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Wood River Trail
Details (5/25/2024)
Status: Open
Difficulty: Beginner
Uses: Mt Biking & Hiking & Equestrian & Road Biking & eBikes
Length: 20 miles
Start: 5,939'
End: 5,163'
Min: 5,163'
Max: 5,939'
Gain: 278'
Loss: -1,056'
Elevation Profile
// track pieces: 875, // elevation pieces: 875
Trailhead Forecast (5/25/2024)
Description / Access Information
Wood River Trail: This paved multi-use pathway is an outstanding recreational resource for the valley. Conceptualized by a group of visionary citizens and realized by the BCRD, the main artery of the WRT is now over 20 miles of year round trails linking Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. The trail system connects our community, our history and our visitors through running, biking, fishing and skiing as it helps to enhance our quality of life here in the Wood River Valley.

SELF-GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR
The Wood River Trail System was built on a corridor of history—from Wood River Valley’s mining heritage of the 1880s, to the sheep ranchers who drove their bands through this corridor in the 1930s, to the years of travel by Union Pacific Railroad 'ski-trains' in the ’50s and ’60s. In the mid 1970s planning for a rails-to-trails conversion began.

Interpretive signs along the trail help to keep the history of the area alive. Those that are already installed are so labeled. Just zoom into the map and scroll your mouse over the "i" or information markers. Others, that have not been installed are available for sponsorship. You can also download a full pdf list here, for more info on parking, trailheads, restrooms, adjoining parks, or nearby access points to the Big Wood River. Or pick up a hard-copy list and map of the trail around town.
  1. ADAMS GULCH Interpretive Sign - Tells how Sun Valley and Bald Mountain became a world-class ski resort.
  2. KETCHUM DEPOT Interpretive Sign - The very spot where Union Pacific Railroad chair Averell Harriman got out of his private rail car for the first time, donned a pair of wooden skis and trekked through fresh powder into what was then the Brass Ranch. (Sign designed by the Community School students)
  3. THE PHILADELPHIA SMELTER - Near the confluence of Warm Springs Creek and the Big Wood River stood the Philadelphia Smelter. Built on 400 acres of land in 1881, the smelter was a processing plant for silver and consisted of four furnaces, charcoal kilns, boarding houses and administrative buildings. It was here where Idaho’s first electric lights were turned on. Following the decline of mining, the smelter closed permanently in 1893.
  4. TIMBER TRESTLE BRIDGE Interpretive Sign - This bridge, which crosses Trail Creek, at one time was the oldest bridge in Idaho (built in 1883). In 1994, the bridge was rebuilt as part of the rails-to-trails conversion of the right-of-way to recreational use.
  5. RANCHES - ln the area east of the Wood River and south of Ketchum, several working stock ranches and small hay farms operated in the early 1900s, including the Farnlun, Coy/Reinheimer, and Lane ranches. Memories of this way of life are preserved at the Reinheimer Ranch, where a private park foundation and land trust was established in 1976.
  6. TRIUMPH TRAM LINE - In 1926 a tram line was constructed from the Triumph Mine complex in East Fork Canyon. The line ran west through Elkhorn Gulch, across what is now the highway, to a lower rail terminal south of the location of the Ketchum Rail Depot. During the l950s, the tram line was dismantled and hauled to Salt Lake City.
  7. THE PEGRAM RAILROAD BRIDGES Interpretive Signs - The 208-foot Cold Springs bridge south of Ketchum and the 217-foot Gimlet bridge south of East Fork are two of the country’s last remaining engineering legacies developed and patented by George Pegram. There are only ten of these bridges surviving in the United States, seven of which are located in Idaho.
  8. COLD SPRINGS RANCH Interpretive Sign — Near the end of the mining era the first bands of sheep from the Snake River Basin were trailed along this route through the Wood River Valley over Galena Summit to summer pastures in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin. Basque herders passed through here on what used to be the Cold Springs Ranch. Portions of this well-worn trail, still used today, can be seen on the hillside to the west.
  9. BOXCAR BEND Interpretive Sign — Named for Union Pacific boxcars which were lowered into the river in 1965 and filled with large boulders, this site is a popular
    fishing access point.
  10. EAST FORK MINES Interpretive Sign — Of the three mines operating out East Fork Canyon between 1936 and 1957, the Triumph Mine was the greatest producer, bringing in over $20
    million dollars. South of East Fork Road was the townsite of Gimlet, which by 1882 sported four houses, a post office and a saloon.
  11. ZINC SPUR — A drop-off point for the Oregon Short Line Railroad was a small terminus at Zinc Spur located west of the Hiawatha canal and north of Indian Creek. At this site, a foundry was built where galena, not zinc, was processed and loaded onto rail cars.
  12. HAILEY DEPOT Interpretive Sign - At the turn of the century, Hailey functioned as an important trade center for the mining and livestock industries. Between Croy and Walnut Streets, a depot stood along the tracks that connected Shoshone to Ketchum.
    (Designed by the Community School students)
  13. NORTH BELLEVUE — Mineral explorations along the foothills, side
    canyons, and tributary valleys of the Wood River caused great excitement beginning in 1878. Mining extended from Ketchum to Bellevue including (just west of here) the Mineral Hill District, home of the Minnie Moore, Bullion, and Croesus Mines.
  14. BELLEVUE — Once a lively camp of tents, wagons and willow shanties, this
    hamlet grew into one of Idaho’s only chartered cities in 1883 while under
    territorial government. The Bellevue Depot was located where Second Street becomes a gravel road at the south end of Bellevue.



*For more detailed descriptions, topo maps, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers of the Wood River Valley pick up a copy of Exploring Sun Valley online or find it at one of several local shops.