A favorite paved path linking Ketchum, Hailey and Bellvue.”
— Megan Wilder
Features: River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers
This wide, smooth, paved multi-use path is part of the Wood River Trail System. It can be traveled in sections, in any direction, and is well marked with wooden signposts at each junction, making getting lost a near impossibility. Drivers are generally very courteous to path users, but use caution at the numerous crossings. Benches, water fountains, toilets and emergency phones are scattered along its length, making this path a user-friendly undertaking.
If done in the north to south (Ketchum to Hailey to Bellevue) direction, the path is a gentle downhill trek, and takes in the varied scenery of the Wood River Valley. Starting north at mile 0 (Hulen Meadows), enjoy listening to the rushing waters of the Big Wood River before dipping down through a lovely, fence-lined, wooded section. The hillside views open up and highway noises increase for several miles of travel along a tree-lined stretch into Ketchum. Pass through the industrial northern reaches of Ketchum, skirting downtown to the west and finally through a quieter, residential part of town. Numerous feeder paths from neighborhoods join the main Wood River Trail throughout its entirety.
After two tunnels near mile 5 and a detour behind St. Luke's Hospital, the path enters a peaceful wooded area where huge mansions are tucked in the trees. Interpretive signs at the Trestle Bridge, Railroad Bridges, and Boxcar Bend offer informative history lessons and benches give an excuse to take a rest. Around mile 9, the valley widens and trees recede, making the path sunny and more exposed. Keep an eye out for the interesting representation of the solar system painted on the western edge of the path- the sun and planets are shown sized to scale with relative distances from the sun measured out.
The Wood River path leaves Highway 75 and parallels Buttercup Road past the Valley Club golf course, hay fields and ranches on its approach to Hailey. At about mile 14, the path traverses the town of Hailey on 5th Avenue and passes the airport before leaving town. The remainder of the path to Bellevue is not as pleasant due to its proximity to the highway, but it gets points for agricultural splendor. Note: bikes are allowed on this trail.