Sun Valley is the perfect alternative to Colorado’s ritzy resort areas, especially in summer when costs and visitor numbers are smaller. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, cultural events, and great food abound. In winter, world-class skiing can be had at the first purpose-built ski resort in the US, and you can ride the lifts with swanky Hollywoodsters in a refined and pretty place, sans fast-food joints and condo sprawl. Also absent: crowds and lift lines!
The stunning location is as impressive as the snow, and nearby Ketchum retains its authenticity and rustic beauty despite the seasonal deluges. A bit further on, Stanley – which might be the most scenic town in the US – is nestled on the crook of the Salmon River, thus a perfect launch site for killer rafting with the aptly named Sawtooth Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop.
Ernest Hemingway, who is buried here, had a deep affection for Sun Valley, and allegedly completed For Whom the Bell Tolls in the Sun Valley Lodge’s room 206 in between fishing and hunting excursions with buds Gary Cooper and Clark Gable.