Kristen Carrico
October 3, 2019

5 Unique Experiences in and Around Ketchum, Idaho


7 min read


It’s no wonder why celebrities make Ketchum, Idaho and the famous Sun Valley Resort a destination on their vacation lists. Ever since its founding in 1936, Ketchum has become a year-round sports enthusiast wonderland. It welcomes visitors with its breathtaking scenery, stunning mountains and valleys, meadows filled with wildflowers, miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, rivers, streams and creeks abound and are prime with fish.

Getting away from the big city, fast-paced lifestyle is typically the goal here while nestled in the heart of Idaho’s Wood River Valley.

1. Galena Lodge
A magical 23 mile drive north of Ketchum along the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, takes you to the rustic Galena Lodge with Boulder Mountain serving as it’s backdrop. This community owned day-lodge is open in the winter and summer seasons and serves as a home base for hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers. There are miles upon miles of trails to explore and when you get hungry, stop to take a break and experience their lunch menu which features local Idaho beef, Lava Lake lamb, hand crafted veggie burgers, house made soups and bread. If you’re looking to stay the night, a few semi-backcountry yurts are available.

2. The Trailing of the Sheep
The Trailing of the Sheep has been acclaimed as one of the top annual autumn festivals in the United States by, USA Today, and Northwest Travel. Held each year in Ketchum, Idaho for five days in mid-October, the festival strives to commemorate the Wood River Valley’s rich tradition of sheep herding and ranching. It recreates the annual rancher migration of sheep from the region’s mountain pastures into the valley for lambing and winter grazing. Fun, family-friendly events honor the traditions of sheep ranchers, herders, and other area pioneers, including an annual Big Sheep Parade that travels more than 1,500 sheep down Ketchum’s Main Street. Other events include championship sheepdog trials, a wool-working festival, lamb-focused culinary events, and multicultural performances honoring the region’s lineage of Scottish and Basque sheepherders.

3. Scenic Overlook via Bald Mountain Trail
Scenic Overlook via Bald Mountain Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately rated out and back trail located near Ketchum. Featuring panoramic views of the valley and stunning contrasting colors. If you take a hike during September or October, you’ll experience the fantastic fall reds and yellows that paint the pathway.

4. Oktoberfest
This annual German Volk Festival experience brings together live music, games, costumes, food and of course beer, lots of beer! So dawn your lederhosen, sit in the Biergartens (Beer Garden) and compete against locals and visitors in some Hammerschlagen, Beer Pong, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, Chicken Bingo, Stein Hoisting and Masskrugstemmen Contests.

5. Sun Valley Center for the Arts
Whether you are looking for special events, fine arts performances, or a more hands-on experience, be sure to visit the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. As Wood River Valley’s oldest arts organization and largest in the state of Idaho, it has received National accreditation from the American Association of Museums in recognition of its adherence to the highest standards of operation and programming.

Wildflower Girl by Dana Stewart Quinney is comprised of life stories that beautifully depict the significance of growing up in Ketchum, Idaho amidst the inception of the famous Sun Valley resort. Ernest Hemmingway frequently tipped his hat to Dana on the streets and her father served as a fishing and hunting guide for celebrities. Dana’s passion has always been the outdoors and to this day, she is enchanted by Idaho’s wilderness.

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