The Dirt is Going to Fly

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

If you see more smiling, dirt-spattered people in town than usual this week, it’s for good reason. Ride Sun Valley returns to local trails beginning June 26 and dips, plummets and races its way the grand finale event on July 5. This festival celebrates singletrack and all pursuits on two wheels. It is an ode to one of the activities that makes the area so amazing and is the perfect start to the holiday weekend.

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture.

Though many rides and races cater to accomplished, competitive mountain bike athletes, there is definitely something for everyone during Ride Sun Valley. Amateurs, enthusiasts and spectators alike are all part of the action.

Riders who may not qualify for the US Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals (most mere mortals!), scheduled for July 5, have many other options for getting involved. One great way is by riding some trails with local experts. Free, guided rides on fantastic singletrack are being offered throughout the weekend all around the area. Organizers of Ride Sun Valley call it one of the best ways to get your stoke on!

Rides leave from the Sun Valley/Ketchum Visitors Center, located at the corner of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue (adjacent to Town Square) at 8:30 a.m. on June 28 and 29. The format is first-come, first-ride and participants should bring food, water and spare/repair equipment. Space is limited so try not to be on Ketchum time! The rides are appropriate for visitors and locals alike and will be led by people who know all the best singletrack secrets.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Shuttle rides and bike transportation are provided to remote trail head start locations on both days.

The first ride is at Fox Creek which boasts not only great singletrack, but some of the most gorgeous wildflowers in the area. The ride lasts two hours and encompasses four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack, climbing 700 feet. The technical level is moderate and difficulty is medium.

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

A longer ride also goes out that day and lasts 4 – 5 hours covering 21 miles (mostly singletrack) and a 2100-foot elevation gain. This gorgeous ride takes you to Fox Peak and ends up back at the Expo.

Sunday also offers two rides, one out Corral Creek and one on Red Warrior to Greenhorn Gulch. The first is a one-and-a-half-hour ride that covers four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack. It is rated easy on the technical scale and climbs 340 feet.

The second ride lasts about three hours and stretches over 11 miles of glorious singletrack. Elevation gain is 1500 feet and shuttles take you to and from Ketchum.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

For a full schedule of events (and it’s long!), please click HERE.

Mountain biking is one of the most wonderful things about Sun Valley. Be sure to get out there on the trails yourself and cheer on the pros bringing their talents and enthusiasm to our hills.

It’s bike season!

–RES

It’s Autumn! Get Out and Hike

You don't need to go far from town to enjoy a fall hike complete with golden aspens

You don't need to go far from town to enjoy a fall hike complete with golden aspens

Ah, September in Sun Valley: Cool mornings and evenings; warm sunny days; the always-evolving alchemy of aspen leaves as they turn bright gold. Though each season here certainly has its merits, there is something truly spectacular about autumn.

And with the children back in school, the booked-to-the-minute fun of Labor Day weekend behind us, it’s time to get out there and take a hike. Though many local trails were temporarily closed in August due to the Beaver Creek Fire, right now, local hiking is at its peak.

The Hemingway Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the author and a gateway to terrific local hikes

The Hemingway Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the author and a gateway to terrific local hikes

Whether you have lived in Sun Valley your entire life or are just visiting for the weekend, a great place to start a September hike is at the Hemingway Memorial just east of the Sun Valley Lodge on Trail Creek Road. The memorial features a likeness of the legendary writer who completed For Whom the Bell Tolls in suite 206 at the Lodge, and is tucked beneath shady trees on the banks of Trail Creek. Stone benches in the shape of a half moon offer a place to sit and reflect on the inscription that reminds Hemingway is laid to rest in the Ketchum Cemetery:

Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever.

From this very unique, and very nearby, trailhead, miles of beautiful single track wend through Proctor Mountain. For the novice, gentle walks lead along the creek and east. Craving more vertical? Numerous trails climb to the saddle of Proctor, offering fantastic views in every direction, including one of the best ones around of Baldy. If you’re up for a challenge, the Ruud Mountain trail cuts steeply right to the more traditional Proctor Mountain trails, leading to, and beyond, one of the first chairlifts in the world.

Bald Mountain in the warmer months offers stunning vistas and great exercise to those on foot

Bald Mountain in the warmer months offers stunning vistas and great exercise to those on foot

Also “in town” are popular hiking and biking trails near the White Clouds golf course across from Sun Valley Resort. Don’t forget Bald Mountain offers a great cardiac workout, terrific views and the possibility of a fabulous lunch to reward you for your efforts. Start at the River Run side of the hill and bear right to the Bald Mountain Trail. This leads, in switchbacks, both to the Roundhouse Restaurant (offering a fabulous barbecue deck lunch through September 8), and all the way to the summit. If you want to channel your inner local, head straight up the Warm Springs or River Run ski runs to the top. It’s an unbeatable workout and who knows, maybe you will want to take the Baldy Hill Climb later this month.

Slightly further afield, but still a very short drive from town, the Adams Gulch trailhead just north of Ketchum provides many trail options for hiking and mountain biking, as do Chocolate Gulch and Fox Creek. To the east, a hike to the historic Pioneer Cabin (there are three different routes up) is one of the most beautiful in the area. In the fall, this very popular hike is more lightly traveled and it is the perfect time to go.

The walk up to Pioneer Cabin is beautiful, but the real pay out is cresting the final ridge

The walk up to Pioneer Cabin is beautiful, but the real payout is cresting the final ridge

For all these hikes, remember, even if the trailhead is right up the street, you are in altitude and the autumn weather can be variable so be prepared. Bring plenty of water and a light rain shell, layers, wear comfortable sturdy shoes, bring a snack or lunch and sunscreen is a must.

For a full list of current trail conditions, please click HERE.

September is the most beautiful hiking month in the Wood River Valley, at least by my account. Take some time for yourself, get out there and hit the trails!

–RES