Sun Valley Hiking, Shoshone Falls

Wednesday, July 6

It’s a cool summer morning in Sawtooth National Forest, ID. I’ve met up with Nina of Wheeling It to go on a hike, Paul is staying back at their motorhome with their dog Polly, who had surgery recently. Polly’s the reason they’re here right now, attending doggy rehab in Ketchum this month to get her leg back in good form.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (1)

There are an incredible number of trails in the Sun Valley area, surrounded by national forest land on three sides as it is. During the winter, Sun Valley draws tourists in for skiing. In the summer, folks come to escape the heat of the lower elevations in southern Idaho and enjoy the trails. In fact, some of the ski hills are open in the summer for hiking.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (2)Nina and I both enjoy 5-6 mile lengths, so studying distances on the poorly-copied brochure I have from the Visitor center, I find a couple options in that range. The challenge is knowing which is a “good” one. Information is hard to find online, so I end up picking Adams Gulch Loop pretty much arbitrarily.

Adams Gulch Trailhead is on Forest road #141 off the west side of highway 75, hidden behind million-dollar summer homes with perfectly manicured lawns and unusual architecture, not to mention great views of the mountains. Sun Valley, particularly the countryside north of the town proper, has money.

The trail starts out uphill through an open meadow filled with wildflowers. I’m pretty sure I’ve been seeing wildflowers every month since February this year, I must finally be catching on to that following-the-good-weather thing other full-timers always talk about.

We continue climbing. Fluffy cotton clouds make for interesting shadows across the landscape, but hold no promise of rain. Already I’m happy with my choice in trails.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (3)

Below, suburbs sit in the valley. While the area we’re walking through feels remote and wild, we really aren’t far from civilization at all.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (4)

The day warms quickly. Most of the hike is through open land, but occasionally the trail passes through a stand of young aspen trees, which also shelter wildflowers. The variety and colors are incredible, we must be here at peak season, what a treat!

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (5)

My pitiful map is not the most legible and at an unmarked crossroads we start to wonder if we’re heading the right way. If we miss our turn, our 5.5 mile hike becomes over ten miles, which would make us awfully late for lunch. A local woman out exercising directs us ahead into a wood of conifer trees and we thank her for her assistance. The boughs offer welcome relief from the sun.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (6)

When I first drove up here over a week ago there was still a tiny bit of snow in the peaks, but it’s all gone now. The highest point in the Sawtooth Range is under 11,000 feet, not as tall as the Sierras and we are into July now.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Finally our route starts back downhill. I’m not sure what the elevation gain and loss has been along the trail, but it’s certainly more than I was expecting. Coming down the trail boarders a curious pond, murky and green. I wonder if there’s thermal activity under it, as it reminds me of some of the hot springs out at Yellowstone, the cooler ones that allow algae growth.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (8)

Near the end of the loop, the trail crosses a small stream to get back to the trailhead. I take the logs thrown over it in a bridge, but Nina opts to wade through. The water is quite cold, as I think her expression adequately conveys.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (9)

We eat at A Taste of Thai in Ketchum afterward, where the lunch specials only cost $8.50 a plate – quite reasonable for this rather upscale area. We share an order of Massaman Curry and Pad Thai, both of which are very good! (Sorry, no food pics this time, was too hungry. Have more flowers instead.)

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (10)

Thursday, July 7

I drive the long two hours south to Twin Falls, primarily to pick up my mail.

For those not on the road, for whom the process of receiving mail as a full-timer may be an enigma, it’s suppose to work something like this: You contact your mail forwarding company (a service you pay for, located in the state in which you “live”) and have them forward the mail they’re holding for you to wherever you’re currently staying at that time, be in an RV park, or perhaps a post office nearby if you’re boondocking.

It’s more of an art form than an exact science, because there’s no saying for sure how many days it’ll take for your mail to reach its destination. You don’t want your mail to arrive before you do, but neither do you want to wait past when you had intended to leave an area.

More photos from Wednesday's hike

More photos from Wednesday’s hike

This time I miscalculated rather severely, underestimating the distance between Twin Falls and Bellevue (my last camp), where I had intended on being when my mail arrived. I also misjudged the length of time I wanted to stay in Bellevue, but since it was already going to be over and hour to get my mail, it wouldn’t hurt much more to drive up into the mountains (where it’s prettier) and have a two hour drive. I’ll make a day of it.

And so the first couple hours of the morning are spent under a cloudless blue sky, watching sagebrush and farmland march by Bertha’s windows. It’s a pleasant drive, if time-consuming.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (12)

I get my mail, which this time is more than just a manilla envelope from my mail forwarding company. It’s also a sizable box from Harmony House, a dehydrated and freeze-dried food company. I’m going to be running an experiment and see if I can get away without carrying cans of soup and frozen skillet meals and move to dehydrated food for my main meal of the day instead. I have a couple reasons for trying this: it weighs much less, lasts longer, is cheaper (particularly buying in bulk), and doesn’t require refrigeration for leftovers as you can choose to cook only what you eat in one sitting. I’ll be writing a blog post of my findings.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (13)While in town I take care of other chores as well: buying items I can’t get from small-town stores, doing laundry, and attempting to upgrade my phone.

All of the pictures you see on my blog (at least all of those from July 2012 onward) have been taken with my trusty iPhone 4S, now four years old. It’s served me well over the years, but has been glitchy lately and the battery is dying a slow death which is inconvenience to a boondocker with limited power. It’s been my plan to take the launch earnings from “The Little Guide To Dreaming Big” and invest them into a new phone, the cost-effective iPhone SE. It’s reputed to have a good camera, so in exchange for all of your help in e-book purchases, you’ll be getting something back soon in the form of nicer blog pictures (at least I hope they’ll be nicer).

Soon, but not today. The Verizon store in Twin Falls is out of stock on SEs, and a call to stores in Ketchum and Sun Valley reveal the same problem – it’s only been out about three months and is apparently a very popular little phone. I put in an order for one from the store closest to my current camp and should have it on Wednesday. We’ll see.

In the meantime, this photo I took of Shoshone Falls with the old phone will have to do for now. Shoshone Falls Park is located along the Snake River at the north end of Twin Falls, east of the Perrine Bridge. Called “The Niagra of the West”, the water level today is low and the falls aren’t as impressive as at other times of the year, but it’s still worth the $3 parking fee. This is my last stop before making the long drive back to camp.

sun-valley-hiking-shoshone-falls (14)

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

Hot Springs and Jenny Lake

August 25, 2015 |

Thursday, August 20 (continued) At Mammoth Hot Springs on the north end of Yellowstone, I stop by the grill for a quick lunch and peel off layers down to my tee-shirt and jeans. It’s hard to believe it was 25 degrees when I woke up this morning, Bertha’s thermometer says it’s 72 now but Mammoth…

Read More

Beach Visits and Opportunity Costs

January 5, 2015 |

Saturday, January 3 Beach day! Today Julie and I take a trip to El Matador State Park, just north of Malibu. The skies are sunny, temperatures are warmer than expected, and the drive north along Route 1 to get there is punctuated with idyllic ocean views and fun beach houses. I wish I could peek…

Read More

RV Views, 2015

February 19, 2016 |

Here it is, the annual review of places I camped in 2015 – as seen from the Casita. The majority of these photos were taken from the inside looking out or barring that, from as close to Cas as possible. There’s been so much to write about this year that it’s a bit late, but…

Read More


At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Cherie on July 13, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I’m really not sure how you could get *better* photos… yours are already pretty darn spectacular especially for a 4S!

    So glad you and Nina have been able to hang out. Love seeing two dear friends getting to know each other (ok, and I’m a touch envious and missing you both.)
    Cherie recently posted..Not Lacking in Pennsylvania: Philly Area Stop & Lackawanna State Park (Dalton, PA)My Profile

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      I wish you and Chris were here, I miss you guys! I was bummed when I learned that your travel plans were taking you east this year, when I finally didn’t have to work and got to explore the west.

      Does the Escapade start soon? You’ll have to say “Hi” to Travis and Melanie and the rest of the gang for me. 🙂

  2. Larry D McCain on July 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Good Afternoon;

    Always enjoy your post and travels. Thank you

    I get both an email from your site and an email from WordPress for every update.

    Would It help if I just let my email subscription expire and let WordPress sent me 1 update?

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Yes Larry that would reduce redundancy. If you open up the IO newsletter you’ll see an Unsubscribe link at both the top and bottom of the post, click that and it’ll take you off the list. This will actually help me a little because the e-mail list just hit a cap this week and now I have to pay for every person on it, there will be an e-mail about that going out soon…

  3. Sue Ann Jaffarian on July 13, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Another great post with beautiful photos! Question: you seem to know the names of the trees and flowers in your postings. How did you learn about local vegetation? When I start visiting the parks and campsites, I’d like to know more about that. Right now I can barely name a few different trees.

    Question for Nina: Are hiking poles worth using? I’ve heard they can reduce stress on joints and I have a bad knee. Good ones are expensive. Should I get a pair or just one staff?

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Interpretive signs Sue Ann! When I visit visitor centers or take guided walks in parks there is usually signage about the plants, rocks, wildlife, etc. in the area and I read up on it so that I sound mildly intelligent when I write my posts. But I don’t have a great memory and often forget what I read, so I take pictures of the signs with my phone so I can refer back to them later, haha! Also I never have all the answers, for instance in tomorrow’s post I get pictures of a bunch of flowers I don’t know the names of.

      If Nina doesn’t see your comment I’ll ask her tomorrow, we’re going on another outing.

  4. Linda Sand on July 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I’m also planning to trade my 4S for an SE so I look forward to reading how that worked for you.

    I’ve been eating Mountain House freeze dried entrees. They are quick and tasty but it sounds like Harmony House might be better for my blood pressure. I need to check them out.

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Yeah Linda the SE is a similar size to the 4S which is why I liked the idea of it so much, the newer high-end smartphones are too large to fit easily in my pockets and that’s a big deal for me as a hiker. 🙂

      Mountain House entrees are more varied and come with all the seasonings, but yeah they’re not as healthy from what I understand, plus they’re harder to split into individual servings which was important to me as a solo traveler. But hey if it works it works. 🙂

  5. John Hussey on July 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Here is the link to Ernest Hemingway’s grave in Ketchum, Idaho, Cemetery:

    I hope you can make it there. He was one of our countries finest authors.

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks for sharing John!

  6. Debbie on July 12, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    The wildflowers look great. We are so excited to try some of those hikes when we get there in a couple of weeks. Very nice pictures. 5-6 miles is perfect. We did 9 today in Three Sister’s Wilderness and I am pooped.

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Yes Debbie you won’t lack for hiking when you get here, haha! Glad you found this post helpful and I hope you enjoy your time in Sun Valley.

      Nine miles, nice! That’s about my max for a hike, I prefer ones I can do easily in half a day.

  7. John Hussey on July 12, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Ketchum, Idaho is the final burial place for Ernest Hemingway. Visiting his grave is one of the items on my bucket list to do one day. He was one of my favorite authors and I will allways remember being influenced by “The Old Man and the Sea”. You should try and visit the Ketchum Cemetery and hunt up his gravesite. Email me and I will send you a link to its location.

    safe travels, Buen camino

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      I believe there’s actually a museum or something dedicated to Ernest Hemingway nearby John, although I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t had a chance to visit it. I doubt I’ll have time to visit the cemetery but I’ll send you a e-mail if I do.

      Take care!

  8. vickie carter on July 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Beautiful pics.I love hiking.Looks like you are enjoying yourself.Thanks for sharing your adventures

    • Becky on July 13, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      You’re welcome Vickie and I’m glad you enjoyed this. 🙂

  9. Jim on July 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The falls are breathtaking!

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Yeah they’re really something else!

  10. Jim on July 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Once again, great pics, great story!

    BTW, really check the ingredients of those dried foods. Took a bit to find their nutritional info and turns out their veggie soup has huge amounts of salts (sodium and potassium).

    I’ve noticed that since the ’60’s when I did lots of backpacking, and today, the amount of salts and sugars have really soared in many of those meals. I’d like to carry a bunch of dried meals with me when I’m roving for a quick meal, but the salt levels in those processed foods prevent me from doing that (I’ve been on a self-imposed salt free diet for 35 years now).

    Some dried soup meals have (gasp) 54% of the recommended maximum daily intake of salt in one freaking serving (usually one cup). It’s like they are trying to give all their customers heart attacks.

    What I’ve been doing for years now is use my small slow cooker to make my own hearty soups without adding any salts. Dry beans and home sun dried veggies are lightweight. The beans are always salt free and the dried veggies from hippy markets are too. With summer upon us, your solar system would probably be able to handle a slow cooker, along with various other devices being charged.

    You could also make an outdoor slow cooker using canned heat, a tripod, and a cast iron pot, that would save solar with the advantage of allowing quick cooking over a campfire.

    Opps, sorry, I’m rambling.

    Great post!
    Jim recently posted..On to Portland…My Profile

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      It all depends on the brand Jim, I’d agree that a lot of backpacking meals aren’t very health but Harmony House does a good job. You can buy their soups with or without seasoning they sell it both ways, and they also sell the base ingredients so you can make your own meals (just peas, just beans, just carrots, etc). Here’s the link to their unseasoned veggie soup: no salt added. And the nutritional sheet is here: So it’s got 275 mg when the recommended max per day is 1,500 mg (most Americans eat over 3,000 mg of salt a day). So about 18% of daily value. Not bad in my book.

      I know several people who use and like slow cookers, I couldn’t run one in my Casita right now because I don’t have the right kind of inverter even if I had enough solar power (which at 100 watts, likely not), but I’m glad it works for you!

  11. Ingrid on July 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    We loved our time in Idaho. Actually we’re still in eastern Idaho. There are so many places to boondock. We took the drive from Ketchum to Stanley – beautiful and Redfish Lake is stunning. We almost boondocked at Park Creek CG off Trail Creek Road next to a pond that almost always has moose. I love following the wildflowers. Enjoy your time there!

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Yeah Ingrid I’ve had no trouble finding boondocking in this state, I’m glad I came. 🙂

      I’ll be taking the drive to Stanley and visiting Redfish Lake soon. Enjoy the eastern side!

  12. Shelly on July 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Gorgeous photos, Becky. Were these taken with your iphone or have you gotten a new camera? Just curious, I am in the market for a new camera.

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      These are all still with the old iPhone, I’m picking up my new iPhone tomorrow.

  13. sarah shillinger on July 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    The falls are beautiful.

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Yeah Sarah, it’s one of the nicer falls I’ve seen since hitting the road.

  14. Vanholio! on July 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Those falls are crazy! Wow!
    Vanholio! recently posted..Ultimate #Vanlife Music PlaylistMy Profile

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      You should look online for pics when it’s running high Van, whole different ballgame.

  15. Sherry in MT on July 12, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Good luck with the phone search and say hello to Nina and Paul! Your little 4s does fabulous photos and sounds like you are very content where you are right now. Can’t wait to hear about the new food plan as well!
    Sherry in MT recently posted..Duck Creek PassMy Profile

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks Sherry and I said “hi” to Nina, we did another hime today. So far the food experiment is going alright, but it’s still early to say for sure.

  16. Judy Blinkenberg on July 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you so much for the lovely pictures. You take the best!! A new iPhone is coming out this September or this fall sometime. I just bought an IPad Pro for our travels. My wish is to meet you some day, maybe in 2017 or 2018. I’m sure learning a lot from you. I can’t hike too far with my knees so hopefully just in passing. Look forward to your posts. Stay safe!

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Yes Judy I hope our paths cross someday, that would be fun.

      I have a Windows computer but was so happy with this phone that I couldn’t see having any other brand. Hope your iPad is treating you well. Take care!

  17. Wheelingit on July 11, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    You got some awesome shots from our hike! Such a fun day and you really did find the perfect hike. Those wildflowers were amazing.

    Wheelingit recently posted..Exploring Sun Valley ID -> First Impressions & ConnectionsMy Profile

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Had so much fun Nina, thanks for coming!

  18. Gary on July 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Great photos again Becky. I’ll need to add that area to my bucket list. Tell Nina hi. You both have given me some great suggestions and advice.

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      I said “hi” Gary, we took another hike together today. Glad you enjoyed this post!

    • Julianna on July 12, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      same here!!!

  19. Kent on July 11, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Yet another fun trip report and pictures. I checked out Nina’s site too. Great site.

    I am a “mapper”. In fact, should be working in Idaho on sections of the Oregon Trail for part of next summer as a volunteer.

    Not sure if you know of, or are interested but you can download topo quad maps free from the USGS if you ever want to check out trails for wherever you may be. You can also add “Terrago” a plugin for Adobe Reader to view, measure distances, etc.

    Very cool on funding your new phone! Good to be a part of as well.

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Interesting Kent, I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing and I hope you enjoy Idaho next summer, it’s prettier than I was expecting!

  20. pamelab on July 11, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful area. I like that camp site, too. Happy for you that your launch went so well. Great adventures to you.
    Pamelab…in Missouri City til August

    • Becky on July 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Yep Pamela, I’m having a good month. 🙂 Take care!

Enjoy what you just read? Have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox!

Your email is safe with me and you can unsubscribe anytime. :)

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.