Adventure April 03, 2014
Take a Hike

Trail Hierarchy: Horses have priority, followed by hikers and then bikers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY (Ages 5 & Under)

 

Sunnyside Trail/ Adams Gulch – Hiking, Horesback, Biking
Close proximity to Ketchum and numerous trail options make the Adams Gulch trail system a local fave. Wee walkers will love chasing grasshoppers down the gently rolling Sunnyside Trail, which winds through sage fields and aspen groves. (2 miles; modest vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Adams Gulch Road and continue 0.9 miles to the trailhead. 

The Shadyside Trail in Adam's Gulch is a locals' favorite quick hike. Photo by Julie Molema.

Prairie Creek Hiking, Horesback, Biking, Dirt Biking
This relatively flat out-and-back trail weaves through shady forest and sprawling meadows. After 1.6 miles, you’ll hit a small gravel beach that’s a fun destination (and perfect turn-around spot) for fledgling hikers. Warning: Toddlers may need to be carried part way and over stream crossings. (3.2 miles; modest vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 18.6 miles. Turn left on Prairie Creek Road and continue 2.6 miles to the trailhead. 

Cow Creek Loop – Hiking, Horesback, Biking Dirt Biking
A small portion of Greenhorn’s Cow Creek Loop, this short yet diverse loop is dotted with aspens, bridge crossings and wildlife. (1.5 miles; 463 ft. vertical gain). From Ketchum, drive south on Highway 75 about 5.5 miles to the East Fork stoplight. Head west on Greenhorn Gulch Road and continue 3.7 miles to the parking lot. (Note: Due to the Beaver Creek Fire, trail may not be fully open this season, check with Sawtooth Ranger District for details.)

 

INTERMEDIATE (Ages 6 to 9)

 

Baker Lake – Hiking, Horesback, Biking
Bursting with Indian paintbrush and lupine, this colorful hike leads to a stunning trout-stocked lake. Fishing anyone? (3.4 miles; 900 ft. vertical gain).  From Ketchum, go north on Highway 75 for 15 miles. Turn left onto Baker Creek Road (between mile markers 143 and 144). Continue for 9.3 miles until the road ends.

Chocolate Gulch – Hiking, Horesback, Biking
While the climb up the gulch could pose a challenge to littler legs, kids over 6 should be able to hack it. Up top, they’ll be rewarded with gorgeous wildflowers and views. After the descent, the trail winds back along the Big Wood River. (4.7 miles; 729 ft. vertical gain). From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 6.9 miles. Turn left on Chocolate Gulch Road and park at the end of the road. 

Titus Lake – Hiking, Horesback, Biking
This gentle out-and-back trail weaves through a shady forest and offers some lovely vistas of the Boulder Mountains and upper Titus drainage. Warning: Don’t plan to picnic at the lake unless you’re fond of mosquitoes. (3.4 miles; 400 ft. vertical gain).  From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 30.1 miles. Just before the Galena summit, turn right and park at the trail sign. Cross the highway to the trailhead. 

 

ADVANCED (Ages 10 to 14)

 

Taylor Canyon Loop – Hiking, Horseback
Despite being minutes from Ketchum, this loop, with spectacular views of the Boulders, Griffin Butte and the Pios, doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic. Don't miss the early summer flowers or fall colors. (4 miles; 1,280 ft. vertical gain).  From Ketchum, drive north on Highway 75 for 3.4 miles. Turn right on Lake Creek Road and continue 1.5 miles to Taylor Canyon Road. Bear left and go 0.4 miles to the trailhead. 

Summit Creek – Hiking, Horseback
Meandering past beaver ponds, avalanche fields and sheer granite walls, this scenic trail may be a bit of a grind. But those who endure (especially the last 500-foot push to the saddle) are rewarded with a killer view of Devil’s Bedstead. (3.8 miles; 1,592 ft. vertical gain).  From Ketchum, drive east on Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road. After 9.3 miles, the paved road turns into a well-graded dirt road. Go another 2.7 miles to Trail Creek Summit. Turn right and park in the large, flat grassy area. 

Proctor Mountain Loop – Hiking
Don’t count on having the trail to yourself on this popular close-to-town hike. But after seeing the panoramic views from the top, you won’t mind sharing.  The trail has unmarked junctions that can be confusing, so bring a guidebook. (5.6 miles; 1,626 ft. vertical gain). From Ketchum, drive east on Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road for 2.8 miles to the Hemingway Memorial.Proctor Mountain Loop offers beautiful views of Baldy. Photo by Julie Molema

Carbonate Mountain – Hiking, Horseback, Biking
Just steps from downtown Hailey, Carbonate, with its sweeping valley views and vibrant spring wildflowers, is understandably popular. Head straight up the ridge (1.1 miles; 1,308 ft. vertical gain) for a thigh-burning hike or walk or bike up the switchbacks (2.1 miles; 1,308 ft. vertical gain). Getting there: From Ketchum, drive south on Highway 75 to Bullion Street. Take a right and go 0.4 miles to the trailhead. (Note: Ground cover is gone due to Beaver Creek Fire, but the area promises to be lush and green with wildflowers again for years to come.)

 

CHALLENGING (Ages 15 & up)

 

 High Ridge Trail – Hiking, Horseback, Biking
An epic hike with gorgeous canyons, rumbling creeks and steep cliffs. But it’s the breathtaking vistas of surrounding 10,000-ft.-plus peaks that make it a “must do.” (7.2 miles, 2,050 ft. vertical gain).  From Ketchum, drive east on Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road for 12.8 miles. Turn left onto an unmarked road just before reaching the Park Creek Campground. Go 1.1 miles and turn left at the High Ridge Trail sign. Go 0.1 mile to the road’s end. 

Hyndman Creek to Wildhorse Saddle – Hiking, Horseback, Biking
This hike follows an old mining road thru aspen groves and wildflower meadows before climbing into a spectacular glaciated basin, past a small lake, and up to jaw-dropping panoramas. The initial 2.3 miles make a great mountain bike ride that can be continued up the switchbacks into Big Basin. (5.6 miles; 3,768 ft. vertical gain). From Ketchum, drive south on Highway 75 for 5.5 miles to the East Fork stoplight. Turn left and drive 6 miles on pavement and 1.3 miles on dirt to the Hyndman Creek junction. Turn left onto Hyndman Creek Road #203 and continue 2.3 miles to the second private drive. Bear left into the creek bottom and left again after crossing the creek. Follow the main road 2.6 miles to the trailhead.

Kane Lake – Hiking, Horseback
A beautiful but taxing hike to a picture-perfect aqua-blue lake surrounded by precipitous walls and 11,000-ft. peaks. The last mile involves scrambling over rock fields. But it’s worth the trouble, as it places you in the heart of the Pioneer Mountains with lots of nooks and crannies begging for exploration. (3.4 miles; 1,717 ft. vertical gain). From Ketchum, head east on Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road for 19.3 miles. Turn right at the Kane Lake sign and continue 4.8 miles to the trailhead (4WD vehicle recommended).