Take a Trip To Sun Valley--And Go For a Ride
There are literally hundreds of mountain bike trails and rides in the Sun Valley area — encompassing Ketchum, Hailey, Galena, the Sawtooths and more.
So how is a mountain biker to choose?
Here are some of the most popular rides in the area ranging from beginner to advanced. Fall is the perfect time to try this sport or to head to the Sun Valley area. Perfect temperatures, sunny days and beautiful fall leaves in the canyons make for a great seasonal outing.
For more information on all of the various mountain bike trails in the Wood River area, visit the Blaine County Recreation District’s handy guide at summertrailink.bcrd.org. This resource will tell you the length and difficulty of every ride in the area and provide a map as well.
The White Clouds area is a great spot for beginners. Located right in town at the Sun Valley Resort, the three rides available on this ridge that borders the Sun Valley White Clouds golf course provides beautiful views of Baldy. Three options are available for riding: the Big Wood Connector (0.7 miles), Valley View Loop (1.7 miles) and the popular White Clouds Loop (2.7 miles), all of which have gentle enough grades for beginners but enough “oomph” to make it feel like a workout.
Corral Creek is home to only one single-track ride but it’s a great easy-to-moderate one that winds through forest scenery and is located just past Trail Creek Cabin. Wind through 2.7 miles of sage and aspen and return either on the trail or on the paved road.
Adam’s Gulch is home to nine trails used simultaneously by hikers, runners, mountain bikers and, occasionally, horseback riders. Rides range from easy to hard and include several classics like Sunnyside-Lane’s Trail. At 2.2 miles, this local favorite takes you through casual trails and occasional mellow switchbacks through Aspen trees to a picnic table at the high point of the ride. From there you can ride back out the way you came or complete the loop. Shadyside is another classic that is 1.6 miles. From there, you can double back the way you came or continue on to Forbidden Fruit which adds another 1.1 miles to the ride. At just 1 mile north of Ketchum, this area is extremely popular so always practice proper trail etiquette!
The Lake Creek trailhead, located 2.6 miles north of town, is host to a number of hikes and mountain bike rides, many of them connecting the many gulches on the west side of the northbound highway. Lake Creek rides include the moderate but slightly lengthy Fox Creek Trail (6.8 miles) and the difficult but short Harpers Trail (2.9 miles). Other connecting rides include Adams Gulch-Lake Creek Connector, Oregon Gulch-Chocolate Gulch connector, Chocolate Gulch, and Adams Rib.
Located 6.7 miles south of Ketchum, Greenhorn Gulch has a little something for everybody. With a backcountry feel just minutes from the trailhead, it’s a popular area, especially if one has ridden most of what Ketchum proper has to offer. Rides range from easy (the Cowhorn Trail is only 0.4 miles) to moderate (Cow Creek, 4.1 miles) to advanced (Greenhorn Trail, 9 miles). Of the eight rides in this area, the most popular is the Imperial Gulch ride. This moderate-to-difficult 6-mile ride takes the rider through beautiful Aspen groves with gorgeous views of the Pioneer Mountains.
Before You Go: Learn Proper Trail Etiquette
Yield to hikers, runners & horses. Yield with one foot on the ground and two wheels on the trail; please don’t ride parallel to the trail.
Downhill bikers yield to uphill traffic.
When encountering another user from behind, slow down, announce your presence and ask to pass. If you encounter sheep or cattle on a road or trail, make them aware of your presence, dismount if appropriate, and move slowly by without startling them.
Control your speed. Ride, don't slide. Don't skid.
Don't cut corners or curves. Stay on the trail.
Group Ride Etiquette — ride in groups no larger than 10 or 12. If you have a large number of riders, please consider splitting your group and either leaving at different times or riding different trails.
If you use head phones, please turn the volume low enough so that you can hear other trail users.
Leave no trace. Consider other options when the trail is wet and muddy. Respect trail and road closures.
This article originally appeared in Idaho Press.