Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,700.00 ft (518.16 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This loop hike is very close to Sun Valley and Ketchum, making a great half-day workout with spectacular views. Even though the distance is relatively short, expect a tough hike because of the steepness! No matter which direction you hike this loop, you'll have some leg-burning ascents and descents. If your knees have trouble with hills, you'll definitely want trekking poles for this one. Also be sure to wear good shoes, because some sections of trail are loose underfoot.

Despite the difficulties, this hike is very much worth it for those who don't mind quick elevation change. The loop includes a forested canyon, open hillsides, and a windswept rideline with unparalleled views, plus a historic chairlift. Ruud Mountain is actually a ridgeline of the larger Proctor Mountain, but another trail called the Proctor Mountain Loop does not go as high on the mountain as the one described here. By hiking this loop, you’ll get expansive views from high on Proctor Mountain, and you’ll find one of the world’s oldest chairlifts on the Ruud Mountain ridgeline. It’s now derelict and rusty, but still standing––testament to Sun Valley's legendary history as a ski resort.

To start this hike, drive to the end of Fairway Road in Sun Valley. Houses line the road, but the trailhead has a designated parking area on the road shoulder. Please respect private property and park only where allowed. From the trailhead, a short and steep uphill gets the legs warm right away, then you must choose which to tackle first––the canyon or the ridge. Going up the canyon is better on a hot day because it's somewhat shaded, while the ridge is all exposed. The canyon is also a more gradual ascent than the ridge. However, the ridge is so steep (and a little loose) that you may find it tougher to come down than to go up. So pick your poison at the junction: go straight ahead to start with the canyon, or turn right to start up the ridge.

Either way, you'll experience sweeping views all along the hike. The canyon is forested with young aspens and old-growth conifers, and also has open hillsides overlooking Sun Valley. Broad switchbacks climb out of the canyon to reach a saddle, then the gradient lessens for a bit. The trail does not reach the summit of Proctor Mountain, but crosses a level shoulder with a side trail to an overlook. After that, the trail descends steeply to meet the ridgeline called Ruud Mountain. A brief uphill reaches the highpoint of this ridgeline, where you'll get the best view yet over Sun Valley, Ketchum, and the modern ski resort on Bald Mountain. From there begins the super-steep downhill to return to the trailhead, passing the historic chairlift along the way.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Close to town. Great views.

Cons

Steep. Loose trail surface in places.

Trailhead Elevation

6,040.00 ft (1,840.99 m)

Highest point

7,630.00 ft (2,325.62 m)

Features

Family friendly
Historically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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