Peaks abound in this forested valley situated in the heart of the Big Wood River basin of central Idaho. Sun Valley is hailed as one of the world's premier ski locations, and lays claim to some seriously big names in winter sports. In the warmer months, travelers flock here from many of the major metropolitan areas in the west in search of hiking and biking, culture and the arts. Pleasantly isolated from most major cities, the nearest big town is just under three hours' drive away, Boise, Idaho, while Sun Valley itself has become a haven for film-buffs and boutique shoppers looking for something a little different.
Photo by spdorsey/Flickr
One of the undisputed top American ski resorts, Sun Valley was the first place to install a fully-functioning chair lift way back in 1936. The real variety of runs that's on offer on the slopes between Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain to the south mean there's something for every skill level here. Altogether, Sun Valley has 41 ski runs serviced by 10 lifts on more than 2,000 skiable acres with a 3200-foot vertical drop.
Perhaps one of the best-loved outdoor attractions in Sun Valley, the meandering path of the shallow river trail makes its way from the Boulder Mountain highlands to the valley bottoms of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Many have hailed the region as unparalleled in beauty and one of the nation's prime locations for freshwater fishing.
Named one of America's best "Small Art" towns, Sun Valley lives definitely up to its reputation. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts has become a focal point of innovation and creativity here since it was founded in 1971. Today the center plays host to a variety of cultural activities and events, from film showings and production workshops, to presentations by the in-house theater troupe, Company of Fools.