Secret Travel Tips in Sun Valley
Some of the most exhilarating experiences lay off the beaten path. Not only will these local Sun Valley spots add color to your trip, these little known activities and locations may be some of the most breathtaking, intimate, and memorable parts of your entire vacation.
*Make sure to note the Travel Mindset Tips for special links and behind the scenes notes!
Frenchman's Bend Hot Springs
Hot Springs – There are dozens of hot springs in the Sun Valley area. Our favorite: Frenchman’s Bend. Tucked up in the Sawtooth National Forest, this is easily one of the best experiences to seek out when visiting. About thirty minutes down the dirt road that picks up where Warm Springs ends, the hot pools are arranged in descending temperature so you can sit comfortably and watch the white water of the snowmelt fed creek gush along beside you.
Travel Mindset Tip for Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs (pictured here): Once you start the drive down the dirt road, continue for about 6 miles (and go slow- lots of uneven road and loose rocks). You’ll see a turn out on the right hand side of the road after a short bridge. Park there and walk the remaining way to Frenchman’s Bend on the left.
Frenchman's Gulch Winery
Winery – One of the best-kept local secrets, Frenchman’s Gulch Winery makes “award winning Seattle wines in Idaho”. During the summer, tastings are set outside and accompanied by meat and cheese plates.
Travel Mindset Tip: Pick up a bottle or two on your way to the Sun Valley Symphony. Bring a picnic and blanket and have a wine tasting on the lawn with the incredible symphony as your background music.
Putting Greens – Behind the Sun Valley Resort Club House is an 18 hole putting course. Only a few bucks for a ball and club, the holes vary in difficulty, and allow you to play with the creek to one side of you and the mountains to the other.
Travel Mindset Tip: Here are 10 More Things to do for Adventure Lovers
Sun Valley Symphony
Symphony – No secret to the locals but sometimes overlooked by visitors, Sun Valley’s free symphony concert series takes place during the summer at the Sun Valley Amphitheater. Whether you are sitting in the amphitheater or picnicking on the lawn, this is one of the most relaxed ways to spend an evening.
Travel Mindset tip: Besides the symphony, book a ticket to see one of the many concerts this summer. The Beach Boys and Los Lobos are both playing shows in the Sun Valley Pavilion.
Hemingway and Sun Valley
Hemingway Memorial – One of the most iconic residents of Sun Valley was Ernest Hemingway. A memorial is set upon an overlook beside Trail Creek and is inscribed with a eulogy Hemingway wrote for a close friend that many believe to actually be written about himself. Besides the memorial, this spot is a great photo opp of the golf course and Bald Mountain.
Travel Mindset Tip: Want more Hemingway? The library has an entire back room with early Sun Valley history, photos and Hemingway books. Escape the heat one afternoon and spend a little time exploring Hemingway’s love for Sun Valley.
Swimming Hole – A fun place to cool off and just a picturesque spot for instagraming, this cool river access located behind Big Wood School is a local favorite for wading, swimming, and fly-fishing.
Travel Mindset Tip: This is a great spot to ride your bike to. Easy bike trails line the road from the Sun Valley Lodge to the school and it’s easy to bring your bike to the swimming hole so you don’t have to lock it up.
White Clouds Hole 5 Golf in Sun Valley
White Clouds Hole 5 – The passion project of the resort’s owner, hole 5 started off at a normal length, but gradually the owner pushed the tee back until the course ended up at 637 yards. When told it was too long to play, he replied “It’s not always about golf”. It is now the best view of the sunset.
Travel Mindset Tip: Up for a morning hike? Join the Pete Lane Adventure center every Monday and Friday for a free guided hike up White Clouds trail. This is also a popular spot for a sunset hike over the mountains.
Some notable spots that didn’t make the list, but are totally worth checking out, are the town square’s local Olympian plaques, Grumpy’s (for huge, cheap brews), and the Hailey Coffee Company that roasts their own bean locally.
For even more trip planning tips and not-to miss spots, check out our 48 Hour Guide to Visiting Sun Valley.
Sponsored by Sun Valley Tourism.
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