The Gun Club and Stables Keep the Old West Alive

While Sun Valley may be famous for skiing, mountain biking and fly fishing, there are a couple other favorite local pastimes with histories that run much deeper.

Riding a horse is how the first white man to explore the area, Alexander Ross, arrived in 1824. He soon found arrows from Native Americans, both Shoshoni and Bannock tribes were known to hunt in the valley where the Big Wood River runs. The trails that cut along the valley and through the surrounding mountains haven’t changed much since then, and you can still ride horses along them, too.

The Sun Valley Stables opened just before the Lodge did in 1936 and have been offering horse, wagon and sleigh rides ever since. Sun Valley usually has over 30 dude or trail riding horses and another dozen or so draft horses for pulling wagons and carriages. Most of the quarter horses have gentle and kind dispositions, but just like the people who ride them, they’re all individuals.

“Horses are a lot like people,” said Calvin Chatfield, the manager of Sun Valley Stables. “Most of `em are fine. Some are pretty special, just darn good at what they do, and you want to be around `em. Some, well, you just don’t really enjoy being around.”

Calvin said they take lots of first-time as well as experienced riders from all over the country on the local trails each summer and pretty much everyone enjoys the rides.
The Sun Valley trail rides last about an hour and there are a couple different routes both offering great vistas of Sun Valley, Ketchum and the surrounding mountains. 
Trail and the weekly wagon rides are both fun for the entire family.  Private and group events are also available. In addiiton  to the trail rides, Sun Valley Stables provides western horsemanship lessons and training programs for children and adults, from beginner to intermediate-level riders.

Sun Valley Stables Rundown: Rides are offered daily departing from the Sun Valley Stables on Sun Valley Road at 9 and 11am, 1, 2:30 and 4pm. Wagons rides are Fridays at 5pm. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are accepted when there’s space. Riders should arrive at least 15 minutes before departure and must be at least 8 years old and 52” tall. Those under 18 must wear a helmet. All necessary riding gear is provided, but riders should wear good shoes, preferably cowboy or hiking boots. Long pants are also recommended. For more information, please call 208.622.2387 or email svstables@sunvalley.com.

Of course, horses aren’t the only things we associate with Idaho’s Old West history. Guns have some hallowed ground in these parts, too. And there aren’t many better places to shoot than at the Sun Valley Gun Club.

The Sun Valley Gun Club has been around since the late-1930s and has always been a popular spot for shooters of every level, as well as a unique activity for folks staying at the Sun Valley Lodge or Inn down the street.

Located on Trail Creek Road, the Gun Club offers Trap and Skeet (historically, the most popular options), 5 Stand, Wobble Trap (a more challenging Olympic-style trap) and Sporting Clays.

J.C. Dovey is the manager of the Gun Club and has been there for over a decade. All 10 instructors at the Gun Club are certified with the National Sporting Clay Association, making it not only one of the best shooting centers in the nation, but the perfect place for either new or experienced shooters to take aim.

“If someone has never, ever shot, or if they are new to the sport, we provide everything needed,” J.C. said, adding that his highly skilled staff will “go out there and make sure they’re being safe. Safety is number one. Number two is that they have some success, break some clays.”

Sun Valley Gun Club Rundown:
The Gun Club is open daily, from 9am to 4pm until October, offering trap, double trap, wobble trap, skeet, duck tower, five-stand and sporting clays with something to challenge shooters of every level. Shooter must by at least 12 years old. Reservations are recommended for the busy summer months. Call the Gun Club for more information or to book a time 208.622.2111.]

Spring Special: Shooting Club Memberships bought prior to June 16 are only $130 (normally $225).



The Tasty Joys (and Toys) at the Sun Valley Clubhouse

Ever since it first opened eight years ago, people have loved the Sun Valley Clubhouse.  And it only takes a single visit to the sun deck, especially on an...

Read More


Lunch at the Lodge

Yes, it’s that wonderful time of the year. A time to hike and bike the trails, ride horses, fly fish, golf, and get outside into some of the...

Read More


Skiing & Riding

It’s Time to Think Winter (or at least winter passes!)

Even as we kick off Sun Valley’s amazing summer season in earnest, now is the perfect time to get your winter pass at the best prices of the...

Read More


Go Deep! It’s Wellness Weekend!

The highly regarded and much anticipated Sun Valley Wellness Festival starts tomorrow and there is so much to enjoy. From the amazing keynote speakers and presenters: Jewel, MC YOGI, and...

Read More

More Reading

Memorial Day Weekend promo

Earli Birdie Package

Sun Valley Staycation

Spring into Seasonal Savings: Stay, Play, Enjoy!


Just last week, a Saturday night dinner at the Ram Restaurant in Sun Valley Village seemed like a great idea. One member of our party was anxious to try the nightly $25 special of Hungarian Goulash, and an evening spent at the beautiful eatery, accompanied by live piano music, and noshing on delicious food sounded perfect. Our decision proved even more prescient when the server announced that the Ram was running a spring special: fondue for two (free!) with the purchase of any two entrees. It was a bubbling, gold prize at the end of the proverbial rainbow!
Fondue for two with...