Sunsets and Starry Nights in Sun Valley

Sunsets and Starry Nights in Sun Valley

Sunsets and Starry Nights at the Dark Sky Reserve in Sun Valley Idaho

Two people on a bench at Knob Hill Natural Area in Ketchum

Sunny days give way to starry nights in Sun Valley, and the transition from sunset to dark nights is equally mesmerizing. Sun Valley has the distinction of being part of Central Idaho’s Dark Sky Reserve—the first of its kind in the country. The sky here has a signature clarity thanks to dedicated efforts at limiting light pollution.

Entrance to Knob Hill Natural Area in Ketchum Sun Valley Idaho

We recommend transitioning from sunset to starry night by first grabbing some dinner in downtown Ketchum (we like Warfield Distillery & Brewery, Ketchum Grill, the Wood River Farmers Market, or a Tuesday night Ketch’em Alive event located at Forest Service Park and filled with food and beverage trucks, live music, and pretty much anyone who lives in Ketchum along with visitors).

Two people enjoying beer and food at Warfield Distillery in Ketchum Idaho

River Run Farmers Market in Sun Valley Idaho

Ketch-em' Alive event in Ketchum Sun Valley Idaho

After dinner, walk over to Knob Hill Park and up to a lone bench overlooking downtown. Time it for sunset. Summer light lingers here before slowly settling into an expanse of tangerine and lilac orbs over the mountains.

Person watching sunset from bench at Knob Hill Natural Area in Ketchum Idaho

Then make your way by car to Sun Valley Lake as the stars start to wink in the deepening night. You’ll need a flashlight or headlamp to approach the lake, and then it’s lights out … to let the natural light in … stars glint across the lake, backed by beautiful mountain scenery bathed in moonlight on some nights, or the Milky Way on others. Sun Valley sublime.

starry night over Sun Valley

STAY: There are plenty of options for where to stay in Sun Valley. We liked Hotel Ketchum for its centrality and quirky theme, centered on sheep (including an impressive outside wall mural) modern rooms, dog-friendliness, complimentary bikes (in two-hour intervals), cornhole games, pool, and hangout nook—aptly named The Hangout. Ewe might like it too!

Hotel Ketchum view of pool and mountain scenery

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

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Woman hiking the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands

    Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

  2. Damme Good Camping

    Just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine first-come, first-served environmental campsites can be reached via the Fern Canyon Trail.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais Matt Davis Steep Ravine Dipsea to Stinson Beach

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

  4. Calaveras Giants

    Contending as some of the tallest, mightiest, and most muscular spectacles in the state are the hulking (and beautiful) trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hit the trails to witness spectacular groves of giant sequoia redwoods.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Best of the Summer Fests!

    Outdoor winery events featuring films, food, wine, live music, and Sonoma’s cinematic scenery in the background: now that’s a blockbuster summer weekend!

  2. Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Storied Trail

    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.

  3. Two bikers on the Wood River Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Two Wheels to Zen

    The family-friendly Wood River Trail goes over an historic bridge, past art sculptures and ranch-roaming horses, all amid sprawling green valley and a mountainous backdrop. Roll out from the Farmers Market at River Run Lodge and pedal the 8-mile (round-trip) ride to Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

  4. This Part of the Backbone

    The Ray Miller Trail comprises the final stretch of the Backbone Trail in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park, and makes an idyllic moderate beach hike during spring and early summer.