Mountain biking in Sun Valley is a ton of fun. With 3,100 vertical feet and 32 miles of trail, the resort offers a great day of riding at a reasonable cost.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 17 Trails, 32 Miles of Lift Accessed Trails
Trailhead(s): Sun Valley Resort
Elevation Gain: 3,100 Vertical Feet of Lift Accessed Riding, Gain Dependent on Ride Choices but Mostly Downhill Riding
Trail Type: Lift Accessed Resort Trail System
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
Permit Required? No
Considerations: Lift Tickets Range from $30 – $45 for Full Day (2019)
Mountain biking in Sun Valley, Idaho is a ton of fun. With 3,100 vertical feet and 32 miles of trail, the Sun Valley Resort offers mountain bikers plenty of adventure and variety for a day of riding at a reasonable cost.
Why I Like Mountain Biking in Sun Valley
Admittedly, I am not one who seeks out lift accessed riding. Sun Valley, however, is one of the locations I make sure to hit when I am in the area. At $45 (2019) for an adult day pass, the price is definitely reasonable compared with prices at other mountain bike parks for the experience returned. Additionally, unlike some other parks where you pay through the nose to stand in line all day and get a couple of runs, I have never encountered a line of more than a couple of people to go up on the lifts. Perhaps this is because there is so much good, free riding in the area around Sun Valley. Either way, I believe the Sun Valley Resort delivers true value for the cost of a lift ticket.
A gondola takes riders from the bottom to about two-thirds up the mountain. From here mountain bikers can access all of the lower trails on the mountain. There is also the option to jump on the Christmas chair lift and go to the top of the mountain at 9,150′ to access two of the longest trails on Bald Mountain, as well as some shorter trails that connect to the mid-mountain trails.
Sun Valley’s Mountain Biking Trails
The beauty of Sun Valley is that the lifts are not crowded and the trails are set-up to enable serious riders to hit most of the mountain in a day. For the less gung-ho, it is easy to take a casual approach to the trails and just focus on a few. Most of the mountain is at an intermediate level, but in the White Cloud Trails area some great trails for beginners. Experts can have it all and experience great riding, but note there is only one black diamond trail on the mountain.
My Favorite Trails
Hands down, my favorite Sun Valley mountain biking trails are the Cold Springs and Warm Springs trails. At 6.7 mi/2,579′ descent and 8.3 mi/2,396′ descent, respectively, they are a blast to ride. Both start at the top of the Christmas lift with Cold Springs following the left face of the mountain and Warm Springs following the back side and right face. Both are fast and cut along the mountain side. Be careful, though, as neither are patrolled or swept and they contain a good amount of shale to keep your speed in check.
The mid-mountain trails are also fun, although shorter, more bike park oriented, and more crowded. Of particular note are Mindbender and Saddle Up, which are intermediate freeride oriented trails with jumps and berms, and the Pale Rider Trail, which is Sun Valley’s newest and only black diamond trail. If you have the skills, I highly recommend hitting all three of these.
Mountain biking in Sun Valley is really fun. I wouldn’t spend more than a day riding the trails at the resort on any given trip, but they are absolutely worth riding for a day and you will get good value for the price of a lift ticket. Go experience the trails at the Sun Valley Resort, then get out and ride some of the other outstanding trails in the surrounding area that are free. Enjoy!
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Additional Information (Click below to follow links.)
- Sun Valley Map PDF Link (slow load so be patient)
Sun Valley Mountain Biking Slideshow
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