Special Issues » Wood River Valley Summer Guide

The Top Ten

Things you didn't know you could do in Sun Valley

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1. Ride the Hailey Pump Park

You know about the hundreds of miles of epic mountain biking in Blaine and Custer counties, but have you ever tested your skill on a pump track? A complex set of dirt jumps and berms adjacent to the Blaine County Recreation District's Aquatic Center (bcrd.org) on Fox Acres Road is just the ticket to improving off-road handling skills. A second pump track is located by the Hemingway School in Ketchum. For more information about the pump parks and mountain biking in the Sun Valley area, check the Wood River Bike Coalition's blog at woodriverbike.wordpress.com or check in with the BCRD on Facebook.

Hailey Pump Park, 1020 Fox Acres Road

2. Learn about the Birds and the Bees

Do you need some help distinguishing birds? Are you curious about he hydrology of the Big Wood River or the geology of the mountains? Join the Environmental Resource Center (ercsv.org) for a scheduled event or contact the naturalists for a personalized experience. Whether it's bears or beavers, rivers or trees they can help you craft your own nature education.

Environmental Resource Center, 471 Washington Ave. N., Ketchum

3. Sleep under the Stars: Go Yurting!

Nearly everyone who lives in the Wood River Valley, from the gardener to the grocer, can tell you about a favorite place to camp. So, if you are looking to take a stab at a your own night under the stars with all the tips you've gathered in town, then Sun Valley Trekking (svtrek.com) is your one-stop shop to get outfitted. If tenting isn't your thing, they can set you up at Coyote Yurt in the summer. For those who are afraid of the dark or who want to bag a peak, they'll be happy to introduce you to a guide, too.

Sun Valley Trekking, 450 Mother Lode Loop, Hailey

4. Walk a Dog

Yes, there are some pretty fancy dogs in Sun Valley, but not every canine comes with a silver dog dish. If you want a best friend to show you around for the day while you explore the 1,100 miles of hiking trails in the area, stop by the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley (animalshelterwrv.org) and take a dog for a walk. Business hours are from 10 a.m- 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Saturday from 10 a.m- 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. Dog walkers need to be 18 or older.

Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, 100 Croy Creek Road, west of Hailey

5. Play Mini Golf (serious putting without the gnomes and windmills)

It's time to make a spectacle of yourself, and the Sun Valley Club offers a perfect opportunity to do so with the new 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course (sunvalley.com/golf/sawtooth). The 52,000 square feet of sculpted turf inspired by the Scots offers a challenge for novices and experts alike. It's "fun for the entire family," so bring a costume. Fees are nominal and putters are provided.

Sun Valley Club, Trail Creek Road east of Sun Valley and Ketchum

6. Swim in an Alpine Lake

Perhaps you've hiked to Titus Lake from the crest of Galena Pass or taken a dip in a watering hole along the Big Wood River. Another option for cooling off after you've earned a swim hiking or mountain biking is to pick a lake further in the alpine. One way to get oriented is to stop by Backwoods Mountain Sports (backwoodsmountainsports.com) in Ketchum to pick up a local topographic map or a GPS. The staff can help point out some cool blue to suit your adventure.

Backwoods Mountain Sports, 711 Main St. N., Ketchum

7. Get a Mental Tune-Up

There are many alternatives to straightening yourself out in Sun Valley. Just check the list of hands-on healers at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival website (sunvalleywellness.org), the Sun Club (thesunclub.org) or have a peek in the yellow pages for your favorite type of practice. Or simply stop in to see the bicycle mechanics in the back of the Elephant's Perch. Sean will check your links, John will build up the best wheels in the valley, Jason will find your parts and Roger will give you some sage advice about how to maintain mental acuity. He's got the scoop on how to tackle any OCD, PTSD, depression or anxiety.

The Elephant's Perch, 280 E Ave., Ketchum

8. Attend a Golden Mike Reading

Hemingway died here, but literature in Sun Valley lives on. There is the Sun Valley Writers Conference (svwc.com) every summer that draws the best and brightest, including SVWC alum Liaquat Ahamed, who was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History for Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World. For those who aspire to such greatness and care to read their work or listen to others live, look for upcoming open-mike nights at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum. The next live session will be announced to friends of Iconoclast Books on Facebook.

Iconoclast Books, 671 Sun Valley Road, Ketchum

9. Put Your Hands in the Dirt

With all the nonprofits in the Wood River Valley, there are many ways to give back by volunteering, and you'll meet some kind folks in the process. This summer, the Hunger Coalition (thehungercoalition.org) is looking for some folks who love gardening to help create the Hope Garden in downtown Hailey with the simple mission of feeding people while educating and building community in the Wood River Valley. If you want to build up an appetite before talking about food, there are also opportunities to help with trail maintenance. An easy way to pitch in is to contact the Wood River Bicycle Coalition (woodriverbike.wordpress.com).

The Hope Garden is located at the corner of First Avenue and Walnut Street in downtown Hailey.

10. When it Rains it Bowls

A throwback to the origins of the resort, bowling in the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge (sunvalley.com) is a no-brainer on a rainy day. It only takes the first frame to feel the original coziness of this rare institution carved out by Averell Harriman and those who followed him. There are six lanes, video games, a pool table and a snack bar. What more could you ask for when the weather is inclement than a little nostalgia? If you catch the history bug, there's more at the Heritage Museum (ksvhistoricalsociety.org) in the Forest Service Park in Ketchum, and you can dig even deeper at the Blaine County Historical Museum (bchistoricalmuseum.org) in Hailey. Ask for Teddy. If you just need a little fix, stop by the Duchin Room and tour of the historic photographs in the lodge.

Sun Valley Resort, 1 Sun Valley Road, Sun Valley

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