Tag: idaho

Lucky Peak State Park: Biking, Kayaking and More

Lucky Peak State Park: Biking, Kayaking and More

When summer rolls around, head to Lucky Peak State Park for biking and kayaking and a plethora of other outdoor activities. This Idaho state park is ideal for hot summer days and getting out of the city. State Park Overview Overall, we give this state park 

Bringing new life to old adventures

Bringing new life to old adventures

I have been thinking about bringing new life to old adventures lately. I do not enjoy doing the same things over and over again. That is why I always choose to go somewhere new instead of to the same vacation spot year after year. I 

10 Things to Do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

10 Things to Do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

I grew up about an hour west of Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho. Yes, I saw plenty of celebrities and I made a lot of money cleaning houses in the summer. But I rarely did anything fun. I was either working or running errands, and the community vibe always felt a little pretentious to me. It was not until I moved away that I began to appreciate everything the Wood River Valley has to offer. I still think it is a bit pretentious, but there is no denying its beauty and what it has to offer. I also happen to find it a great micro trip or girls’ weekend getaway.

Sun Valley Idaho red barn at dusk
Twilight in Sun Valley, Idaho.

What to do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

Below are 10 things I like to do in the Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho, area. There are suggestions for both winter and summer and some can be enjoyed all year long.

Eat at Johnny G’s Subshack in Ketchum

There are a lot of tasty places to eat in Ketchum and Sun Valley. However, my absolute favorite is Johnny G’s Subshack. It may not be much to look at, but this place is delicious. They cater to a local lunch crowd, so hours are limited. That means you may have to plan your schedule around them. Do it! You will not regret it.

Hit up the thrift stores

There are several thrift stores located throughout Hailey and Ketchum. The most well-known is the Gold Mine. You can find some good stuff here, but be prepared to dig. Also, be prepared for slightly higher prices. The people here know their brands and price them accordingly. You can still find an Icebreaker shirt for a fraction of the original price, but you will probably pay more than you would at your local thrift store. Of course, the chances of me even finding an Icebreaker at my local thrift store are slim. But at the Gold Mine, brand names abound. Keep in mind that they sell stuff seasonally. Do not expect to pick up skis in July. However, if you go in the winter, you can find good ski equipment for an even better price. My slightly-used Salomon ski boots are still one of my favorite purchases from the Gold Mine.

I should note that Ketchum, and to an extent Hailey, have some fun stores that are not thrift stores. Huck and Paddle is one of the most adorable stores I have ever shopped in. Just be prepared for ski resort prices.

Take in the view from Galena Summit

The drive north of Sun Valley to the top of Galena is one of my favorites. I have very fond memories of the route and the view. It is the highest summit of a highway in the Northwest and the view of the Sawtooth Mountain Range is stunning. R is cursed when it comes to seeing what Galena has to offer. If it is not some crazy storm, then it is smoke from a wild fire that blocks her view. Assuming you are not cursed like R, the drive and the view is well worth your time.

Galena Summit Idaho
The view from Galena Summit.

Enjoy the bike path

Year round, one can (and should) enjoy the Wood River Trail. (Locals simply call it the bike path.) Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue are all connected via a paved, multi-use, non-motorized pathway. In the summer, take your bike. If it is winter, get out your cross-country skis. Enjoy part or all of the 20-mile trail. Of course, keep in mind that heading south to north will be slightly uphill.

Bald Mountain in the spring Ketchum Idaho
All along the bike path you will find beautiful views like this one.

Attend a concert at Whiskey Jacques

If your favorite band is performing at Whiskey Jacques, do not hesitate. Buy a ticket and go. R and I have spent many-a-fun evenings dancing and singing our hearts out at Whiskey Jacques. I am sure it is a perfectly good bar and I know the burgers are good. But its real draw is its concerts. The venue is small so you can get up close and personal with your favorite musicians. The people watching is usually pretty good as well.

Micky Braun Micky and the Motorcars Ketchum Idaho Whiskey Jacques
Micky Braun. Micky and the Motorcars is one of our favorite bands to see at Whiskeys.

Watch the Sun Valley Suns

Hockey is my favorite sport to watch and that love began with the Sun Valley Suns. This semi-professional team is fun to watch and the local vibe is GREAT. The new rink located in Hailey. The games here are just as enjoyable of an experience as they were at the old rink. There is a bit more seating, so that was nice. Be sure to dress warm!

Don’t miss the yard sales in Ketchum and Sun Valley

Similar to shopping at the Gold Mine and other thrift stores in Sun Valley and Ketchum, hitting up the yard sales can result in some amazing finds. This is a summertime only activity, but it can be worth getting up a little early on your weekend to see what treasures await you. I have never shopped at any celebrity’s houses. But there are enough rich folks up there selling their expensive goods for a steal to make it worth your while.

Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley Idaho
If your budget allows it, go ahead and stay at the Sun Valley Resort.

Attend a festival

The community may be small, but they put on some great festivals and events. My favorite is the Trailing of the Sheep festival. There is nothing else quite like it in the world. If opera, jazz or ballet is your thing, then there is an event or two you will enjoy. Just check out the local event calendar and then start planning your trip.

Go skiing, duh

Assuming it is winter, I recommend you hit the slopes. After all, Sun Valley is “America’s First Destination Ski Resort.” You have two options for some downhill skiing: Bald Mountain or Dollar Mountain. Baldy, as the locals call it, is the more “plush” option. It is everything you imagine when you think of skiing in Sun Valley. Dollar is where the kids ski. It is both easier and more affordable. No matter your choice, you will have a wonderful time.

skiing snowboarding Sun Valley Idaho blue skies
Snowboarding and skiing on Baldy with friends.

If Nordic skiing is more your style, you will find trails aplenty to keep you occupied. Some you will have to pay to use, so keep that in mind.

Hiking abounds all over Sun Valley and Ketchum

As stated previously, I am not much of a hiker. I prefer trails that fall more into the “nature walk” category. But that does not mean I have never traversed the hills surrounding Sun Valley and Ketchum. The hike up Carbonate Mountain is a nice option, especially if you are a beginner. Many locals hike it every day and it has great views of Hailey. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour. You can also ride the gondola to the top of Bald Mountain, enjoy lunch at the Roundhouse Lodge, and then hit the trails. As you head north toward and into the Sawtooth Mountains, options for a more challenging hike increase. You can pretty much find any kind of hike you are looking for in this area.

Hiking trail in Sun Valley, Idaho dusk wildflowers Valley View Trail
Trails abound in and around Sun Valley.


The Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho, area makes a lovely micro trip or weekend getaway anytime of the year. Period. And a weekend spent in Sun Valley and Ketchum is just one way we, as part-time travelers, make the most of our time off work. You should give it a try.

Killing Time in Coeur d’Alene

Killing Time in Coeur d’Alene

This post finds me killing time in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I am here with my folks. My dad is seeing a specialist about his Lyme disease and to say my parents are terrible travelers is kind of an understatement. So I offered to come along 

Top Ten Things to do in Boise, Idaho

Top Ten Things to do in Boise, Idaho

As a proud Boisean, I am pleased to share my list of top ten things to do in Boise, Idaho. One of the first things I do when researching a place I’m going to visit is to try and find some must sees for that 

Exploring Your Own Backyard

Exploring Your Own Backyard

How often do you go out exploring your own backyard? This past weekend, we headed to the mountains. Our goal: huckleberries. I am happy to report that we were successful and came home with a nice little haul.

R had family visiting from another state. They opted to postpone their drive home in order to pick some huckleberries because it is not something they can do where they live. In fact, since huckleberries only grow in certain areas of the northwest, very few people actually get the opportunity to go pickin’. Even as a native Idahoan, it was not until last year that I finally got the chance myself (and we found very few berries). It was a fun way to go exploring my own backyard.

Huckleberry picking in Idaho, girl in woods, exploring your own backyard
R pickin’ for the first time.

That’s happening in my backyard?

I have a coworker who has moved to Idaho for a temporary assignment. He is from New Jersey and I have been very impressed with his efforts to explore and experience as much of Idaho as he can while he is here. He recently attended his first rodeo and made a comment about not having anything like that in New Jersey. I begged to differ. They definitely have rodeos in New Jersey—I saw the signs myself. But my coworker’s comment made me wonder how many of us fail to look around and see the adventures we have close at home. How often do you remember to go exploring your own backyard? We can go huckleberry picking in our backyard. What can you do?

Purple huckleberry on the bush, Idaho, exploring your own backyard
Berry goodness.

Research and insider tips go a long way to exploring your own backyard

Sometimes the events or places that are unique to your area are obvious and easy to explore. Sometimes they require a bit more work. Our huckleberry picking adventure fell into the latter category. My one experience last year left our novice group with a distinct lack of knowledge of where to go. I did plenty of research on the old internet, but I only came up with a few vague leads (most pickers like to keep their patches a secret). R decided to get her mom, a very resourceful lady, involved. This was an excellent move since she has a friend local to the area where huckleberries are known to grow. And luckily for us, she was willing to share her knowledge.

So with a hand-drawn map and a lot of enthusiasm, we headed out. After a first failed attempt, we regrouped and found a nice little patch a ways up the mountain. We spent the next hour or so picking to our heart’s content. We could have picked more, but we were all pretty hungry by that point and decided to call it a day. A successful day, in my opinion.

Huckleberry picking purple hands, exploring your own backyard, Idaho
Purple hands = successful berry picking.

The journey can be the reward

The original idea for the day was to pick huckleberries. And with a little help, we succeeded in making that idea a reality. But more importantly, we got outside and explored a little piece of this big, wonderful world we live in. If we had not found a single huckleberry, we still would have enjoyed a beautiful drive along the river and soaked up the sunshine on the mountainside. And we did not have to go far from home in order to do that. Exploring your own backyard is all about the journey, and you do not have to go far to do that.

Cascade Lake in Idaho on a summer day, exploring your own backyard
Not a bad view with or without the berries.

That IS in my backyard!

I sometimes find myself envious of people who get to travel all of the time. Just this week, I was browsing a friend’s Instagram account and had an almost visceral reaction as I looked at his photos and realized how many international adventures he has been on in the time since my last foreign trip. I had to remind myself that that is not my reality and probably never will be. I am lucky to be able to travel as much as I do. And this weekend’s huckleberry picking adventure reminded me that adventure and exploration are not limited to international travel. They can be found all around us if we take the time to search them out.

Purple bowl of purple huckleberries, exploring your own backyard, Idaho

A couple of weekends ago, R and I decided to head to Salt Lake at the last minute to attend a concert (Randy Rogers Band anyone?). We decided to stop along the way and visit some National Historic Sites. These were places R has wanted to visit for years now, but they were never really a priority and just never seemed to fit into the schedule. On this particular trip, we made it happen and our time spent at these sites was very much worth it. It was a great example of exploring your own backyard.

Just think about the cultural, historic, geological, etc. sites you have within your area. Are you taking advantage of them? They could make a great girls’ weekend getaway.

R and I have made a list of things we want to see and do right here in our home state. It is posted on our refrigerator and it feels great whenever we cross an item off. Often, we do not have to go far and most are free. We just have to do a little planning and a little research and we are on our way to exploring. We want to encourage you to do the same. Especially if you are in between big trips like we are.


Just because you may not have the time or resources to go on an epic trip whenever you please, there are still plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploring you own backyard. No matter where you live, there are special and unique offerings. You just have to do a little research. So get out and go explore!

Weekend camping in the Sawtooths

Weekend camping in the Sawtooths

Ahhhhh summer. While not my favorite season, summer weather does mean some pretty great things like rodeos, drive-ins and camping, to name a few. This post will discuss that last one, camping, since C and I recently camped out in just about my favorite place