Planning a summer vacation to Sun Valley? Here’s what you need to know
Sun Valley in Idaho is a famous ski resort – one of the best in the world, in fact – but it has a lot more to offer than powdery snow and black diamond runs. Sun Valley is a truly vibrant place during the summer months. Once the winter sports enthusiasts leave, a whole new set of adventurers, adrenaline junkies, artists and photographers arrive. Not to mention a few celebrities looking for an idyllic place to hole up for a few days, away from the paparazzi.
Here is our guide to booking a summer vacation in Sun Valley. Make sure you read it before you look at Sun Valley, Idaho rentals.
The Best Time to Visit Sun Valley
There is no bad time to visit Sun Valley. The weather is perfect all year round. The resort has a mountain desert climate, which means the days are warm in summer, but the evenings are cool. Rainfall is minimal during July and August, so you can leave your raincoat at home. The air is always crisp and dry, so it’s a great climate for anyone with respiratory problems.
During the summer, you can expect around 15 hours of sunlight per day, so if you are an early bird, you have many happy hours of exploring to look forward to. In fact, this is one of the reasons why this amazing place is called Sun Valley! However, as lovely as all that sunshine is, don’t forget to apply plenty of SPF, or you will catch a nasty case of sunburn.
Temperatures in May and June are a pleasant 62-71 degrees Fahrenheit. In July and August, it’s hotter, with daily temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. September is a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it drops down in October to around 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Because this is a mountain climate, however, it can get very cold at times, so bear this in mind. It’s best to pack some warm layers, especially if you are planning to hike up to higher altitudes.
Summer Activities in Sun Valley
There is no shortage of activities to do in Sun Valley during the summer months. It all depends on your fitness levels and how active you want to be. If you feel like relaxing, that’s OK. You can go fly fishing, play a round of golf on one of the three scenic courses, or mooch around in the shops before a lazy lunch in one of the many restaurants and cafes in town.
Here are some more fun things to do.
Visit the Sun Valley Lodge
The Sun Valley resort was built in 1936, with the Sun Valley Lodge the jewel in its crown. The hotel has recently undergone a full renovation program, but it’s still just as charming as ever. You don’t need to book a room in the hotel to pay a visit and soak up some of the history. Walk inside this iconic hotel and check out the many photographs of famous visitors, including Clark Gable and Ernest Hemingway. Actually, speaking of Hemingway, you can visit his memorial and grave when in Sun Valley. Hemingway spent several months living at the Sun Valley Lodge and it proved to be very inspirational to him.
There is a bowling alley on-site, a piano lounge with evening entertainment, and an ice-skating rink where you can catch shows in the summer. There is also a day spa if you need some relaxation time.
Hiking is one of the area’s top pursuits in the summer. Explore the backcountry on your own or join a guided hike. There are hiking trails to suit all abilities and fitness levels. Depending on when you visit Sun Valley, you may be greeted with acres of wildflowers when you hit the trails.
If you are feeling up to a bit of a climb, give the Pioneer Cabin hike a go. This trail is 8.5 miles long, which isn’t too long, but you will ascend 2,500 feet in less than four miles, so it’s classed as an intermediate route. However, this hiking trail is one of the most popular thanks to the stunning views at the top of the loop.
Fancy a swim in an alpine lake? If so, hike to Titus Lake. Start from the Galena Summit trailhead. The lake is an easy 1.5-mile walk across a mostly flat terrain. This hike is great for the family, as kids won’t find it too taxing and a swim in the crystal-clear Titus Lake is a wonderful payoff for a bit of effort.
For those who love a challenge, the Bald Mountain Trail is a hard-core climb over five miles and ascending 3,200 feet to the summit. If you are all out of puff when you reach the top, have a breather, take some selfies, and then hop on a ski lift back down.
Many of the trails are perfect for mountain biking too. The Greenhorn to Imperial Gulch trail is a 14.9-mile epic run. Cycle through wildflower meadows and enjoy spectacular views of the Pioneer Mountains. There are a few challenging sections and downhill stretches, so keep your wits about you.
Bikes can be hired from outlets in town if you don’t want to take your own set of wheels. Local bike shops will also give you trail maps and guides. Once you have a bike, use it to get around town.
Adrenaline junkies won’t be able to resist a whitewater rafting adventure on the Upper Salmon River. This is a Class IV section, so expect narrow passages, turbulent water, and long rapids. All in all, you should have a lot of fun! If this is a bit much for you, there are some calmer Class II and III sections.
Anyone with an interest in the arts will find plenty to keep them occupied in Sun Valley. There are around 20 art galleries in the local area. You should also make time for the Sun Valley Symphony Orchestra Festival in August.
Summer is a special time to visit Sun Valley, so pack your camera and some hiking shoes, and enjoy your vacation!