Fall Foliage in Sun Valley
Sun Valley, Idaho is a town of extravagant variety, bold bliss, secret serenity and a rich ski town history and heritage that draws visitors year-round. Our scenic Rocky Mountain town is tucked away in the heart of Idaho and bordered by 3 mountain ranges with some of America’s all-time mountain adventures.
Sun valley is known for its exquisite flower season, year-round music festivals, alpine lake adventures and perfect ridges of fresh winter powder on Sun Valley Ski Resort and the towering Mt. Baldy.
Whether sunshine or snow, autumn or spring, there’s a plethora of adventures from fishing and rock-climbing to mountain biking, hiking or trail running on the diverse trails near to Sun Valley.
The fall months offer some of the best hiking in Sun Valley with cooler temperatures, quieter trails and a collage of vibrant fall colors that cascade from the peaks and higher elevations down into the valley. From easy family-friendly hiking trails to experience the vibrant autumn hues and panoramic views of Sun Valley in fall to challenging off-the-beaten path trails leading to scenic Boulder Mountain alpine lakes, here’s our favorite Sun Valley hikes during the fiery fall months.
White Clouds Loop
Easy, Family-Friendly 4.2-mile loop
The White Clouds Trail is an easy, full sun, 4.2-mile loop right in the heart of downtown Ketchum, offering panoramic views of Sun Valley Resort, Baldy Mountain, Ketchum and mountain peaks as far as the eye can see. The trail begins at the carpark where Saddle and Sun Valley Road meet and loops around the hilltop Sun Valley Golf Course. The White Clouds Loop is accessible by bus and is the perfect trail to familiarize yourself with Sun Valley, get your bearings and breathe in the crisp mountain air.
Proctor Mountain Trail
Easy, Family-Friendly 4.2-mile loop
Proctor Mountain Trail is a moderately trafficked and scenic 4.2-mile loop, beginning at the Hemingway memorial on Trail Creek Road, about a half mile north of Sun Valley’s Golf Club. The trail winds through trees of the valley and cross-backs up to the ridge to the world’s first chairlift, built in 1936 and majestic Sun Valley views. Proctor is a very popular Sun Valley trail with locals and visitors, one of the best trails for Sun Valley spring wildflowers and a top pick for fall-foliage leaf-peeping. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is around a 1.5 hour return trip, fitness depending.
Easy, Family-Friendly 3 or 6-mile loop
Adams Gulch is one of the best family-friendly hikes close to Sun Valley, beginning on Adams Gulch Road, off Highway 75 only a 10-minute drive from downtown Ketchum and Sun Valley Resort. The trail options are mapped out at the trailhead, and you can choose between a 3 or 6-mile loop, with a shady and sunny side trail or the option of both. It is a heavily trafficked, easy trail with minimal elevation, making it perfect for family hikes or mountain biking. During the spring and summer months, this trail presents the luminous greenery and wildflowers of the valley. As the seasons change, it is one of Sun Valley’s top fall trails for experiencing the picturesque, flaming colors of the golden aspens. The Adams Gulch Trail is one of the only trails still accessible in the early and late snow season.
The Lookout on Baldy Roundhouse
Moderate, Family-Friendly Hike – 1.7-miles
The Lookout Trail is a moderate 1.7-mile trail starting at the River Run base of Bald Mountain. This popular Sun Valley hiking trail is all uphill and follows a shady, tree-lined trail to the Lookout viewing platform with awesome views of downtown Ketchum and the valley. For a longer hike, continue on the Bald Mountain Trail to the Roundhouse Connector trail leading to the Roundhouse Restaurant. The restaurant and lift are closed in fall, but these trails are a great way to enjoy the fall beauty of Bald Mountain on foot.
Silver Lake Trail
Challenging 2.5-mile one way
Silver Lake is a well-groomed yet challenging 2.5-mile, one way trail, located in the basin of the Boulder Mountains in the Sawtooth National Forest. The Silver Lake Trailhead is only a 30-minute drive north of Sun Valley, off highway 75 and is on a dirt road accessible only by 4×4. The Silver Lake Trail is a secret, heavenly gem that puts on a display of stimulating sightings and a chance to see the wildlife of Sun Valley. This Boulder Mountain hiking trail is for the more adventurous and offers spectacular waterfalls, striking rock formations and graceful contrasts. The last stretch of the trail is a steep climb, welcoming you with 3 crystal lakes surrounded by fields of flowers, trickling streams and towering, granite peaks. If you are looking to explore the depths of Sun Valley’s magic, this is the perfect day trip, leaving you in awe of the beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains.
Fall in Love with Sun Valley
Every season brings a new beauty, and every adventure leaves a mark of love. Sun Valley is not only a place to see and experience, but a place you feel. Sun Valley welcomes you with hope and leaves you with a warm heart, a spark of euphoria and a greater sense of aliveness.
Where to Stay in Sun Valley, Idaho
Whether you’re looking to be walking distance to the shopping and dining in downtown Ketchum or stay on the quieter fairways of a renowned Sun Valley golf course with panoramic Baldy views, Michael’s Vacation Rentals has the top selection of Sun Valley condos and villas with resort-style amenities, easy access to Sun Valley’s top attractions and all the comforts of home for a cozy fall vacation.