Hike Proctor Mountain Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

Storied Trail

Hike Proctor Mountain Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

If ever there was a fairy trail, this 6.8-mile lollipop loop on Sun Valley’s Proctor Mountain is it. The Proctor Mountain Trail is a storied route in more ways than one, starting with its tranquil oasis memorial for a famous writer, Ernest Hemingway (who is buried at the Ketchum Cemetery).

The Hemingway Memorial in Sun Valley Idaho

Hiker among wildflowers at Proctor Mountain Trail in Sun Valley

Two hikers looking out at mountain scenery on the Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

Summer features sea-foam-colored hills flowing in alpine wildflowers, especially the yellow vibrance of the black-eyed Susan. Monarch butterflies flit across your path, and aspens and evergreens bring whimsy (and much-needed shade on hot days!). It’s the glorious mountain-to-valley scenery that really soars here, though you’ve gotta work for the panoramic payoff!

Hiker on ridge at Proctor Mountain Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

This hike is a challenge, especially if you’re not acclimated yet to the altitude (we say this from experience!). In other words, you may be huffing and puffing too much to belt out a beautiful song while you twirl in ecstasy … but the panorama of mountains is breathtaking on its own. The trail starts at the Ernest Hemingway Memorial and slips alongside matcha-colored slopes festooned in florals, up to features like a small old cabin and the site of the world’s first chairlift.

Hemingway Memorial sign in Sun Valley Idaho

We recommend doing this loop counterclockwise, which means you’ll have to climb, steeply in some parts, but then enjoy a gentler descent and, in our view, better panoramas on the ridge, easily the highlight (you’ll know it when you walk it). Solid golden.

Person looking out to Bald Mountain from the Proctor Mountain Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

BONUS EATS: Post-hike we pretty much guarantee you’re going to be hungry, and you might start feeling grumpy if you don’t eat. Beeline for Grumpy’s, a favorite for locals and visitors alike. This isn’t just any Grumpy’s, it’s the original—unassumingly, and unabashedly, tucked in Ketchum. Head into the small roadside-style bar and restaurant to find the cure for all that “ales” you (fresh, cold beer!) and satisfy your appetite too (hamburgers, chili cheese fries, and their popular corndog). Grab a picnic table on their enclosed outdoor patio and devour your tasty meal.

Doorway to Grumpys restaurant in Sun Valley Idaho

Get more trip ideas and inspiration for visiting Sun Valley, Idaho!

Park at the Hemingway Memorial lot on Sun Valley Rd. We recommend hiking counterclockwise. Bring a map. Be sure to be acclimated to the elevation before doing this hike. Dog-friendly.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Golden Gate's Blue Heron

    Golden Gate Park’s Blue Heron Lake is home to birds of many feathers, turtles lounging on rocks, visitors from afar, and locals who love this urban oasis in San Francisco. Try the "Boats and Breakfast" rowboat or pedal boat deal.

    View
  2. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hike Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 13 sites and no motorized boats.

    View
  2. Fancy Camp

    Wanna go rugged on the coast, minus the whole pitching your own tent and sleeping on the ground bit? Mendocino Grove is spot-on for upgrading your roughing-it experience, with beautifully appointed tent-cabins set across the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay.

    View
  3. A Splash of Whiskeytown

    Located just 8 miles west of Redding and surrounded by mountain peaks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is nearly 40,000 acres of all things outdoors: waterfalls, campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, and a beautiful crystal-clear lake at the center of it all.

    View
  4. Bucks Up!

    Come on in, the water is beautiful. Whether you like swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, or heading out on a bigger boat, Bucks Lake is a high mountain haven that’s easy to access, blissfully uncrowded, and surrounded by sandy beaches, picnic areas, pines, and aspens.

    View