Tourism By Trail: Sun Valley, Idaho
A place that lives up to its name ...
Training on the Backcountry Run trails. Photo by Hank Dart
Roughly four hundred miles of singletrack slither through the Sun Valley surroundings. “Fast, buffed-out trail? Check. Techy trail? Check. Lung-busting vert? Check. Trails leading to lonesome backcountry? That, too,” says 45-year-old medical writer, proprietor of the Run Junkie website and Sun Valley area trail runner, Hank Dart. And, just beyond Sun Valley’s northern horizon is the 2.1-million-acre Sawtooth National Forest and its 1000-plus miles of trails. “It’s hard to imagine a better place to be a trail runner,” says Dart.
Fourteen hundred-person Sun Valley is perched in the high-altitude air of central Idaho’s Wood River Valley along with neighboring town, 2600-person Ketchum. Together the region is known in the winter for downhill skiing, in the summer for singletrack-based recreation and year-round for ample Vitamin-D dosages. “The most compelling aspect of trail running in Sun Valley is its annual nature,” elaborates 45-year-old Andy Jones-Wilkins, who lived and worked as Head of School at an independent school in the Sun Valley area for five years. “Because the trails are snow-covered half the year, the slow build-up of the spring melt, the increasing trail access and the way town talks about summer’s arrival feels like a second Christmas.”
From glitzed-up celebrities to burly mountain men and women to Olympic medalists like skiers Christin Cooper-Taché and Picabo Street, an eclectic blend embraces the seasons of Sun Valley. The question is, will you?