This was a (literal) turning point in our trip: Initially we’d planned to scoot farther west, to see Crater Lake and Lassen Volcanic, visit some friends in Oregon and Reno, and return to Great Basin… and then all those forest fires all over the West happened. To dodge the smoke, we rerouted the middle section of our trip and added in more Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. We were disappointed to miss Oregon, California, and Nevada, but then we wouldn’t have gotten to some pretty incredible destinations, including our new favorite town, which I’ll get to in, uh, seven more posts. 🙂
Ketchum is a cute, posh little ski town, with a walkable downtown full of restaurants, bars, and shops. The resort area of Sun Valley is five minutes away, and Hailey, with another cool little strip of bars and restaurants, is a fifteen-minute drive.
While playing tourist, Bugsy and I particularly enjoyed visiting Ernest Hemingway’s booze-and-pennies-decorated grave (seems random, but he lived there for a few years before he died), and the really impressive Wood River Trail running along the Big Wood River for over twenty miles. The trail is a paved, multi-use rails-to-trails path connecting Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey, and Bellevue. What a wonderful asset for those towns!
We stayed at Meadows RV Park just outside the main drag in Ketchum, and happily did not have neighbors immediately adjacent to us because the campsites are tight! And they’re oriented so that neighbors share yards, which Bugsy doesn’t like. But overall we enjoyed our stay there.
Our hiking goals for Ketchum were: 1) scenery, 2) proximity to town, and 3) not too long. J had to work quite a bit during our stay, so the idea was to rush him out for short hikes when he was able to get away. These three hikes all fit the bill.
The Taylor Canyon Loop is a beautiful 4.4-mile jaunt through the woods and along the rim of a canyon. The views are spectacular! Go early to miss the crowds: when we started there were only three other cars in the lot, and it was full when we left. This hike is dog-friendly.
Bugsy and I did the Proctor Loop while J was working and it was perfect: short (3.5 miles), not too hard (I hiked with a latte in my hand), close to the campground (it’s in Sun Valley), and everyone had their dogs off-leash! We went clockwise to get the big climb over with at the beginning. Again, get there early as the parking area is small and fills up quickly.
White Cloud Nine is another short (4 miles), close-to-home (in Sun Valley again) hike with views. It’s not the most scenic hike as you can see a golf course and houses along half of it, and part of the hike is along the road, but you still get the gorgeous Sawtooths (Sawteeth?) backdrop. According to AllTrails dogs aren’t allowed, but we did not see any signage about dogs. Bugsy stayed at home anyway since she hiked Proctor in the morning, but we would take her if we went again. There were more mountain bikes on this trail than the others we did, so maybe that’s a reason to leave your pup at home. Overall, it was a very pleasant and convenient hike, and would make a great trail run. We went clockwise for the views into the mountains rather than back over Ketchum.
Other hikes we considered: Adams Gulch, an 6.1-mile loop, and Chocolate Gulch, a 5.3-mile loop, both very close to Ketchum. We recommend picking one of those instead of White Cloud Nine if you have the time!
Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum has a dog-friendly patio and very friendly staff. We weren’t super excited about our flight of IPAs and gose, but had a nice visit.
Ketchum has another brewery that’s also a distillery; I wrote about it under Cocktails below. Hailey has two breweries, but we didn’t get good vibes from the one that was open, and J uttered the shocking words, “you know, we don’t *have* to get a drink here just because it’s a brewery.” But… but… that’s what we do! Hailey has some nice patios (remember, we wanted to be outside because of stupid Covid), but none seemed to have good beers or a full bar.
Warfield Distillery is the one that’s also a brewery. It’s in the middle of downtown Ketchum, with great outdoor seating for watching the bustle of town. The cocktails, using Warfield’s own spirits, were good! We really liked the scene at our little open-air table. J found their IPA tasty too.
This was a fun stop: after hiking White Cloud Nine, and staring at the fancy-pants houses in the resort, we wondered if there was a bar within the resort that’s open to the public during the shoulder season. Yes! We had a cocktail at The Duchin Lounge on their huge covered patio overlooking an ice skating rink (which featured surprisingly talented figure skaters among the teetering tourists–maybe a local club or team practice?) and pretended we were sophisticated resort people.
Java on Fourth was my go-to for coffee both mornings in Ketchum. Ordering from the walk-up window was easy and fast, and the food menu looks delicious.
We wanted healthy food for dinner, and after scouring the googles we ordered carryout from Town Square Tavern to eat at the campsite with Bugsy. It was super yummy and just what we were after. They have a large patio for Covid-safe outdoor dining.
As we pulled out of town headed to our next destination, we stopped at Bigwood Bread Cafe for lunch to go (we actually ordered from the breakfast menu). Fantastic food, no picture of sad eating-in-car scene.
Nona’s food truck was parked smack dab in the middle of Ketchum with some outdoor seating and FISH TACOS. But they were out of fish tacos when I tried to order them!!! NOOOOOO
Another one to try next time: tacos, cocktails, and views from the patio at Barrio 75!
We had a blast in Ketchum and expect to return as we loved the hiking in Idaho so much that we need to go back for more. So what’s the moral of this story? Having to reroute to Plan B isn’t always a bad thing, and in our opinion creating a new plan on the fly is part of the fun of RV travel!