Vacation doesn't always need to be expensive. Stumbling across activities to do which are a "Free" makes you feel like a local. Get ready, here are some of our favorite free activities in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area.
GO FOR A HIKE
The Ketchum/Sun Valley area is home to over 400-hundred miles of singletrack (yes really)! So, ditch the crowds and head to the mountains this summer to experience what it’s like to be at one with nature. No crowds, no distractions, just you and those Insta-worthy views. You could literally explore our local trails for weeks before repeating the same one!
RAINMAKER SPLASH PARK
A favorite spot to spend some time with the kids is the Rainmaker Splash Park. This family-friendly splash park is surrounded by shady trees with a fully re-circulating and filtered system to ensure water quality. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 7 days a week in June and until 7 p.m. in July and August, weather permitting.
WOOD RIVER FARMERS’ MARKET
Every Tuesday from mid-June to mid-September, locals and visitors enjoy afternoons at the Wood River Farmers’ Market. Come join in on the fun, meet the hardworking farmers and artists who sell their homemade and home-grown products and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the open-air market.
YOGA AT RIVER RUN
Get your zen on with complimentary yoga at River Run Plaza. These free classes are beginner friendly and take place on Saturday mornings.
Join the Sawtooth Botanical Garden (SBG) for their popular summer wildflower walk series to some of our local area’s most diverse and spectacular habitats. These Wildflower Walks are led by local experts and destinations are determined based on what is blooming where and when.
Book your stay now at Tamarack Lodge, located in the heart of downtown Ketchum! And feel free to bring your four-legged friend with you, we’re pet friendly!
In addition to a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities in Ketchum and Sun Valley, the summer months also bring with them several opportunities to enjoy live music, free of charge. In addition to talented artists playing on decks and patios around town, these three time-honored local events are both family friendly and picnic friendly. Grab a good blanket and settle in at these beloved annual events.
Every Tuesday evening, mid-June through mid-August, locals and visitors gather in Forest Service Park to enjoy good music, dancing, picnics and time with friends and family. National and regional musical acts ranging from electronica and rock to world beat and Americana have graced the stage. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket or a small lawn chair to sit on, and be sure to grab a warm sweater to keep yourself toasty after sunset.
JAZZ IN THE PARK
Some consider Jazz in the Park to be the mellower, more mature sibling to Ketch’em Alive. More picnic than party, Jazz in the Park features Many of Idaho’s best Jazz musicians performing every Sunday evening in Ketchum’s Rotary Park on Warm Springs Road. The mellow, casual atmosphere is the perfect end to an action-packed weekend in Sun Valley.
THE SUN VALLEY SUMMER SYMPHONY
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers free-admission classical music concerts that inspire and enrich through dynamic, engaging programming. The largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrated 30 seasons in the glorious Idaho mountains in 2014. Internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles have graced the Symphony stage, including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Eugene Brancoveanu, and Chris Botti.
There is always something exciting marking the calendar in the Sun Valley/Ketchum area! Make the Tamarack Lodge your convenient home base in downtown Ketchum.
With over 400-hundred miles of pristine Idaho singletrack here in Ketchum/Sun Valley, it’s easy to feel like you have the trail all to yourself. No crowds, no distractions, just you and mother nature the way it was intended to be. You could literally hike, bike or trail run for weeks before repeating the same route. Once you hit the trail once, we promise you’ll forever have the memory of an epic Idaho adventure, complete with expansive scenic vistas, fixed into your dreams.
But with so many options, how do you know where to begin? Here are a few of our favorite trails, ranging from beginner to advanced, to get you started.
Named for its open, sunny qualities, Sunnyside Trail takes riders through sage-covered gullies before opening to breathtaking views and the perfect picnic table to rest your legs at. In the spring, this trail is absolutely aglow with lupine. At 2.2 miles, Sunnyside Trail can be enjoyed as a simple out-and-back ride, or as a longer, more intermediate ride when connected to other trails like Shady Side.
If you’re looking for more of a backcountry ride, then Greenhorn Trail is for you. Located just south of Ketchum, this trail makes a great out-and-back, featuring aspen groves, dense pine and fir forests, spectacular views, and flower-covered slopes. This nearly 9-mile trail can get very demanding and passes through a wide variety of terrain, including some areas of forest still recovering from fire damage, so be sure to check the weather before you head out for a ride.
Not for the faint of heart, Boundary Loop is a steep climb with blazing descents. Open and sun exposed as you get towards the top, it’s best to climb this trail early in the morning when temperatures are cooler. If you need to get off your bike every once in a while, to catch your breath, you’ll be treated to unbeatable views of the Sawtooth Mountains and the Casino Lakes. Once you make your way to the top, be ready for a thrilling descent along alpine lakes down to Warm Springs Meadow.
The White Clouds Loop is family-friendly, close to town, and perfect for a nice mellow spring or early summer hike. Made up of three dirt trails and the paved Trail Creek Path, the White Clouds Loop is the perfect way to get in a quick trail fix without breaking too much of a sweat. The trails, built in 2008, feature scenic views of the White Cloud Golf Course, Bald Mountain, the Sun Valley Lodge, and downtown Ketchum.
The Proctor Mountain Loop Trail is the perfect lunchtime hike for the moderate hiker. Approximately three miles long this trail features a heart pounding 1,133-foot gain in elevation, bird’s-eye-views of Sun Valley and Bald Mountain and a passes by a cool mountain stream, perfect for cooling down your favorite four legged hiking buddy on a hot summer day. While enjoying this loop, be sure to take time to visit the world’s first chairlift!
A day hike to the Pioneer Cabin, makes its way on to the to-do-list of many a Sun Valley visitor, and with good reason. This 8.5-mile roundtrip hike meanders through shady forests across a plateau full of wildflowers to high alpine vistas offering spectacular views of both the Hyndman and Cobb Peaks, and of course, the historic Pioneer Cabin, built in 1938. The cabin, modeled after the alpine huts of Europe, was originally built to make skiing in the Pioneer Mountains more accessible for the Alpine Touring branch of the Ski School. In fact, several of the peaks that are visible from the cabin were named by members of the Alpine Touring program for colleagues who were killed while serving in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II.
The Ketchum and Sun Valley, ID region is a fly fishing paradise. From immediate local access to miles of riffle-run-pool trout fishing in the Big Wood River, to the "crown jewel" of spring creeks in the Rockies, Silver Creek, anglers feel at home on the rivers with constant surprises waiting to be found just around the next bend in the river. Unlike many other regions in the United States, the levels of river access in the Sun Valley area are unreal. Idaho state law designates the land withing a navigable river's high-water marks as public trespass right-of-way. This means that once you enter at an appropriate river access point, the world is your oyster, and you can wade as far up or downstream as your heart desires. Did we mention that Sun Valley also averages 300 days of sunshine per year? So what are you waiting for? Grab your waders and rod and head to Ketchum for the fly fishing adventure of your dreams!
Where To Go:
- The Big Wood River
The Big Wood River is an ideal spot for novices and experts alike. With bountiful rainbow trout and massive brown trout, this river is a great option for fly fishing any month of the year.
- Warm Springs Creek
This tributary meets up with the Big Wood River right here in Ketchum. But don't worry about crowds, just head upstream a few miles for more remote scenery. The rainbow trout and wild rainbows in this creek often exceed expectations!
- The Lost River System
Approximately 40 minutes over the Trail Creek Pass, the Lost River drainage is breathtaking with it's emerald tributaries and scenic views of the Pioneer Mountains. It's not uncommon to find fish exceeding 20 inches in this area.
- Silver Creek
40 miles to the south lies this "crown jewel" in the Rockies. The Nature Conservancy welcomes the public to this gem in the mountains to test their skill at reeling in massive brown trout and rainbows. The preserve is also a great place to view other wildlife, often frequented by elk, moose, deer, waterfowl, raptors and more.
- The Salmon River
The proximity to The Salmon River from Ketchum and Sun Valley is a great asset! Grab a drift boat and explore the boulder-strewn river full of large bull trout. In the spring steelheads can often be found here as well as chinook salmon in the summer months.
No matter the season, fly fisherman can find solitude on the rivers here in Sun Valley. The Tamarack Lodge's convenient location in the heart of downtown Ketchum is the perfect home-base for your next fishing trip. Don't find yourself trapped in the middle of nowhere, stay in the heart of it all with easy access to the area's rivers, shopping, dining, nightlife and more! Take a look at our current lodging specials to get the best rates for your next adventure.