As my coffee cup was being refilled at the Kneadery in Sun Valley, Idaho, we overheard several people talk about hiking Bald Mountain later that morning. The buzz from everyone around us what that this summer has been perfect for hiking, with clear skies, cool temperatures and endless sunshine.

Glancing down at my huevos rancheros and fluffy pancakes, I questioned whether or not a strenuous hike would be in the cards for me that day. But after sizing up what food was in front of them (a modest helping of French Toast and omelets), I felt like I was up for the challenge.

Before we arrived in Sun Valley, we had asked a few friends what we should do in the small resort town in central Idaho. Known for world class skiing and the luxurious Sun Valley Lodge, I didn’t want to miss all the excitement since I’d be visiting in the middle of July.

It turns out Sun Valley isn’t just for the ski and snow lovers.

One great thing about ski towns is that they are perfect for tons of other outdoors adventures, like mountain biking and hiking, horseback riding, paragliding and swimming. Underneath all of the snow that makes winters so incredible, are beautiful trails and lakes waiting to show off what they can do with a little sunshine.

Lacing up our sneakers as we stepped out of the car at Sun Valley Mountain, I joking said ‘How bad could the 4.6 mile one way hike be, after all?’ 

Baldy, Bald Mountain’s cute nickname, is actually one of the higher peaks in the Rocky Mountain range in Idaho. With over 28 hiking and mountain biking trails, it is easy to pick a trail and experience wild Idaho all by yourself.

When we arrived at Sun Valley Mountain, we stopped in the visitors’ center to get a trail map and ask a few questions. Shortly after, and at the persistence of the sweet ticket seller, we purchased one-way lift tickets. We knew we wanted to hike up the mountain, but maybe getting a lift down wasn’t such a bad idea. We were given a map of the trails and noticed many other hikers walking towards the trails alongside us. 

It wasn’t long before those more advanced and faster hikers took off around us and we were left on the quiet trail all alone. Not that I minded, as the views of Sun Valley below kept getting better and better and we continued to stop to take more and more pictures.

While it seemed like a lot of local hikers were there to test their time up the mountain, many visitors were like us, taking in each step of the trail, glancing back down to the city below us and admiring the majesty of the mountains around us.

After filling up an entire SIM card with photos, we stopped in The Roundhouse, a historical gem built in 1939 with outdoor seating overlooking the mountains and Sun Valley. The inside was festively decorated with pictures from different seasons and eras gone by, famous patrons, a 360 wood burning fireplace, and cute whimsical cabin décor that you’d expect in a luxury cabin. We ordered two ice waters and sat on the outside patio watching as paragliders took off from the top of the mountain above us.

After we caught our breath, we headed back towards the gondola for the ride down. As we watched as trees passed by us and we got closer and closer to the bottom, I started thinking over the course of the day and how amazing a spur of the moment decision had completely changed my outlook on this town.

As we touched down and walked off the gondola, I was excited to head back to the car and explore more Sun Valley gems.

Sponsored by Idaho Tourism.