Wood River Valley, Idaho

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Wood River Valley


Home to the famous Sun Valley Resort, the Wood River Valley, Idaho is a vacation destination for travelers the world over.

  • Four incorporated cities lie within the Wood River Valley – Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley.
  • The main route into town is State Highway 75 off U.S. 20. The nearest interstate freeway is I-84 to the south.
  • In addition to fabulous skiing in the winter, travelers in the summer enjoy hunting, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, hiking, biking, backpacking, and wildlife viewing.

Overview

An area in south-central Idaho, within Blaine County, is known as the Wood River Valley. The region is named for the Big Wood River, which runs through the area. Four incorporated cities lie within the Wood River Valley – Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. Home to the famous Sun Valley Resort, the Wood River Valley also contains a large part of the Sawtooth National Forest and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Location/Directions

The Wood River Valley is located in the heart of the central Idaho Rockies. The Wood River Valley is in Blaine County, at the edge of the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests. Almost surrounded by U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, the valley's heart is the Big Wood River. Hailey is about 160 miles east of Boise, Idaho. The main route into town is State Highway 75 off U.S. 20 to the south. The nearest interstate freeway is I-84 to the south.

Seasons

The Wood River Valley is accessible year round. However, winter weather can play into the ease of access during the winter months.

Activities

In addition to the fabulous skiing in the winter, the Wood River Valley is also known for the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities available in the summer. Travelers in the summer enjoy hunting, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, hiking, biking, backpacking, and wildlife viewing in and around the area. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is home to spectacular high mountain peaks, beautiful rivers and streams, and meadows of wildflowers.

  • Alpine/Cross-country Skiing - Sun Valley has excellent groomed mountains and wayside trails, each used by avid skiers during the winter season. Whether you enjoy swooshing down the high slopes or gliding over the trails, there is ample snow in the Wood River Valley.
  • Hiking/Mountain Biking - Surrounded by three major mountain ranges - The Pioneers, Smokies and Boulders - Sun Valley offers hiking and biking enthusiasts an endless supply of trails to choose from.
  • To the south, the Craters of the Moon National Monument is popular with hikers, especially in the springtime when they are nearly covered in wildflowers.
  • The Wood River Valley Trail System in Sun Valley has become a mountain biker's paradise, with over 30 miles of paved routes and many more difficult and scenic off-road trails.
  • The Sun Valley resort’s Summer Ski Lift gives visitors even more access to scenic trails for hiking, biking, and picnicking on Bald Mountain.
  • Fly-Fishing - Sun Valley’s peak fly fishing season--June through September--offers avid angler excellent dry fly fishing on four main rivers: the Big Wood, Silver Creek, Big Lost and the Little Wood. The fall and winter fishing is also fantastic and often overlooked.
  • Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking - The Salmon River to the north and Snake River to the south offer class II, III and IV rapids, with routes ranging from beginner "scenic floats" to grueling advanced trips.

Additional Info

After just seven months of construction, Sun Valley opened to the public in the winter of 1936. The resort was an instant success. Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Claudette Colbert, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper were all regulars in the lodge, while world champions including Don and Gretchen Fraser, Gracie Carter Lindley and Andy Hennig used the mountain for Olympic training.

Continuing in popularity today, Sun Valley welcomes visitors back year after year.


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