Dealing with Covid-19 in Sun Valley
This has been a weird year to say the least. The coronavirus has really changed how we live our lives. Pretty much all events have been cancelled so we’ve been enjoying the Sun Valley area’s many outside activities to avoid risky behavior. Below is a list of some of our favorites from around the area in the time of covid-19.
Wood River Trail
The Wood River Trail runs from Sun Valley down to Bellevue. It’s about 20 miles and nicely paved. You’ll follow highway 75 for a large portion of the ride but won’t have to cross it. There are a couple tunnels that take you on either side of the road. You’ll also be along the Big Wood River and have some great views of the surrounding hills and fancy houses.
Triumph \ East Fork Road
You can take a ride out to Triumph via East Fork Road. Whether you’re coming from Ketchum or Hailey, you’ll be able to easily access it from the Wood River Trail. It’s about 6 miles from Highway 75 and offers great views of the Pioneer Mountains. Triumph is an old mining town with some cool history and is pretty neat to check out.
Indian Creek is another off-shoot of the Wood River Trail. You’ll be able to easily access it from either Kethcum or Hailey. It’s located on the north end of Hailey and is about a 3 mile climb to the end of the neighborhood. There are a lot of cool houses and a great view of Carbonate Mountain.
Croy Canyon is located just outside of Hailey. It provides an extensive system of groomed mountain bike trails. You can park either off Croy Creek Road or at the base of the Rotarun Ski Area. Some trails are located down Bullion Gulch Road. Note that Croy can be busy on weekends and you may encounter other riders. Socially distancing may be difficult on certain trails.
Galena Lodge and the surrounding trail network are extremely popular. This summer we’ve noticed the parking lot nearly full on the weekend. I’d recommend stopping by on the weekdays if possible. The trail system is extensive enough that you won’t run into too many other riders but the lodge gets full. With covid in full swing, they’ve adapted their service to support outdoor dining but you’ll still wait in line during peak times.
Earlier this spring we spent a lot of time riding gravel before the single track was ready. It was a fantastic way to stay active while social distancing.
Muldoon canyon is just outside of Bellevue. The road is in decent gravel riding shape. You can make a loop with Martin Canyon. You’ll be able to park near E-Da-Ho Ranch by the intersection of Martin and Muldoon Canyons. The climb back from Muldoon to Martin is less traveled and maintained but we managed it fine on our bikes.
Slaughterhouse Canyon is another ride out of Bellevue. It’s wide open at the beginning but narrows and becomes more scenic as you go. The road is well maintained but does have some river crossings. You can make a loop to Quigley Canyon to make your way into Hailey. This road is popular with ATVs and dirt bikes.
Deer Creek is on the north end of Hailey. We typically drive to the wildlife preserve located a couple miles down the road and park if we want to ride. You can ride to the end where there is a trail head. The road is very well maintained and has a lot of camp grounds. This is a popular horse and hunter area. The ride is very casual.
Rock Creek Road is located outside of Hailey down Croy Creek Road. The road runs south and connects with Poverty Flat Road to take you back into Bellevue. It’s pretty scenic and well traveled by mountain bikers, dirt bikers, the occasional car and rock climbers. It’s an easy ride and will put you on Highway 75 south of Bellevue. To avoid 75, you can choose to climb over the mountain to Townsend Gulch Road. It’s difficult and we pushed our bikes for some of it. Townsend is a pretty easy ride down.
Big Wood River
We have floated the Big Wood River through Bellevue. The river is extremely low this year and it was more frustrating than dangerous. You’ll need to look out for a damn that is on the northern end of Howard Preserve but most of the river is pretty calm. Be careful with downed trees.
Adam’s Gulch is located outside of Ketchum. It’s a very popular dog walking and hiking area. You can take it easy and sit to the Sunny and Shady side trails that follow the creek up the gulch. You can also head north up the Adam’s Rib trail to get a view of northern Ketchum and some of the big houses around it. Adam’s Gulch can be very busy on weekends and after work.
Carbonate Mountain is a trail located off Croy Creek Road in Hailey. It’s a switch back up Carbonate’s southern face. When you reach the top, you’ll have a good view of the Pioneers and some of the northern mountains. This trail is busy on weekends and after work.
Silver Creek Preserve
Silver Creek Preserve is located about 15 minutes south of Bellevue. It’s very different from the surrounding area as it has a lot of flowing water, birds, and plants. You can hike through the preserve on the boardwalks. You can also float through Silver Creek but we didn’t try that this year.
Deer Creek is a quiet camping area located north of Hailey. If you take Deer Creek Road past the wild life preserve you’ll start to find ample marked camping spots on either side of the road. Even at the busiest times of the year we had no trouble finding a camping spot. The road can be busy during the day with truck and dirt bike traffic so campsites away from the road and near the river are ideal.
Baker Lake is located north of Sun Valley and Ketchum on Highway 75. The Baker Lake road has tons of campsites that are pretty private. Again, we had not problem finding camping during the busiest times of year. We had a large group and were able to avoid others pretty well. The road can be a little busy at times but isn’t too bad.
Bonanza is located north of Stanley on Highway 75. It’s about an hour drive from Ketchum. During 4th of July we were able to find a campsite near Sunbeam at the Flat Rock campsite. There were a lot of other campsites available down the road. You’ll have access to the Sunbeam hot springs, Yankee Fork Gold Dredge and the Bonanza and Custer Ghost towns. It’s a great place to fish the Yankee Fork and go for a hike in the Frank Church.
Hyndman Creek is located down East Fork Road in between Hailey and Ketchum. You head through the old mining town of Triumph before turning on the forest road to the north to hit the trail head. You can hike the 5.5 mile trail up to Sundance Lake. It’s beautiful at the end of July. There were tons of wild flowers and great views. If you are feeling tough, you can summit Hyndman Peak.
Dining and Drinks
Wiseguys - Hailey
Wiseguys in Hailey has a great setup to deal with the covid restrictions. They have an awesome outside patio and their southern wall has garage doors that open to a very large inside space for ordreing. Their tables are spaced far apart and their pizza is awesome. They also have some big beers to wash it down.
Sawtooth - Ketchum
Sawtooth’s Ketchum location has a large outside deck that provides tons of space for your party. They have plenty of beer on tab and they make it really easy to socially distance.
Warfield - Ketchum
Warfield is doing an OK job with the covid situation. Their rooftop patio is good for eating outside and socially distancing. It can get busy and we have actually walked out due to the full tables and number of people. It is possible to hit them on a good day earlier in the week for a fantastic view and some amazing food.
Powerhouse - Hailey
Powerhouse is one of my all time favorites in the valley. Their beer selection can’t be beat. Their outside area has been moved around to accomodate social distancing rules. You can easily feel comfortable on the patio and their inside space is usually pretty quiet so it’s easy to check the beer list or use the bathroom.