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Idaho: Best mountain bike rides at Sun Valley (yes, the trails are open)

Idaho: Best mountain bike rides at Sun Valley (yes, the trails are open)
Cyclists climb Bald Mountain at Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho. (Sun Valley Resort)

Lift-served mountain biking on Sun Valley's towering Bald Mountain has opened, with access to more than 32 miles of trails at the Idaho ski resort. The Roundhouse gondola opened to hikers in late June — and for diners at the historic Roundhouse restaurant — but biking was delayed until July because of elk calving on the trails.

Julian Tyo, Sun Valley's summer trails coordinator, said trails are in excellent condition.

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(When I got to test out one of the flow trails that descended from the top of the mountain late last month, I found that crews had buffed them to a smooth condition, with lots of rollers — and at least a half-dozen sharp hairpin turns — to keep things fun and exciting.)

Lift-accessed trails on Bald Mountain are a great complement to the surrounding mountain bike trail network in and around the resort and the town of Ketchum, Tyo says.

Summer bicycling season on Sun Valley's Bald Mountain ends Sept. 5.
Summer bicycling season on Sun Valley's Bald Mountain ends Sept. 5. (Sun Valley Resort)

Sun Valley Bike Park's perimeter trails — Warm Springs and Cold Springs — offer 3,100 feet of descent back to the valley below. The Saddle Up and Lupine free-ride trails offer cyclists a more contemporary, machine-built flow experience.

New this season is a skills loop at the base of River Run for novice riders. Tyo says it's an ideal place for riders to improve their technique, along with giving young riders a chance to play in the woods on pedal-free strider bikes.

Adult lift tickets for a full-day pass cost $39; kids and seniors cost $27. Summer passes are $359 for adults and $229 for those 19 and younger. The bike lift operates daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 5. For more details, see Sun Valley's biking Web page.

If cruising around town is more your style, Sun Valley's Wheels and Wine Tour is back for another season.

The guided ride winds through Sun Valley at a leisurely pace, covering history and insights into the area before ending with a wine tasting. Cost is $49 per person and includes a bike rental.

For more information and to make a reservation, call the Outdoor Adventure Center at Pete Lane's Mountain Sports at (208) 622-2281.

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