“Gently graded trails forming a loop around Sun Valley's White Cloud golf course and subdivision.”
— Chris Leman on Oct 4, 2013
OverviewThis easier loop is popular with mountain bikers, hikers, and runners looking for a quick, easy circuit. The White Cloud trails are especially useful to guests of the Sun Valley Lodge, as the trail network is right across the street.
Some of the best scenery along the route is available on the western side of the loop. Here riders traveling clockwise get a good look at Griffin Butte standing above the Adams Gulch drainage. Traveling in the other direction orients riders toward Bald Mountain and the rooftops of Ketchum.
Need To KnowThe Sun Valley Company White Cloud Trails are about a mile northeast of Ketchum. It's easy to access them on a bike. Just jump on the paved bike path that parallels Sun Valley Road.
While not as busy as some trails in the valley, this loop's proximity to town and its accessibility help make it a well used loop. Take it easy, this is a popular place for a relaxed stroll or ride.
DescriptionA convenient starting point for this loop is Carol's Trailhead - directly across Trail Creek Road from the Sun Valley Lodge. You can do the loop in either direction.
The trails along this loop were designed to accommodate beginners. The grades of the climbs are generally in the 5% to 7% range, and the trail tread is quite wide relative to other area singletrack trails. While designed with beginners in mind, some beginners and less fit riders may find it necessary to dismount and push their bikes up some of the more demanding sections of the climbs. This is part of the process of learning to mountain bike. In time, riders gain strength and develop their bike handling skills to the point where once difficult trail segments become rideable.
The tread of the trails making up the White Clouds outer loop are mostly quite smooth. However, sections of the loop run through soils containing larger rounded rocks, and these are present as embedded rocks in the trail tread in these spots. This changeable trail tread helps keep things interesting and increases the technical challenge presented by the route.
In the springtime, the sunnier south facing portions of these trails dry out relatively early. Snow and wet conditions linger longer where the trails pass over more northerly aspects. Heed any closure signs that may be present in the spring, and use your own good judgement if you encounter wet conditions during other times of the year (following rain or snow events). A good general rule of thumb: Turn back if you are leaving a muddy track.
Several side trails branch off of the main loop. The trails that drop off of the Sellgren's Trail are more narrow and challenging than the trail's making up the main loop.
The short, gently graded Sunrise Loop Trail can be added to this ride. Bikers riding the outer loop have the opportunity to tie into the Sunrise Loop at either the Carol's Trailhead, or about 1/2 mile up from the trailhead on the Valley View Trail.
History & BackgroundBefore being subdivided and developed into a world class golf course, this Sun Valley Company land was known as the Gun Club - it was used as a gun range in the summer. The area also included a small network of singletrack trails that were popular with locals. With development looming, some local trail advocates got busy drawing up some preliminary plans for new, replacement trails for the site. The Sun Valley City Council also recognized the importance of providing replacement trails for any trails that might be lost to development. The Sun Valley Company lead the efforts to make it all come together as a useful, high quality trail system. They hired IMBA Trail Solutions in 2007 to finalize the trail designs and work with the Sun Valley Company on the construction of the trails. Thank you Sun Valley Company., especially Mr. and Mrs. Holding and family, Wally Huffman, and Hans Muehlegger .
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