Outdoors Blog

Sun Valley’s family-friendly snowshoe trails offer serene setting, Hemingway Memorial

While I was in town to report the pond hockey feature that ran in Tuesday’s paper, I took my family snowshoeing at Sun Valley Resort. The hilly White Clouds loop was closed — and still is — because of too much snow.

That left the Bridges and Hemingway trails as our best options. And while I initially was concerned that the flatter trails wouldn’t be as much fun as the adventure of hiking up and down large hills, we still enjoyed the peaceful, serene walk through the woods and (several times) over Trail Creek.

The trails are on the same property as the Trail Creek golf course (Sun Valley’s traditional course) and are supported by the golf clubhouse. Snowshoe passes are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and older and free for children under 12.

We set out going northeast from the clubhouse along the Bridges trail, which is a loop. But we added the short jaunt to the Hemingway Memorial, which is about a half-mile round trip add-on. That includes a short but steep climb to the monument honoring writer Ernest Hemingway, who died in Ketchum in 1961. Much of the monument, including a stream that runs in front of it, was buried in snow but someone had cleared the front of it, revealing most of the words: “Best of all he loved the fall, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies ... Now he will be a part of them forever.”

Back on the Bridges trail, we walked on a path that was about 2 feet below the top of the snowpack and was still soft in spots because of the heavy recent snowfall in the area. Much of the trail sits about 100 feet below the clubhouse, so there was a bit of a climb on the way back, but not much. Our round trip was 3.1 miles with 275 feet of total elevation gain. There is a ski trail called Short Cut that you could use to shorten the loop. The first half of the hike has the most enjoyable setting.

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Another snowshoeing option: Stargaze Point north of Idaho City.