September 15, 2016

Top 8 Sun Valley Faves

Sun Valley and Idaho have given me so many opportunities and ways to thrive in my photography with a creative, outdoor spirit by having all these inspiring places to go adventure. As I leave Idaho after 8 years for school for Seattle, I wanted to share my top 8 places I've shot and why they're close to my heart.

Recently, Patagonia posted this on Instagram,

"The greatest threat to our planet is the belief someone else will save it."

I hope that those of you living or traveling in Idaho find these places as special as I do... and find reason that our outdoors need protection because of the wonder and inspiration they offer.

*Click on any photo to go to the larger post!

1. Dollar Mountain

This mountain has brought me enormous success, between shooting friends walking in the wildflowers or having them hold the moon. ;) Being so close to town, it's a quick hike (20-30min) but you get a sense of scale of the valley when you're on top. You can look right over Ketchum or look up to Baldy. It's a diverse piece of landscape with lots of places to explore.

2. Bruneau Sand Dunes

These dunes are about a 2 hour drive from the valley, and it takes you to another place. I won't lie, when I first drive up to them, I thought they would be a lot bigger. This doesn't take anything out of what they're like when you start walking on them. It's pretty impressive that they're there, just chilling, in the middle of Idaho. Idaho never fails to impress.

3. Big Fall Creek + Great Falls

These waterfalls make you feel like you're somewhere else. Both of these hikes are super short, (.5 miles), it's just the drive that is a little adventure over Trail Creek. I didn't think Idaho had any waterfalls like those in Oregon or Washington, but man, it does! They're one of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer day.

4. Kane Lake

Ok by far, Kane Lake has the prettiest colored water I have seen so far... The hike is about 7 miles, and worth every step. Along the way, there are waterfalls, cliffs, and amazing panoramic views. You'll definitely forget you're only about 30 minutes from town.

5. Saddleback Lakes and Elephant's Perch

This is considered one of the most difficult trails in the Sawtooth Mountains. It's pretty mellow, on a trail from the Redfish Inlet, until you have to cross a creek to get over to the last 2 miles of the hike. This gets super tricky because there isn't a maintained trail, it's a jumble of mini trails that lead to about the same area. This is definitely a hike for the adventurous but it's SO rewarding. You get to take in the Elephant's Perch, a famous landmark in Idaho, while you explore the many lakes that spread out further into the mountains from there.

6. Norton Lakes

I've been up to Norton Lake (2 miles up) a couple times because of it's proximity to town and it's accessed from the same road as Baker Lake. The last time I hiked it, we decided to go to Upper Norton Lake which was a super quick add on, not longer than 10 minutes. We took a super unconventional route to Big Lost Lake so we could get higher to see more. We made our way over to Smoky Lake and then headed down. Overall, we made it a 10 mile hike. If you just stayed on the loop and didn't add any more walking, it's about 6 miles.

7. Baker Lake

Baker is one of the shortest hikes in the area (about 3 miles), and one of the most popular as well. I've been up there many times but each time still gives me the satisfaction of being in the mountains and being able to go swimming in an alpine lake 10 minutes north of Ketchum. If you find yourself up at the lake at the right time, the water has gorgeous hues of blue and green...

8. Alturas Lake

A 1 hour drive from Ketchum and no need for hiking to get here. You can drive right up and hang out for the day. Loved this lake when I was last there for a sunrise. Many people decide to congregate for sunsets, but I think sunrises hold so much more potential for a great day and they're just as important to be with people you enjoy. This summer I also went sailing up here, and growing up sailing on the Puget Sound, it was still gave you the sense of such a large body of water but added those gorgeous mountain views.

xo, Hallie

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