It’s all about the moon, the stars and the mountains on this epic adventure. Explore a parallel universe, conquer the turns of Idaho’s rugged mountains, and settle in to view the dazzling night sky as you’ve never seen it before.
What to Do
Start your adventure with an out-of-this-world experience at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Located near Arco, this vast stretch of land is covered by lava flows, cinder cones and other unique volcanic characteristics. Drive along Loop Road to get the full view of the park. The seven-mile loop provides access to some of the park’s most stunning landscapes as well as quick access to trails that will take you up and around various volcanic features. If you have more time to explore, stop in at the visitor center to learn about the geology of this area and to pick up your free, but required, permit to explore five caves within the park. The largest cave is the 800-foot-long Indian Tunnel that features a spectacular natural skylight. Extend your visit overnight by pitching a tent at the Lava Flow Campground and then wait until the sun goes down. Craters of the Moon is a designated International Dark Sky Park, meaning the stars shine unbelievably bright here, unhindered by light pollution.
Grab your bike and tackle the extensive trail system in and around Ketchum. If you combine all the trail options, you’ll be looking at around 400 miles of trail to tame. The mountain biking here is highly revered, but you can also hike and horseback these paths if you choose. If you don’t have the gear to hit the trails, don’t sweat it. There are a variety of rental shops around the area to help you out.
After a day of riding, head into the heart of Ketchum for a well-deserved bite to eat. Warfield Distillery & Brewery serves up delectable dishes of sustainably sourced food paired with craft beer concoctions like Goat Sweater Amber and handcrafted cocktails using Warfield’s own small-batch gin, vodka and brandy. The rooftop deck is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the views of Bald Mountain and celebrate a day of adventure.
The legacy of Ernest Hemingway lives on in the Wood River Valley and there are a few ways you can learn more about this well-known author. The Hemingway Memorial overlooks the peaceful Trail Creek at a site just about a mile and a half from the Sun Valley Lodge. Stop in at The Community Library to explore books by and about Ernest Hemingway, and don’t forget to take a stroll through the Hemingway collection on display at the Sun Valley Museum of History. Head over to the Ketchum Cemetery to find Hemingway’s final resting place or check out this self-guided tour to learn more about the man and his ties to the area.
Dark skies are the star of the show in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The hiking and camping options in this area near Stanley are top-notch, to say the least, so if a day hike is all you have time for, you won’t be disappointed. Swing into the Stanley Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce for detailed maps on hiking, biking, camping, and other available experiences. If you have the time to spend a night or two backpacking in this backcountry wilderness, you’ll be treated to a serious nighttime show. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area makes up just a small portion of the 1,416 total square miles of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve– which also includes Ketchum, Sun Valley and Stanley. Central Idaho is home to the first designated International Dark Sky Reserve in the country, which means you’ll find the darkest of night skies here, making it easy to spot the Milky Way, meteors, comets and other space objects.