The first step to recreation in the Wood River Valley is to kick open the door. The second step is just that--walking, trotting or rolling on some form of wheel. Visitors to the valley can get all the way to Canada without much traffic. Even if your mission is just to soak in the pools at Sun Valley Resort and ride the gondola to Roundhouse for a meal on Baldy, a few hours spent in the fresh mountain air have a healing touch even for the one-day visitor.
There may still be patches of snow hiding on north slopes in the five mountain ranges around Sun Valley and Ketchum, but summer and fall are about everything other than skiing. Golf, tennis, trail rides, shooting, even movies make the legend of a Sun Valley Summer.
One of the best and most-economical ways to get a quick orientation to Sun Valley is to pick up a copy of Matt Leidecker's waterproof book Exploring Sun Valley--A Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder, Pioneer, and Smoky Mountains--a small, rich primer about the local trails, ecology and lore. With a little knowledge, however, comes the realization that one day in Sun Valley is a terrible tease.
There are 400 miles of single-track trails beyond the ski resort offerings.
Even if you are in town just to try the lift-accessed downhill challenges, explore the network beyond the hill. It is the cure for single-track deficit disorder. The evidence is all over YouTube. There are lifetimes of adventures up and down the Harriman Trail and beyond into the Sawtooth Valley over Galena Summit.
Rivers running throughout and around the geological matrix that can include a stop by Craters of the Moon east of Carey and Shoshone Falls by Twin Falls will satisfy the most avid angler, boater, bird watcher and photo shooter. If one day is all you have in Sun Valley this summer, the happy news is that one is better than none.
The next level of support for a quick recreational hit in Sun Valley is a connection with a guide service. Galena Lodge, Sturtevants Mountain Outfitters and Sun Valley Trekking all have permits for guided mountain biking, whether you are a roving expert or a total beginner. For those who can squeeze in a night in the mountains surrounding the valley, Coyote Yurt above Baker Creek Canyon is a welcome respite for horse people, hikers and mountain bikers alike. Sun Valley Trekking outfits the yurt.
A visit to the "To Do" list on the Visit Sun Valley website will help travelers make the best use of their time in Sun Valley. For example, horseback riders can find half a dozen links to outfitters on the page dedicated to equine adventure. The same goes for the massive list of all kinds of recreation. Yes, even in summer, there is knitting.