Sun Valley, Idaho (Ketchum)

July 5-July 15

We started the day with driving from Jackson, WY to Sun Valley, ID.  First thing, it is beautiful, but don’t let that make you forget you are driving an RV or towing.  After you leave Jackson there is Teton’s pass.  You either have to deal with this pass or go about 50-60 miles out of your way.  Empty your tanks and check your brakes before you start this pass. We have heard of RVers that had their brakes start on fire!  We didn’t have a problem, but we were definitely slow (30 mph).  The drive is beautiful!  After that it is simple.  You go through Idaho Falls, which is pretty empty but easy enough to find a place for lunch.  There isn’t a lot of designated RV parking but there are public parking lots that you can fit into.  As we left Idaho Falls we forgot to get gas and then of course we were like “oh, we’ll be fine.” Famous last words of course.  We didn’t know how windy Idaho can be and there was no warning that the next gas station was 70 miles away in Arco.  Because of the wind we were getting 5 mpg and we ran out of gas!  Luckily we had a small gas tank in the back but it only had about 2 gallons in it.  After driving a little further we decided that we needed to drop our trailer on the side of the road and try to get there without it.  There is barely any shoulder on this road and the wind was out of control. As we pulled into the gas station we were sputtering a little and thankfully when we got back to the trailer, it was still upright!

Okay, back to Sun Valley. When we were first planning our trip, Sun Valley wasn’t even on the list, Idaho wasn’t even on the list. I had no desire or need to check it out. I put most of Idaho in that category.  This adventure was supposed to help us figure out a place to live so we wanted to spend our time in areas that we thought we could settle down in.  Denver, Bend, Eugene, Nashville, etc.  So a ski town/tourist town wasn’t of interest.  I came here with no expectation of how the time would be, except fun with friends that talked us into going.  It flipped my world. I loved it.  The people were incredibly nice, the restaurants were good, the brewery was good, the ability to be outdoors no matter what you preferred to do. We had not been as active anywhere else than Ketchum.

So after finally making it to Ketchum and seeing how cute the town was I was hooked.  I like that the resorts are off to the side and not the center of town.  We were headed to Boundary Campground because we heard that it was in the perfect location to town and to the bike path and it’s only $10/night with no hookups, but spacious spots right along the river.  Of course, they were full and so was the 16 day boondocking and the other 3 day boondocking was infested with flies or spots that were too small.  (Boondocking further on 75 looked awesome, but we didn’t want to be too far from town and we heard there was no cell phone service) The camp host was the sweetest little old lady.  She let us stay in a spot that wasn’t really a spot, but we were so exhausted that we didn’t care.  I was in no mood to search around and then end up 20 miles out of town.  The next day we were able to get the best spot in the park (site 8).  There is no one next to you and there is access to the river. The spots are level, there is a fire pit, a place to put a small grill, a tent area and there is a really nice picnic bench.  It’s a quiet campground and it is maybe 50 meters away from the paved bike path into town.  We took advantage of that as much as possible. To the center of town it is about 3.5 miles past the shot gun range (ridiculously expensive), the lodge, small rolling hills and then past the horse pasture.

There is 100 miles of bike paths and the majority are dog friendly (off leash), hiking paths and mountains to climb.  There were so many options we didn’t know where to start and we missed a lot even though we were there for 10 days.  The great thing about our camp ground, other than the bike path being near to us, some of the great trails start right out of the day use parking lot.  I will go into our hike and bike trips below.

Hiking

We did about 4 different hikes.

Pioneer Cabin Trail – Read our post here: Pioneer Cabin

Adams Gulch – This was an easy 4 mile loop with some great views and a short time along the creek. Free parking, dog friendly and you can definitely make it longer and harder. There is also mountain biking here.  The trail head is just a couple miles north on 75.

Bald Mountain to BLM Lookout – You can park at the lodge and there are tons of hiking options, biking options and you can take the gondola up to the top for a fee.  We did the hike to BLM lookout (3.2 miles round trip) because a lot of the mountain was closed. It was a decent hike up and a beautiful view of Ketchum.  I was able to run back down with the dogs and again it was shaded! This is a busier trail since it’s in town, but worth it!

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Fox Creek Trail – This was a very easy hike along the river.  Perfect for trail running and is dog friendly with plenty of shade.  This is further north on the 75. People were fly fishing along the river here.  You can make this as long or as short as you’d like.

Biking

I am very new to mountain biking, so the easiest of trails looks daunting to me.  I did get out a couple times and only crashed once into a rosemary bush (I despise Rosemary and I guess it gets its revenge here and there). Our friends that were with us loved the biking, so I will take their word for it.  You could road bike miles (~70) both ways out of town and then of course the mountain biking trails all over town. All you have to do is look over your shoulder and there is a trail head.  Kevin got a new mountain bike and took it out and loved the trails because they were smooth for biking. There were definitely rocks and roots here and there but it wasn’t constant.  Some amazing mountain biking trails started at the day use area of our campground (also good for trail running) and you could actually get all the way to Adams Gulch and do the crazy hard climbing there.  Again, all the trails are dog friendly so you can take them with you and tire them out!

Restaurants

The restaurant scene was interesting here.  There were no chains, of course, but there was quite a bit of ethnic food.  We were so happy since we have been missing that since Los Angeles, the only problem is that it was expensive! I couldn’t believe my Peruvian food was almost $10 more per plate here. Forgetting that point though, the food was good!  There was still the hot dog stand, mexican place and breweries, so there was the easy fare.  The pizza joint was good and had a small but fun draft list.

Our favorites were:

A Taste of Thai for lunch. Sawtooth Brewery for a snack. Wiseguy Pizza Pie or Rickshaw for dinner!

Day Trip to Redfish Lake

One of our new good full time friends said that Redfish lake was something we should definitely look into.  It was about an hour away, so we decided to make a day trip of it with our friends Elizabeth and Doug.  I saw pictures of the lake and the beautiful blue waters and thought, it’s just a really nice camera.  What lake could be just as beautiful as Tahoe?  I couldn’t believe the crystal clear waters with the amazing sawtooth mountains in the background.

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We were able to find our own private little area for the day.

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Thanks to our friends I was able to SUP for the first time. I could get hooked (even though I didn’t actually get to my feet).

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The dogs absolutely loved it.

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The drive home was one of the prettiest drives we have done. A short pass and through the woods.

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RV info

There is a lot of boondocking, a couple small parks and 1 RV park.  So there is ample room for everyone.  We were surprised that the park that we stayed at wasn’t always full, even on the weekends!

We didn’t find a dump station water in Ketchum but there was something in Hailey, but we didn’t go to and we didn’t check with the RV park either.

We were told that if you go after hours to the shooting range on Sun Valley road that they have potable water spout.  You pull up to the main building and it’s to the right of the flag pole.  We carry 2 – 6 gallon jugs and so that was an easy fill.

We went to every grocery store in Ketchum and Hailey and none of them had drinking water refills, so we were buying water.

Atkinsons was our favorite grocery store in town. Cute, good product and close to the bike path. The people in the back were nice enough to fill our drinking water with their faucet in the back, so if you ask nicely they may do it once or twice for you! Again, the people in this town were really nice.

***

I really fell in love with this town.  I had no expectations other than thinking it was just going to be another Park City, Vail, etc.  It had such a different feel and I loved how dog friendly and bike friendly the town was.  Being able to bike to town was incredible.  It was hard to not be active in this town because EVERYONE was. It was such a good feeling. I would have moved here, but Kevin wasn’t as hooked, so we go on. We will be back….

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