Things to Do in Sun Valley Idaho: Outdoor Adventures Year-Round

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Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley, Idaho. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Sun Valley is notably recognized as the country’s first destination ski resort. But while Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort is a popular winter destination, there are many exciting things to do in Sun Valley year-round.

Its location in the Wood River Valley in central Idaho provides opportunities for horseback riding, ice skating, boating, soaking in hot springs and many other outdoor activities.  Plus, you’ll find shopping, dining and seasonal events in the nearby small town of Ketchum. So, no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find an array of fun things to do in Sun Valley, Idaho.

1. Discover Sun Valley Village

Sun Valley Village is the springboard for year-round outdoor activities from skiing and snowmobiling to hiking and biking. In winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Bald Mountain and nearby Dollar Mountain (ideal for beginners).

And then, once the snow melts, you can hit the trails on mountain bikes or by hiking and horseback riding. Numerous other trails start from surrounding areas like Fox Creek and Trail Creek.

In addition, the village is home to the Sun Valley Inn and historic Sun Valley Lodge, which has a year-round bowling alley. Both resorts offer easy access to many outdoor activities.

2. Ride a Gondola

For a relaxing activity and lunch with a view, ride the gondola on Bald Mountain. Located at the base of River Run, the gondola offers mountain views and easy access to the Roundhouse restaurant, known for its fondue. Situated at 7,700 feet elevation, the iconic Roundhouse has been a popular lunch spot since 1939.

3. Splash Around Sun Valley Lake

Just a stone’s throw from Sun Valley Village, you can go boating, fishing and swimming in the 550-acre Sun Valley Lake. Kayak and paddle boat rentals are available.

4. Hike on Bald Mountain Trail

The 3.5-mile moderately easy trail opens up to views of the valley, Ketchum and the Wood River. The best times to hike this trail are May through October. But there are many more hiking trails in the Sun Valley area.

5. Tee Off at Sun Valley Resort’s Golf Courses

Book your tee times at Sun Valley Resort’s golf courses. Among the resort’s courses is the signature 18-hole Trail Creek champion golf course that spans 6,968 yards. The traditional alpine course crosses the Trail Creek seven times. There’s also the nine-hole White Clouds golf course, which has panoramic views of mountains and the home of Ernest Hemingway.

6. Go Mountain Biking on Bald Mountain

Biking is one of the best outdoor activities in Sun Valley Idaho. For a family-friendly bike ride, pedal along the White Clouds trail network or along the Wood River Trail. Meanwhile, thrill seekers can challenge themselves on Bald Mountain’s 400-plus miles of single track trails.

7. Try Fly Fishing

Whether you’re a beginner or expert angler, fly fishing is among the many fun things to do in Sun Valley Idaho. In fact, the Sun Valley area has five locations where you can cast a line for trout fishing. Big Wood River is the closest river, where rainbow trout average 12 – 14 inches.

8. Visit Sawtooth Botanical Garden

Located in Ketchum, the five-acre Sawtooth Botanical Garden is a non-profit entity that showcases native and cultivated plants. Learn about the gardens as you stroll by streams and works of art. Be sure to stop by the Garden of Infinite Compassion, which was created to honor the visit of the Dalai Lama to the Wood River Valley in 2005. The botanical garden is open year-round.

9. Take a Spin on the Ice Skating Rink

Ice skating is a popular activity in Sun Valley Idaho. In fact, there are two ice skating rinks in town. The outdoor ice rink is open year-round and is the home of the Sun Valley Ice Shows, which feature medal-winning skaters. The second rink is indoors and home to the Sun Valley Figure Skating School and open hockey. To watch ice hockey, check out the schedule for the Sun Valley Suns.

10. Saddle up for Horseback Riding

Easily accessible from both Sun Valley Resort and Ketchum, Sun Valley Stables offers guided horseback riding on Dollar Mountain. In addition, it offers group wagon rides and sleigh rides.

11. Take a Stroll in Downtown Ketchum

For a more leisurely activity, take a stroll through Ketchum. Besides shops and restaurants, the  walkable small town has a ski museum, art galleries and ZENERGY, a health club and spa. There’s also the free Ketchum Arts Festival, featuring live music, local arts, food and drinks that takes place each July.

Find Places to Stay Near Sun Valley Idaho

There are several options for hotel stays near Sun Valley, including vacation rentals. Use this interactive map to help you find a place to stay in the area.


Native Angeleno and seasoned travel journalist Mimi Slawoff writes for numerous print and digital publications. She is also the author of Oldest Los Angeles (Reedy Press, 2022). A lifelong world traveler, Mimi is an award-winning journalist who writes about outdoor adventures, cruises, Europe and cultural activities. Mimi has three grown kids and lives with her husband and their dog, Maya, in Los Angeles.
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