The 30 miles (50 kilometers) of cross-country tracks at the Galena Lodge offer a wide variety of green, blue and black trails just 30 minutes north of the town of Ketchum, Idaho. One of the crown jewels of the Blaine County Recreation District's (BCRD) gigantic trail system, Galena offers a unique experience for anyone who wants get a little further from potential crowds while still having a great restaurant and rental house on location. Three of the trails even allow you to let your dogs run alongside you as you make your way through the exquisitely groomed trails and the seriously stunning scenery.
There are many options for those who prefer their terrain to be as flat as possible and several that are legitimately steep. Regardless of the trail or the difficulty level you prefer, one thing that everyone here gets is a heavy dose of beauty. Galena Peak sits to the east above Senate Meadows, and Gladiator Peak towers to to the north. Both feed several creeks and small rivers that hug the skiable terrain. With 16 different cross-country tracks and a dozen snowshoe trails, there are days and days worth of adventures to be had here. Even if you are staying in Ketchum, the beautiful drive to the lodge is short, and the on-site restaurant and rental facilities for cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment mean you won't have to prepare too heavily to enjoy what feels like an isolated destination. Four yurts are also available for nightly rentals, but they are located along snowshoe trails, not the cross-country tracks. This is a really special place to enjoy active fun in the winter.
Beginners may want to start out from the lodge on the Gladiator Creek Loop or the Senate Meadows Loop. Cross Highway 75 to check out the Titus Creek area to get the heart pumping on some intermediate trails; if you are really experienced, Psycho, Rip and Tear, and Cherry Ridge will challenge even serious cross-country skiers. Skate skiing as well as traditional Nordic cross-country are both available thanks to the pre-cut tracks alongside the groomed open paths. Dogs are allowed on the North Wood River, Cabin Loop and Titus Creek Loop runs, but make sure to stop and clean up after them along the way. You can purchase an annual BCRD pass online or pay the day use fee at the lodge.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.
They named it Sun Valley for good reason. Welcome to a land with 250 days of sunshine a year with a constant stream of opportunities to put more adventures and experiences on your "Done That" list. After all, the Vitamin D comes free; the hardest part might be figuring out how to do it all!