski and only be back for a year when she realized how much she enjoyed being back in her hometown. After working for the City of Ketchum and Kraay’s Market and Garden, the Executive Director position at the Environmental Resource Center (ERC) opened up. Though Lindsay says she “knew nothing about the environment,” the econ major with experience in operations and finance took the job and three years later is now an expert environmentalist. Lindsay Mollineaux also became county commissioner two months ago when the position was vacated by the late Dick Fosbury. In between working part-time for the ERC and part-time as commissioner, Lindsay lives in Picabo with her father and two cats, Kukla and Fran (named after the 1950’s sitcom Kukla, Fran and Ollie) and enjoys knitting, …

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Dining, Wellness

Eat Local! In Sun Valley, Idaho

There’s no end to the variety of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries in the Sun Valley area and greater Wood River Valley, and complementing those eats are a bounty of fresh, locally grown ingredients as well as homemade creations from area bakers and cooks. Whether you’d like to enjoy a meal completely cooked from scratch while you dine out or simply want to pick up locally made cooks to enjoy at home or on the road, Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Hailey are home to many spots to eat local made and sourced food. Restaurants So many restaurants within the Wood River Valley make many of their ingredients from scratch, source locally grown food, or buy already made products from local producers. It would take up this whole blog entry to go into each in depth, but here’s just a selection of the best spots to eat local goods. In Hailey, try dinner spot CK’s for globally inspired farm-to-table cuisine made with sustainable ingredients and lots of Idaho suppliers. Also in Hailey is high-end bike shop and pub the Powerhouse, which offers a selection of burgers, tacos, salads, and fries made with house-made, locally sourced ingredients. Ketchum dinner restaurant The Covey makes …

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24hrs with a Local, Wellness

24 Hours With Local Amy Mattias

Practically everything that Amy Mattias does, from her job to her hobbies, revolves around locally grown food. The newly appointed Executive Director for the non-profit Sun Valley Institute for Resilience has been with the organization for five years and before that worked for Nourish Me, Lava Lake Lamb, Idaho’s Bounty, the Wood River Sustainability Center, and Kray’s Market. As the ED of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, Mattias manages three programs that the institute is the overarching body of: the Impact Idaho Fund, which invests in locally rooted ideas and entrepreneurs; the Local Food Alliance, which raises awareness of the local food system and puts out the Wood River Valley Locally Grown Guide, which lists all the farms, ranchers, restaurants, retail stores, and farmers’ markets that source local food; and 5B Resilient, a program about empowering everyday climate action at the individual and household level. Amy Mattias has lived in the Valley for almost ten years, the last two of which have been spent in her new home in the Bellevue Triangle, where she lives with her husband and born-and-raised local Chris Mattias, their dogs Susie B and Ripper, and eight hens and one rooster. Their property has lots …

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Innovation, Skiing & Snowboarding, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Reflex Ski Poles

The epic skiing and snowboarding available in the Sun Valley area has inspired entrepreneurs in the area for decades, from the founding of Scott USA in 1958 to Smith Optics in 1965 to more modern brands like Wolf Ski, 5B Ski Factory, Mountain Approach, and Research Design Skis. Originally founded in 1979, Reflex Ski Poles has had a resurgence after the brand was reborn in 2020, helping to fill the void left by so many of these iconic Sun Valley brands either leaving the area or shutting down altogether. Reflex has taken the passion of the rowdy, local ski community and channeled it into making the best ski pole in the industry, in what they refer to as “the OG ski town for OG skiers.” The Beginning: 1979 The origins of Reflex lie in another Sun Valley-based company, Scott USA. It’s no surprise that Gus Verge, a Scott USA employee in charge of pole manufacturing, would find himself thinking about how to improve the ski pole. Though Scott USA founder Ed Scott invented the first aluminum ski pole and vastly changed the market, Verge saw a hole in the market for a ski pole that performed better and outlasted all others. He promptly left Scott and along with friends and …