Autumn is a beautiful time in the Rocky Mountains. The Wood River Valley is an especially wonderful place to discover the amazing array of colors from the fire-orange aspens to the golden cottonwoods, all in contrast to the dark evergreens. Take a stroll in downtown Ketchum or along the trail system and you will see why Ketchum is designated as a “Tree City USA.” Head out of the valley in any direction by bike or by car and you don’t have to go far to feel like you are deep into the wilderness.
Here are few favorite drives for scenic leaf viewing:
Warm Springs Road wanders for several miles along Warm Springs Creek as you drive through cottonwood and aspen groves. If you are feeling adventurous, you can relax at Frenchman’s Hot Springs about 10 miles from Ketchum.
Galena Summit is the high point between Ketchum and Stanley as Highway 75 passes through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The summit is 34 miles north of Ketchum, and along the way there are many places to pull off the road and snap some colorful photos or go for a quick walk through the trees.
Trail Creek Road is paved for a few miles, then turns into a dirt road. Four wheel drive is not required, but good tires are. If you brave the single-lane, rocky road for 20 miles, the summit is well worth the drive as you can look back over the whole valley for a breathtaking view. If you’re not up to the full Trail Creek Road experience, you don’t have to leave the pavement to find a spot among the trees. Follow Trail Creek Road 1.6 miles past Sun Valley Lodge to the parking spot for the Hemingway Memorial and you will find a nice walking path among the trees. Such a fitting place to visit while looking for the turning leaves, because as Ernest Hemmingway said, “best of all, he loved the fall”.
For even more reasons to visit Sun Valley in the fall, click here.