Have the trails seemed busier? Are you looking to get away from the crowds? Maybe you want to spice things up and explore new territory. While hiking, mountain biking, and camping are all extremely popular activities we have some less trafficked destinations that are hiding right under your nose as well as some other activities to check out. We’ve compiled 5 ways to avoid the crowds in Sun Valley. Your perfect Idaho summer vacation starts here.
Hike Dollar Mountain
This winter center piece is often forgotten during the summer months and is great if you don’t like traffic on the trails. It’s central location in the valley offers up some great views as well as a different perspective on the area especially during sunset. From the parking lot at the base, head up a gravel road that crosses under Half-Dollar lift. After a bit this road will stop climbing and you can either climb up the more aggressive Dragon’s Back ridge or a more mellow route traversing east towards and up Sepp’s Bowl. There are trails crisscrossing all over Dollar which creates the possibility to hike a different route each time.
Disc-Golf Out Warm Springs
Arguably the rowdiest of disc golf courses in the west, this old 9-hole golf course turned 18-hole disc-golf course has got to be seen to be believed. Sharing the old fairways with a frequented dog park the course starts off with some challenging holes along the creek. As you progress through the course you move further away from the dogs and into greener grass shaded by large pines. Although most courses use chain nets and baskets as official holes, this disc golf course uses cut up old water barrels, spray painted kegs, and other home brewed creations to mark its holes. Be sure to take a picture of the course map at hole #1 cause it is easy to get lost on this course.
Camping is more and more popular every year making it more and more tricky to secure a spot in nature. There are great campgrounds surrounding Sun Valley and calling the SNRA to reserve a spot is highly recommended. But if you are going with the flow on your cross country road trip or looking for some exploring, start off with Deer Creek and Warm Springs.
Deer Creek canyon, halfway between Hailey and Ketchum, has two campgrounds and plenty of dispersed camping sprinkled along it. It also has great mountain biking for those of you how prefer to ride right from camp. Its location close to both towns is super convenient, but is also a total get away from the crowds and cell reception.
Beyond the base area and ski lodge, and just past the neighborhoods lies Warm Springs Canyon. With two campgrounds and tons of dispersed camping spots this canyon makes for a great start to exploring for your next favorite camp. Gravel riders find a haven on the main road while plenty of mountain biking trails split off as well. This road is usually in great condition and continues over a high mountain pass to even more adventures.
Mountain Bike Oregon Gulch
Oregon Gulch is the northern section of a trail network that extends north of town. Just a far enough drive to avoid most of the crowding, yet still close enough to town for a before work wake up or a sunset rip, this trail has it all. The BCRD Summer Trail Link has great details on Oregon Gulch as well as others to explore this summer.
The Bike Path
What might seem a simple bike path holds many hidden discoveries and serves as a recreational artery to a wider variety of exploration. “The Wood River Trail (WRT) is a 20+ mile paved, multi-use, year-round path that provides a non-motorized connection between the Wood River Valley communities of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. The WRT, known to locals as “the bike path,” connect users with history and the outdoors through running, biking, walking, and skiing along the trail. The abandoned Sun Valley line of the Union Pacific railroad was identified by a local group of citizens as the perfect location for a “rails-to-trails” conversion. On behalf of the community, the BCRD began construction of the trail in 1984 and completed it in 1991.” –BCRD
Remember while you’re out there to be respectful of others and to take care of our beautiful area and practice Mindfulness in the Mountains.