United States

Sun Valley, ID

A Guide to Running in the Sun Valley Area


Sun Valley is a resort area in central Idaho, known for its skiing and year-round recreation opportunities. It’s adjacent to Ketchum and within the greater Wood River Valley, with the Sawtooth National Recreation Area just to the north. There are fantastic options for running in Sun Valley, including 30 miles of multi-use paths and 400 miles of trails, incorporating mountain views, sagebrush, and flower-filled meadows. Bald Mountain is the principal ski area, anchored by the famed Sun Valley Lodge. The Elkhorn area just to the south includes Dollar Mountain.

Some of the best paths and quieter roads for running include the Wood River Trails, the Sun Valley Trail, Lake Creek Rd., and Broadford Rd. Sun Valley is also heaven for trail running — we’ve included a selection of some of the easy-to-moderate options. We also highly recommend the fantastic BCRD Website, which has detailed information the area’s trails, and updates on their status.

Notes: Sun Valley is located at 5,900 feet, so runners should incorporate the altitude accordingly. Also, much of the running in the area is hilly. The best options for flatter running are adjacent to the Wood River. And in winter, many of the trails will be snow-packed, with some used for nordic skiing. For transportation in the area, Mountain Rides offers complimentary bus service for transportation throughout the Wood River Valley.

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Some of our favorite runs in Sun Valley, ID

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Sun Valley features a mixture of climates, though it’s generally very sunny, with only 17 inches of rain a year. Summers are gorgeous and dry, with average highs in the low 80s (28C). Even in summer, nights can be very cool (30s!), so a layer is often needed. In winter, daytime high temperatures are near freezing, but drop off quickly to near 0F (-18C), so dress accordingly. Unless using grippers, you’ll need to find maintained, sunny sections of road for winter running.

Source: https://en.climate-data.org/north-america/united-states-of-america/idaho/sun-valley-124985/

This is a resort area, so there are numerous lodging options. The iconic place to stay is the Sun Valley Lodge, though there are other luxurious places to stay, plus an assortment of more budget-friendly options and condos.

There are no dedicated running stores in the Sun Valley area, but running gear (especially trail running gear) can be found at Chums, in Brass Ranch Village, and Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports. See the city overview map for details.

Signature events include the Dollar Mountain 10K Trail Run, the Backcountry Run and the Harriman Trail 10-Mile Run.