I visited Ketchum last week for a short camping and mt. bike trip last week and have tips for others interested to do the same. We had an excellent time despite some minor lack of success with some of the trails. It was great to camp 5 miles from town and enjoy the great restaurants and other amenities.
Boundary CG 3 miles East of town looked nice, but was full. This was mid-day on a Tuesday. Consider yourself lucky to nab a spot here (or anywhere close to town) in peak season.
We scored on Warm Springs Road, just West of town. There are a four free sites just 5 miles from town, and more further down the road I think. These are nice sites, but no water or toilets so plan on dry camping. This site is great for access to Adams Gulch and Bald Mountain trails, no driving necessary. Also, it is an easy ride to town (my 6 year old TT'd it.) We did experience strong winds every night that hampered cooking. No a bad thing with all the nice restaurants nearby.
There are lot's of camping opportunities North toward Sawtooth NRA, but these are further from town.
By no means a comprehensive review, I wish I had time to explore more. I think one could ride here for weeks without repeats.
I picked up an Adventure map and some beta from the Cannondale shop on Warm Springs road. I highly recommend this map despite the $12 cost. The cool thing about this area is that most all trails are open to biking. The not so cool thing is that the trails aren't always well suited toward biking. I have to admit that I have gotten spoiled living in Park City, Utah the last 6 years. The trails here were mostly built specifically for XC riding and are unreal. Biking in the Sun Valley area reminded me of the days when I would run a shoulder strap on the inside corner of my frame because of all the hiking.
Adams Gulch: Based on shop advice I headed up Adams Gulch trails from our campsite. I took trail 177 up to the ridge following the Adventure map route. It was hellish! In the last two miles up to the ridge I was hiking as much as riding. The trail appeared rarely used and alternated between scree and overgrowth. I got to the point of noticing that I was riding through fields of nettles and not really caring. The lower part of Adams Gulch is OK, but popular with hikers. I enjoyed the struggle and nice views, but can't say much for the riding.
Galena Lodge (20 miles North of Town): The trails here were also pretty marginal. Steep doubletrack, loose and rutted. The trails are here seem like old motorcycle and jeep tracks.
Bald Mountain: Despite being on the ski resort, the trails here were superb. I rode up Baldy Mountain trail from the River Run lift area. This is an uphill only ride, and the trail was pristine. Really fun tech sections at the bottom and a manageable grind throughout the 3,300ft climb. I then went down Boulevard, which is an OK trail with spectacular views. The Warm Springs trail made for an incredible downhill. I'm used to the lift served trails in PC that get terrorized and are to be avoided: ruts, rocks and braking bumps. This trail was in great shape and is really well designed. Lot's of fast swoopy sections and opportunities for air. Also, the views in the top half are spectacular (2000ft exposure).
Ketchum has many good and affordable restaurants. We enjoyed Smokey Mountain Pizza ($2 pints after 2pm), Wrapcity and Sushi on 2nd. There's also a great market (Atkinsons?) just East of Main on 4th.
I hope to visit again soon, Ketchum is a great biking getaway.
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Thread: Ketchum Trip Report