When the lifts shut down in America’s mountain towns, out come the flip-flops, microbrews, and inner tubes. For a real recharge this summer, spend some time at altitude.
Ketchum sits beside the second-largest roadless area in the Lower 48 – the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness – making it one of the most isolated spots in the country. Heading into the wild is as easy as driving over Galena Summit to Redfish Lake, where the crisp blue water reflects the Sawtooth Range's most impressive peaks. Stare at it from its wide, sandy beach or tour it on horseback.
In town, a strict building code keeps hillsides and ridgelines free of development, yet it remains surprisingly lively. The town has long been an escape for the rich and famous, firm in the belief that isolation needn't come at the expense of a good martini and a decent symphony (Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks have homes here). On any given evening, there's a good chance you'll stumble upon a free outdoor jazz concert in one of the town's half-dozen parks or at the new $35 million Sun Valley Pavilion. Hit the Roundhouse, a repurposed vintage ski lodge at 7,700 feet, for a preconcert meal, and the roof deck at Roosevelt Grille for that martini afterward.
Getting There: Fly direct to Ketchum.
Credit: Gordon Wiltsie