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Off-Slope Adventures in Sun Valley

As the early days of winter sneak up on us and the first layers of snow paint the rolling hills and towering peaks, come take a much-needed break from your daily hustle in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Sun Valley is famous for its world-class slopes, but the fun doesn’t end on the mountain! Nestled between 5 mountain ranges, Sun Valley displays a magnitude of irresistible beauty at every turn and an array of off-slope and non-skier activities, and family-friendly adventures. Whether you’re a non-skier looking for things to do off the slopes, a family with little ones seeking off-slope activities or just eager to give your weary ski legs a break, Sun Valley is a winter wonderland of fun-filled activities for all ages, both on and off the slopes.

Trails for Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing and Fat Biking

The Sawtooth Recreation Area offers over 200 miles of diverse terrain and groomed trails to explore either by snowshoe, cross country skis or by fat bike with over 40 miles of trails easily accessible from downtown Ketchum and Sun Valley. The Trail Creek Loop and White Clouds are both within a 5–10-minute drive or head north for more secluded backcountry terrain on the trails at Galena Lodge, only a 30 minute scenic drive away. Other local favorites include the North Fork Loop (2.5 miles), Prairie Creek Loop (5 miles) and the Lake Creek area with 9 miles of exquisite alpine views.

If snowshoeing, some favourites are the easy Cowboy Cabin Trail, and if you’re looking for more of a fiery workout – the Tilt a Whirl Trail. The Sun Valley area also offers the option of guided snowshoe walks and ranger tours to learn more of Sun Valley’s natural history and wildlife. You’ll find all the gear you need at a local outfitter.

Take a Scenic Drive to Stanley Hot Springs

Pack a picnic, find your favorite playlist and take a scenic day trip to the quiet mountain town of Stanley, 65 miles north of Ketchum. Indulge in the basking beauty of the Boat Box Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are hidden alongside the Salmon River and surrounded by snow-capped forestry and the Sawtooth Mountains. With a tub on the edge of the river filled with healing hot spring water, this is the perfect place to kick back, relax, and let nature unwind your year.

Stanley is known for its excellent winter fly-fishing, extravagant mountain views and crystal-clear alpine lakes and is well worth the journey. The drive begins alongside the beckoning Boulder Mountains and winds its way through the Sawtooth National Park, with plenty picturesque view spots and historical sites to stop, rest and absorb the rich history and pristine natural beauty of Idaho.

Be sure to stop at Galena Lodge for a luscious hot chocolate and freshly baked pastry, or swing by Smiley Creek Lodge for a famous burgers and locally brewed beer. Head home during the sunset hours to witness the sun splashing rainbows of reds on the Sawtooth peaks.

Sun Valley Village Voyage

If you’re looking for fun ways to fill your days, Sun Valley Resort Village is the place to be. This quaint village is the heart of Sun Valley Resort and home to the iconic Sun Valley Lodge, high-end boutiques, gift stores, sweet shops, outstanding restaurants and loads of fun filled activities. Stay for the evening as Sun Valley transforms to a winter wonderland of fairy lights.

Sun Valley Ice Skating

Sun Valley offers a well maintained and extravagant outdoor ice rink that is home to world-class Olympic skaters. The outdoor ice rink displays some of the most beautiful views in the valley and is romanced with fairy lights by night. Sit back and watch the professionals practice and perform, get a lesson yourself or simply book a session and bring the kids along to play! Be sure to book a spectacular Sun Valley ice show for your stay!

Sun Valley Resort Bowling

The Sun Valley Bowling Alley is located at the bottom floor of the Sun Valley Resort with a kid friendly and fun-filled atmosphere offering a full bar, pizzas and fun snacks for all ages. Sun Valley’s Bowling Alley offers a vibey dining area, fuse ball, and a selection of arcade games and is the ideal place to let go, laugh, compete and embrace the dazzling child within you.

Trail Creek Sleigh Rides

Romanticize your vacation by enjoying a bucket-list horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy hills and evergreens. Bring your own blanket (and mask) this year, grab a steaming hot chocolate and bask in 30 minutes of scenic terrain with demanding views of Proctor and Baldy Mountain. Sun Valley sleigh rides offer private bookings for a unique and memorable Sun Valley experience for you and your family.

Ride the Gondola to Roundhouse Lodge

You don’t need to be a skier to enjoy the Sun Valley’s summit views. Pick up a pass and ride the Roundhouse Gondola up to the summit of Bald Mountain for an on-mountain dining experience at the Roundhouse Lodge, towering 7,700ft above Sun Valley. With an inside fireplace, striking views of the rocky, snow-capped mountains and the best Huckleberry Mule in Idaho, this restaurant has been attracting Sun Valley visitors for years. This is the best way for non-skiers to soak up the Sun Valley ski vibe but be sure to make a reservation in advance as the demand is high.

Where to Stay in Sun Valley

To enhance your Sun Valley vacation, Michael’s Vacation Rentals offer a diverse selection of private homes and condos in Sun Valley’s best neighborhoods! Stay away from the crowds in a private and modernised condo on Elkhorn Golf Course or centre yourself in the buzz of Ketchum in a cozy downtown Ketchum condo with pool and hot tub access, unobstructed views of Baldy mountain and a short walk (or free shuttle) to the top things to do in Sun Valley.