Bike the Route of the Hiawatha trail in Idaho
Route of the Hiawatha; credit Idaho Tourism

Bike the Route of the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho

The Route of the Hiawatha is one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the U.S.A. Now, it the most popular ski area bike trail in the country, attracting more than 70,000 riders last summer. Famously, it is considered the crown jewel of the nation’s rails-to-trails initiative.
Check out this short video- and get excited !
Bike the route of the Hiawatha trail
Route of the Hiawatha bike trail, Idaho

The Route of the Hiawatha winds through the rugged Bitterroot Mountains in the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest along an abandoned section of the Milwaukee Railroad. Also, the trail traverses seven sky-high train trestles and delving 10 tunnels.

Taft tunnel, route of the hiawatha trail
A family of cyclists exits Taft Tunnel on the Route of the Hiawatha. Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area

Historic Trail is All Downhill

The Route of the Hiawatha trail has a gentle 1.6-percent to 2-percent, all-downhill trail. Furthermore, it straddles the Idaho-Montana state line for 15 miles, delving 10 dark tunnels and crossing seven sky-high steel train trestles. And, 50 interpretive trailside signs enhance the family-friendly experience, telling the story of the railroad, the people who worked here, the forest, and the area’s rich history.

Trestle bridge on the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail
The scenic Route of the Hiawatha traverses seven sky-high steel train trestles . (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area- Where Your Biking Adventure Begins

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area is only a short 7-mile ride to the East Portal trailhead for the Route of the Hiawatha. In summertime, the resort offers lift-served downhill mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

The scenic Route of the Hiawatha is a family friendly adventure (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

There are five top-to-bottom downhill mountain bike trails with more on the way. However, there are no jumps or wooden features on its family friendly trails, which vary from singletrack that winds through the woods and across ski trails to wider mountain-access roads. Of course, all the trails offer fun rides with some offering impressive views of the St. Regis Basin.

Impressive views of St Regis Basin
Fifty interpretive trailside signs that enhance the family friendly experience, telling the story of the railroad, the people who worked here, the forest, and the area’s rich history. (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

Know Before You Go

Lookout Pass offers rental bikes for adults and kids, as well as bike trailers for youngsters. Also, there are trikes and reclining bikes for seniors who haven’t been on a bike in years and a few tandem bikes for the romantics. Helpfully, you can rent handlebar-mounted bike lights, necessary for riding through the Route of the Hiawatha’s 10 dark tunnels, the longest of which burrows for 1.6 miles. Importantly, its essential to know- there NO FACILITIES along this trail!

Family bikes of all types are available
Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area.

Special Events, Summer 2021

Lookout Pass transfers the easy way
Lookout Pass will open for the summer June 12 and offer lift-served downhill mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

Special events this summer include full-moon night rides and the Hiawatha Back to Nature Trail Run and, a half marathon. Also, the Mountain Archery Festival, a family-focused event for archers of all abilities. Finally, for more on events, bike trails and how to make the most of your family biking adventure in Idaho click here!



Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Teddy Roosevelt Fell in Love with North Dakota. Here’s Why…

“ I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota. It was here that the romance of my life began.”

Teddy Roosevelt fell in love. Famously, he was in love with North Dakota. Historically, he visited the badlands of ND first in 1883 to hunt buffalo as a 24 year old New York ‘dude’ ( or city boy). Then, he embraced the rugged outdoor cowboy life, and fell in love with the badlands of the Little Missouri River.

Teddy became a rancher and a cowboy

North Dakota ‘the love of his life’

Teddy claimed North Dakota was the ‘love of his life’. He returned there to grieve the death of both his mother and his wife on Valentine’s Day, 1884.

Later, Theodore Roosevelt served as 26th President of the United States, from 1901 to 1909. However, he is best known as a conservationist and for his environmental legacy. His achivements are many. Firtly, he expanded the National Parks system. Secondly, he established 150 national forests, five national parks and 51 federal bird reserves, according to the U. S. Department of the Interior. Eventually Roosevelt sold his ranches but continued to return to ND after becoming President, until shortly before his death in 1919 at 60 years old.

TRNP. There are sites thoughout North Dakota dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt and memorialising his deeds.
Hiking in TRNP

Teddy Roosevelt Fell in Love with North Dakota. A National Park Was Named After Him

There are two units of the pristine Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota; the north and the south- plus the historical Elkhorn Ranch unit. Moreover, this is the only U.S. National Park named for a person. The Park is a haven for a variety of wildlife including buffalo, wild horses and donkeys, prairie dogs and an amazing array of birdlife. However, visitors must explore via the scenic loop drives or hikes as there are no buildings in the park.

Wild horses in the Badlands

The Theodore Roosevelt Wilderness area covers nearly 30,000 acres and was dedicated in 1978.

TR stayed at The Maltese Cross cabin on his first visits to the Dakota Territory in 1883 before he became President. Now, visitors to the Park can see it for themselves and happily it is located at the entrance to the South Unit.

Medora North Dakota

Presidential library to open in Medora in 2022

The Medora Musical is a live Americana-style show running nightly in summer in the open air Medora amphitheater. This tribute show depicts some of Teddy Roosevelt’s experiences in North Dakota.

Currently, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential library is under construction in Medora, North Dakota, near the entrance to TR National Park’s South Unit. Moreover, it will be both a museum and repository for his presidential record. The Library will be completed in 2022. Firstly, artifacts will include his RoughRiders’ uniform, his buffalo gun, his sword and hat, and 1884 diary. In this, he famously wrote on the day both his wife and mother died, “ The light has gone out of my life”.

Five ways to step back into Idaho’s living Western heritage

Sacajawea Interpretive Center Salmon Idaho

History lives in Idaho. Firstly, attend a powwow to experience this living history . Soak up the atmosphere and watch the dancers spin. Listen to the chanting and drumming of a tribal culture that dates back hundreds of years. Six first nations people call Idaho home. Their living cultural diversity is ever-present and fascinating to learn more about. So,check out the exhibits at the Visitors Centre at the sprawling Nez Perce National Historical Park and get a trail map to help you explore. The Nez Perce, who call themselves the Nimiipuu, still live in the prairie lands west of the Bitterroot Mountains, part of the Nez Perce reservation. Then, drive the Northwest Scenic Byway. This section of US Highway 12 gives visitors access to some of the Lewis and Clark sites, places related to the Nez Perce Trail and pioneer era history. 


nez Perce Natl. Historical Park Visitors Centre
Idaho. Lewiston. Nez Perce Visitor Center and Museum.

Take a tour of the Idaho Penitentiary

2. The Idaho Penitentiary, opened in 1872 in the capital of Boise. and was home to some of the old west’s most desperate criminals. While there, experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows. It’s a chance to relive the Old Pen’s exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions.

history lives in Idaho at the ID Penitentiary
The Idaho Penitentiary image credit Caroline Davidson

Walk in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark

3. Lewis & Clark’s mission to explore the Louisiana Territory, northwest from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, took them through 16 states. They followed the Lolo Trail (a section of  the Nez Perce Trail – the path of Chief Joseph and his tribe’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to reach Canada). Next, they travelled through the harsh landscape of the Bitterroot Mountains then along the Clearwater River heading west through Idaho. Ending their journey where the city of Lewiston now stands. It was in Idaho that they met Sakajawea, a Lemhi-Shoshone woman. Sakajawea is credited as instrumental in the success of their exploration and crucial to their survival.

Lewis and Clark Visitors Centre Museum

Full Idaho history immersion with extraordinary museums.

No ordinary museums here! Head to Moscow the Appaloosa Museum’s self-guided exhibits, interactive kid’s area and learn that Idaho is the birthplace of the this coveted and beautiful spotted horse breed.

Onwards to Blackfoot you’ll find the quirky and surprisingly entertaining Idaho Potato Museum. Idaho, of course, is famous for its potatoes but the history of the industry is engrossing. If that isn’t your jam (or perhaps your mash), then seeing the world’s largest Pringle or Marilyn Munroe wearing a potato sack is definitely worth the price of admission!

Lastly, don’t forget to have your picture taken with the big potato out front! I’ve been there several times and can’t wait to go back next visit to Idaho. Spuds rule!

Another not to miss is the Basque Museum and Cultural Center in Boise.

Marilyn Monroe makes a surprise exhibit at the Idaho Potato Museum
Idaho Potato Museum

On a mission– history lives in Idaho

The Cataldo Mission in Coeur d‘Alene’s Old Mission State Park, is Idaho’s oldest building. It was founded by Catholic missionaries and Coeur d’Alene tribe between 1850 and1853. Historically it is also the oldest surviving mission in the northwest. Its exhibits, parish house and Jesuit church are an illuminating window on the complicated relationship between the European settlers and one of the Idaho tribes.

Cataldo Mission history in Idaho
The Cataldo Mission, Coeur d’Alene Old Mission State Park


Fargo North Dakota <3 Being North of Normal …and so will you.

Five ways Fargo explodes the myths about this cool North Dakota city (spoiler alert: expect the unexpected!):


Downtown Fargo ND Fargo North Dakota

So far, so good! This city shot to fame around the world among cinema goers when Fargo, the 1996 Coen brothers’ dark comedy film hit the screen and won the Oscar for best original screenplay.

It depicted a cartoon stereotypical picture of a quirky, almost mythically miserable Midwestern town. But Fargo the town wants you to know it’s moved on and suggests you do likewise.

No.1: Fargo North Dakota is a hick town out in the middle of nowhere.

Fargo is actually a bustling progressive university city ( the largest community in North Dakota) only an hour’s drive across the North Dakota border from the large metropolis that is Minneapolis-Saint Paul. It is admittedly fairly flat but far from in the middle of nowhere!  For a midwestern city Fargo is a little off-center: in a good way. Hence the slogan, North of Normal. Visit Fargo and you’ll find it surprising and far above the norm.

Red River Fargo

The Red River devides Fargo form Moorhead, its sister city.

Oh and these days Fargo is formally known as Fargo -Moorhead as it is bordered on the Minnesota side by its sister city. The Red River runs through the two communities and is the natural boundary.

No 2: The weather sucks in Fargo.

Fargo gets cold in winter. Really cold. Fargo is not bitterly cold all year long and is far from the barren tundra depicted in the movie or the TV show of the same name. Did we mention snowmobiling, ice fishing, Frostival Festival??

Snoga- yoga at the Frostival Festival, Fargo, North Dakota     Fargo North Dakota Frostival

Frostival, Snowga, winter, Fargo, North DakotaThere are snowy winters like many similar locations in the US but from April to October Fargo has a short-but-sweet spring, followed by a hot summer (think 80–90-degree days on average), and a spectacular fall or autumn.

No.3: Fargo North Dakota natives speak with a thick accent and say funny things.

Well yes, there is an accent and a charming Midwestern way of saying things that is very appealing. But no, not everyone in Fargo says ‘don’tcha know’ at the end of every sentence!

But contemporary culture of all types abounds in Fargo; Fargo Blues Festival, Fargo Film Festival, Fiber Arts Festival and so much more. If you’re stuck in the 90’s, and the Woodchipper from the film is your must-do thing, you must first of all visit the Fargo Visitors Center where you can still have your picture taken with it wearing the famous trappers’ hats.

RedHawks play Fargo North Dakota    

The woodchipper on display form Fargo the Movie

Fargo movie woodchipper, Credit: North Dakota Tourism

No.4:  There’s nothing much to do in Fargo North Dakota.

Fargo is a mecca for young people and has developed all the vibrant facilities and fun that a university town should have- and then some. There are theaters, museums, breweries and major events, concerts and festivals. There are people here from all walks of life and from around the globe as Fargo (and North Dakota generally) is known for its friendliness.

Attractions are many and varied and appeal to all ages: from the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm, Red river Zoo, The Fargo Air Museum, the Plains Art Museum and the historic  Art Deco theater, to Bonanzaville, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra or Opera, to Fort Abercrombie and the Bergquist Pioneer Cabin, you can satisfy, your craving for art, culture, history and entertainment here.

Fargo ND entertainment  Street Fair Fargo orth Dakota

The FargoDome holds up to 25,000 people and receives popular attractions from Monster Jam to Elton John and Celine Dion.

No.5 You wouldn’t want to live here (but want to know why the locals do)

Well, many people would disagree. In fact,  Fargo North Dakota was  named #8 on’s 2020 List of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S. … and 6th Happiest City in the U.S.

It has the amenities of a large city with the attitude of a small one. While centered around agriculture it i s fast developing as a place for diverse and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and tech start-ups ( Fargo has been dubbed the Silicon Prairie).

Fargo art deco theatre Classic Fargo North Dakota  Fargo a thriving modern ND city

If your needs are more prosaic and great food and beverages are your scene, Fargo’s got you covered. Oh, and FYI to translate some local jargon: to some folks here, supper means dinner. Dinner means lunch. But breakfast pretty much still means breakfast.

From up-and-coming local craft breweries to uniquely local dining options you’ll be spoilt for choice. From Himalayan Yak, to Sons of Norway to Twenty Below Coffee, it’s a culinary voyage of discovery. Or take advice from a local foodie and sample charcuterie, coffee sand creamery delights:

Fargo is a hidden gem of nightlife, food, art, and frankly, fun.

Or if sport is your jam?

Fargo has 17 ice rinks, 7 full size golf courses, 58 basketball courts and 30 baseball fields; well, you get the picture! If you’re a spectator, the Fargo Force is a tier one Ice Hockey team and there is baseball, horseracing, American football and on it goes.

American football in Fargo North Dakota  Fargo North Dakota has 7 golf courses

So,  geez, come and experience Fargo, North Dakota; you just might want to stay awhile, doncha know?  You betcha!!

Find out more

Frago North Dakota- North of Normal



Here are three northern ski areas in Idaho sure to surprise you.

Are you a skier or snowboarder? Or do you simply love that white powdery stuff! And that oh-so- crisp winter air and the dramatic beauty of winter in the mountains. Then here are three lesser-known Idaho winter destinations that should get you heading to pack your bags.

Oh wait, you can’t travel again yet? Well hold that thought and plan, and book for next northern season. Or when it’s again safe for you to travel.

North Idaho, or the northern panhandle as it’s known, is home to three amazing, and very different, ski resorts.And all of them should be put on your list. Why? Every skier knows the thrill and excitement of a new hill, different terrain and bragging rights for a place their friends are yet to visit.

In essence these areas are lesser known, less crowded and easily accessible from the popular ‘powder highway’ resorts of British Columbia.

Furthermore, here’s what you need to know:

Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Sandpoint ID: Idaho’s largest ski resort.

The mountain is best known for expert bowls, chutes and glades with gorgeous views and no crowds.

This is a full-service resort with upscale amenities and a mountain village for slope-side accommodation and access to first tracks, the last chair and of course, après ski.

Schweitzer also has 32km of cross-country trails and twilight skiing from 3-7.00pm.


It’s an easy trip from Canada to Schweitzer Idaho, with two different border crossings; East Port and Porthill. Or only 1.5 hours from Spokane WA or 3.5 from Missoula MT by car, both with good air connections from the west coast.

For more:

Silver Mountain, Kellogg ID: two Idaho mountains in one.

Silver offers varied terrain for all abilities. The upper mountain and slopes are accessed from the gondola village at the base of the mountain. This is North America’s longest scenic gondola ride!

The resort offers bowl and top-notch tree skiing and long-lasting powder, averaging 300+ inches annually.

The easiest access of any ski mountain you will visit, just 1 minute off the i90, one hour drive from Spokane WA or 2 hours from Missoula MT

For more:

Look Out Pass, Mullan ID : the Idaho locals’ resort which gets the most snow

In contrast Look Out Pass is a smaller, cool, locals’ ski resort. And it’s located 5 miles east of Mullan Idaho. On the border of Montana.

Additionally, Lookout Pass has the enviable reputation for receiving the most snow in northern Idaho.  It’s also known for learner friendly slopes, progressive terrain parks.

Moreover as an added bonus: this is an all-seasons resort, set in unspoiled national forest. In summer Lookout Pass also operates the Route of the Hiawatha Scenic Bike Trail.

Often referred to as “the most scenic stretch of rail-to-trail adventure in the USA”. This awesome mountain bike adventure offers 10 dark tunnels and 7 sky-high trestles and is 15 miles long: all downhill.

Accessed via the Interstate 90, Lookout Pass is approximately 90 min on i90 drive from entry airports at Spokane WA or Missoula MT.

For more:

Images courtesy of North Dakota Tourism and Caroline Davidson


In my dreams I ride into Medora on my Appaloosa pony, hot and dusty from the trail. The second part is true, but I actually drove into town on road trip through the Great American West, not knowing what to expect.

Medora lives up to my ideal of an authentic western town, so much so, that I’ve made my way back there several times, proving it’s not that hard to get to, even from Australia.

I’ve distilled my several visits into one, to share my top best things to do and see in Medora when you’re lucky enough to get there. But don’t leave it too long; even the best little town in the west can change.


  1. The natural western scenic beauty. Medora is set on the outskirts of the badlands. A scenically stark but aridly beautiful and naturally eroded landscape, formed over many centuries. Medora has the geographic formations of canyons and mesas. But is also surrounded by trees and grasslands that herald the entrance to North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Surprisingly the only park named for person. Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy was to appreciate and preserve this tract of land in its pristine state for future generations to enjoy.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

  1. Medora is a western town looking as it should. Complete with wide roads (some still packed earth where horses are often still the main form of traffic), wooden sidewalks and swing-door saloons. And a sheriff with a badge. Even if he now drives a pickup. Excitingly, there are two main choices of hotels in which to soak up the western vibe. Firstly, there’s the Badlands Motel. A fifties-style drive-up basic but hospitable. And the more genteel Roughriders Hotel, serving (in my mind) the wealthy landowners come to town.



  1. There is a local outfitters, Dakota Cyclery. For those intrepid adventurers setting out on the 120 mile Maah Daah Hey Trail on foot, horses, camping or on mountain bikes? There’s a general store of all your ‘vittles.’ And fabulously a bookstore, Western Edge Books, which houses a treasure trove of western literature, local authors, historical accounts and colourful local stories. Easy to send a day browsing, lost in its delights. So make sure to include it on your list of must see spots.

  1. South Unit, TRNP. Moments outside town and announced by a historic log cabin built for and lived in by Teddy Roosevelt on his many visits. Welcome to the entrance to the South Unit of the park. Stop in at the ranger-run Medora Visitor’s Centre at the park entrance for excellent info. And to tour the President’s original cabin. Take the loop road and enjoy the scenic vistas, natural beauty and the wildlife. What’s common to see on a visit in spring, summer and autumn? Try buffalos, wild horses and donkeys. And prairie dog cities, antelope and deer. And an astonishing variety of birdlife. To name a few. But remember, the park closes for the winter around mid- September to late May.

South Unit, TRNP

Buffalo crossing the river in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

  1. The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Medora. Of course, it is. Where else would it be? Preserving the culture, traditions and history of ranchers and rodeo stars, Native Americans and cowboys and girls in North Dakota. Half history lesson, half museum and 100% a tribute to the State’s colouful western heritage. Check the website for regular induction events, National Days of the Cowboy and Plains Indians and don’t miss the Medora’s Old Fashion Cowboy Christmas.

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame


  1. Chateau de Mores State Historic Site; how the ‘other half’ lived. This two storey, 26 room frame building is now an historic house museum and was built in 1883 as the summer residence of Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores and his family. The Marquis was a businessman with interest in many of the key essential products and service so the time including a beef packing plant, a stagecoach line, a freighting company, refrigerated railway cars, cattle and sheep raising, land ownership, and a new town which he called Medora, in honor of his wife. The Chateau is a fascinating glimpse into the past and contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family. Visits are currently by appointment only but check the website for updates.

Chateau de Mores State Historic Site

  1. Medora Riding Stables or Bully Pulpit Golf Course. Just kidding. Undoubtedly, for the cowboys and gals among us, there is of course no contest! For a safe group trail ride tour with great views over the town. Great for any level of rider, particularly good for families. But if horses are not your thing, well, you can opt out and play golf on one of the best courses in the State and country.

Medora Riding Stables

  1. The Old Townhall Theatre and Medora Musical for pure Americana- style entertainment charged with patriotism, sprinkled with song and served with a dose of the local history, both shows are highly recommended. The one man show at the restored, intimate and cosy, live theatre will have you spellbound. As you hear ‘first-hand’ Teddy Roosevelt’s life story and story-telling. It’s a great introduction prior to visiting his namesake national park. The Medora Musical, held nightly throughout summer in a stunning natural outdoor amphitheater setting, will have you keen to join in the irresistible, if over-the-top, ‘Oklahoma’-style musical fun.


  1. Pitchfork Fondue. So you want to be a cowboy you’re going to have to eat like one! Outsize steaks skewered on actual pitchforks and broiled in oil- yep with all the trimmin’s. Served in a breath-taking setting! No cowboy or girl need fear going hungry. And if there’s a special occasion Theodore’s Dining Room at the Roughrider Hotel is worth putting on your Sunday best for.


Sun Valley knows how to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Images: courtesy Caroline Davidson and Idaho Tourism


Make your perfect ski getaway from Australia to Sun Valley Idaho. Here’s how:


Choose Your Getaway timing

Undoubtedly, December is the perfect month to head to Sun Valley. Aussies are staying home for Christmas, but you’ll be back in time! The snow season is well underway in Idaho. So usually means there’s an abundance of powder ready for your visit. The holiday season has started in Idaho, so decorations and lights make the getaway to Sun Valley even more spectacular: like they are celebrating your arrival. Flights and accommodation are cheaper and more available before Christmas.

Hollywood celebrities were first to discover the delights of Sun Valley.


Accommodation is Plentiful

Unquestionably, your perfect ski getaway should include the best accommodation for your needs. Whatever they may be!

Sun Valley Resort is for those wanting luxury, old world style and glamour. And easy access to the slopes. As a result Hollywood, celebrities, the rich and famous all make Sun Valley their home away from home.

Sun Valley Resort Pool

Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort at night

Sun Valley Resort at night


The Limelight Hotel in nearby Ketchum is the latest, modern luxury hotel blending style, comfort and a central location to both Dollar and Baldy Mountains with the charm of this small town location.

Apartment or condo-style vacation stays are plentiful and offer the ease of self-catering. Book here.


Epic Skiing or Boarding on your Perfect Getaway in Sun Valley


The Slopes

Sun Valley Slopes

Sun Valley is a magical place to ski or board whether you are a first-timer or a veteran advanced powder junkie. Importantly, the resort is famous for no lift lines and no clouds. And for its snowmaking! So if the snow gods have not been kind, no worries, the snow cover will still be spectacular. The sun is nearly always out- and so will you be. Furthermore, Sun Valley is part of Epic Pass- incredible value for skiers and boarders around the world.

Sun Valley Skiing


Skiing at Sun Valley


Baldy Mountain 

Undoubtedly, Baldy Mountain is the main game. Bald is for skiers of all levels with a great variety of terrain, all downhill with no flats or plateaus. Go fast or slow but go downhill.

Downhill, cross country, ice-skating; the choice of winter thrill is yours.

Dollar Mountain Sun Valley

Dollar mountain is where skiing learned to ski and the best place for new skiers and boarders to do the same… It has the world’s first chair lift along with four more, beginner- friendly, treeless, sunny slopes and plenty of vertical to keep everyone smiling.

The dedicated Ski & Snowboard program available in Sun Valley offers endless opportunities for group or private lessons to learn and get the most out of your perfect winter getaway in Sun Valley. Higher Ground is the adaptive snow sports provider in Sun Valley and provides on-snow opportunities for people of all ages with cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities.


The Day Lodges – For Palaces in the snow


River Run

At the base of Baldy is a dedicated mini-village for everything ski-related you need, and then some. Tune or wax your skis, buy that special beanie or your new snowboard or stash your kit before heading off for the day. Relax here for après by the roaring open fire with a local beer, wine or enjoy wood-fired pizza or try the sushi. Live entertainment ups the energy on Friday and Saturday afternoons.



Seattle Ridge Day Lodge

The place to stop for lunch with a side of breath-taking views of Wood River Valley nearly 9,000 feet below.


Warm Springs Day Lodge

Fully renovated in 2018 is the local’s pick for the famous freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, best eaten on the sun-drenched patio or while listening to the live entertainment inside


Carol’s Dollar Mountain Day Lodge

The family friendly venue an easy walk from the village, with something for everyone. Also a great breakfast or lunch spot, inside or outside on the heated patio.


Must-Dos Off the Slopes – Explore Ketchum

This small town is full of wonderful surprises, great dining, entertainment and has as cool western feel.



Apres Ski

The “Pio” to locals, the Pioneer Inn is classic authentic western saloon. And great place to meet the locals! In addition, Grumpy’s for beer-can lined walls, an authentic local feel and celerity-spotting opportunities or the Warfield Distillery & Brewery for craft cocktails, local brew and excellent locally sourced pub grub.

The Pioneer Inn Sun Valley


Carol Singers and Sleigh Ride Dinner

Christmas in Sun Valley comes complete with roving carol singers around the main venues but for the full experience rug up and don’t miss a sleigh-ride dinner at the Trail Cabin. A rustic hideaway reached by horse-drawn sleigh and featuring north-western fare and the best carol singers around.

Christmas sleigh ride Sun Valley

Sun Valley sleigh ride

Carols in Sun Valley


Art and Culture

Famed author Ernest Hemingway has tributes of booze, flowers and coins left on his simple otherwise unadorned grave site near Ketchum. He wrote “The Sun Also Rises” during a lengthy stay at the Resort and committed suicide in 1961 after a full life of writing, hunting, boozing & womanizing.

Ernest Hemingway Grave


Trawl the treasure at the Gold Mine

Visit this community run op shop in downtown Ketchum, legendary for finds of expensive ski wear for a fraction of the cost.

Gold Mine Shop

The famous Gold Mine op shop, Ketchum


Sun Valley Hiking


Get Up and Go: To Sun Valley Idaho.

  • You can be in Sun Valley the same day! Depart Sydney to LA, and fly into Hailey ( SUN) arriving the same date.
  • Hailey (or officially Friedman Memorial) Airport ( SUN) is located outside Ketchum and provides direct flights to Boise and beyond.
  • Boise Airport ( BOI) is a two hour drive from Sun Valley and has direct flights ( also approx. 2 hours ) from LAX.
  • Finally, for more information on your perfect ski getaway to Sun Valley Idaho go to:; and

The First Reason to Visit North Dakota: Nature Wild as It is Meant to Be


Reasons to visit North Dakota? There are so many reasons. But here are eight of the best.  First off, North Dakota has the only national park named for a person, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Furthermore, it immortalises President Theodore Roosevelt who put national parks on the agenda (and on the map).

The two separate units of this spectacular tract of nature, north and south, remain pristine, with no buildings or man-made structures. However, the wildlife abounds in its natural habitat, including buffalo, horses, elk, white-tail and mule deer, prairie dogs. Over 186 kinds of birds can also be found here. Take the loop road to view the wildlife best, but take it slow and enjoy the spectacular scenery without the crowds. You’ll encounter more wildlife than you believed possible, but don’t forget, it is WILD! Stay your distance and stay safe.

Buffalo grazing at sunset in North Dakota

Buffalo grazing at sunset in North Dakota

The Second Reason: The Best Little Cowboy Town in the West

Undoubtedly, Medora is one of the best places in the continental USA to channel your inner cowboy or girl.  Here’s why: it has original wooden sidewalks, the National Cowboy Museum, a place to stay called the Badlands Motel (or alternatively the Rough Riders Hotel); horses are still used as town transport and the Pitchfork Fondue is a popular dining option. What more could you possibly want?

Medora town sign on the mountainside

Medora: the best little western town in ND

Oh, you like a five-star golf course? Check! Bully Pulpit Golf Course is a challenging course. Surrounded by the spectacularly rugged scenery of the Badlands. It is rated one of the 100 best public courses in the U.S. THis comes as no surprise to locals.

A golfer putting on Bully Pulpit golf course ND

Bully Pulpit- one of the best golf courses in the U.S.


You’d like a national park on the doorstep? Check! Medora is literally the gateway to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

You need a running/hiking/biking trail to challenge the best? Check! The Maah Daah Hey trail is 150 miles of some of the best single-track in the world. It traverses the Badlands, Little Missouri Grasslands, private land and the North and South units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Finally you want a nightly entertainment spectacular? Check! The Medora Musical  is held in a natural amphitheater outside town every evening in summer and is a living slice of Americana. It’ll have you hootin’ and hollerin’ in your seat.

Medora Musical on outdoor amphitheater stage in Medora North Dakota

Medora Musical in a spectacular outdoor setting

The Third Reason: Authentic American History you Always Wanted to Learn

History is only as old as yesterday’s birding adventure in North Dakota or  a Badland’s trail ride. Reach back to the Jurassic Period or into Lewis & Clark’s exploration of the West to discover the stories of great leaders like Sitting Bull and Theodore Roosevelt.

Badlands rugged terrain North Dakota

Badlands North Dakota

The Fourth Reason: Forts and Five Tribes

You can visit many of the forts around North Dakota along the itinerary of your next road trip. They are historically accurate relics of an earlier age of the cattle barons, railroads, the push west and conflicts between settlers and Native American tribes. Here are a few of the most interesting:

Fort Abraham Lincoln at night

Fort Abraham Lincoln

Fort Abraham Lincoln  

is conveniently located outside North Dakota’s capitol, Bismarck. Its an excellent choice for a one-stop history lesson. The Native Americans’  authentic On-A-Slant Village recreation allows visitors to get an up close and personal glimpse of the way of life of the Mandan people and their cultural heritage. And on the ‘other side of the fence’, step inside the faithfully recreated General and Mrs Custer’s house with an army aide. He will show you around while they are out; all taking place as if you are really back in their day (rookie tip: don’t mention mobile phones).  Ask all the questions you want and check out exactly how a General lived back in the 1800s.

Forth Berholdt Indian Reservation

is located in the central West of North Dakota. Home for the federally recognized Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.   They are also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. The reservation includes lands on both sides of the Missouri River.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

is considered the grandest fort on the Upper Missouri River. Between 1828 and 1867, Fort Union was the most important fur trade post in the area. Here, the Assiniboine and six other Northern Plains Indian Tribes exchanged buffalo robes and smaller furs for goods from around the world, including cloth, guns, blankets, and beads. A fortress of peaceful coexistence, the post annually traded over 25,000 buffalo robes and $100,000 in merchandise.

Fort Union Trading Post in North Dakota

Fort Union Trading Post in North Dakota

Fort Buford State Historic Site Fort Buford

built in 1866 became a major supply depot for military field operations. Fort Buford, located near present-day Williston, is one of a few military posts established to protect overland and river routes used by immigrants settling the West. However, it is best remembered as the place where the famous Hunkpapa Sioux leader, Sitting Bull, surrendered in 1881.

 Lewis and Clark

Explorers Lewis and Clark were among the earliest visitors to North Dakota. The expedition spent 214 days in North Dakota on two separate visits. The group spent 146 days on its outbound trip in October of 1804, when it set up a winter camp near Washburn. The second visit was on its return from the Pacific. The expedition stopped again in August of 1806. This was when Sakakawea was returned to her home. One quarter of the expedition was spent in what is now called North Dakota. They have mapped out a trail for you to follow that takes you on their route.

The Fifth Reason: Native American Tribes and Experiences

North Dakota is home to five federally recognized Native American Reservations and tribes. These include: Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes), the Spirit Lake Nationthe Standing Rock Sioux Tribethe Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation.

Check out some of the enriching experiences you can enjoy:

The United Tribes Powow

draws tribes from around the U.S. to take part in drumming, dancing and costume displays based on a rich tribal culture and tradition. The event runs over three days in early October and is an eye-opening way to immerse in living, evolving, Native American culture. Be sure to respect the people and the traditions and you will be richer for the experience.

Dancer at United Tribes Pow wow North Dakota

Dancer at United Tribes Pow wow North Dakota

Stay in a yurt or a teepee (you know you want to!)

When it comes to ‘yurting’ North Dakota has you covered! Three state parks feature yurts as part of their lodging packages: Cross Ranch State Park near Washburn, Lake Metigoshe State Park near Bottineau and Fort Ransom State Park near Fort Ransom. So when it comes to finding a unique winter stay you will be spoilt for choice. Yurts fall somewhere between a tent and cabin and they have transformed winter camping in the state. The yurts in North Dakota’s state parks are luxurious with a rustic backwoods charm. They have heat and electricity, meaning there’s no need to stoke the fire after returning from a chilly hike.

A family approaching a yurt accommodation in North Dakota

‘Yurting’ in North Dakota,

Ranch Stay with Brad Pitt (OK not really, but close second).

Black Leg Ranch cowboy rounding up cattle

Black Leg Ranch cowboy rounding up cattle

Black Leg Ranch, just south of Bismarck, is one of the oldest working cattle ranches still in operation today. Additionally, it is home to over 17000 acres of grassland prairie near the Missouri River. With buffalo wallows, the ghost town of Brittin, abandoned farmsteads, post office foundation, quicksand, 1800’s wagon trails, abandoned railroads and trestles, native American teepee rings and artifacts and much more. Equally important to note is that it is a family-owned ranch with a rich and legendary history including outlaws.

a cowboy riding at Black Leg Ranch ND

Black Leg Ranch, ND

When I first visited, the Doan family’s three sons, were hardworking cowboys (the real deal) and one, Jay, had even had a starring role in a movie (and, to me, was the nearest thing to Brad Pitt).

The ranch offers cabin accommodation for visitors keen to fish and hunt, and ‘dudes’ like us wanting to learn the arcane arts of the cowboy; ropin’ ridin’ and ranchin’.

Over the years since then, the ranch has grown and diversified and gone from strength to strength with a new lodge, a brewery and many significant awards under their collective belt. Now it’s renown as the place to enjoy the local brew, locally-raised grass-fed beef or buffalo …or to even get married (once yout find your own cowboy or girl)


The Sixth Reason: Fargo (Seen the Movie? Now visit for real).

The woodchipper on display form Fargo the Movie

Fargo movie woodchipper, Credit: North Dakota Tourism

Yes, fans, the real woodchipper from the movie can be viewed at the art-deco theatre in Fargo. But this should be an added extra. Fargo the town has much more to offer from a quirky Frostival festival held in winter with more fun family activities than the temperatures suggest, to the Fargo Air Museum, loads of breweries and craft beers, the Hotel Donaldson, a boutique gem.

Downtown buildings of Fargo ND

Streets Alive in downtown Fargo opens city streets to foot traffic.

After some outdoor adventures? Be sure to check out Lindenwood Park. This is the largest multi-use park in Fargo, and it is located on Roger Maris Drive along the Red River. The Universal Playground is a large playground that is accessible to all children. It features several shelters fitted will amenities that can be used for picnics as well as baseball fields. There are several trails in the park including skating trails, and bicycles can be rented during the warmer summer months. The park also has a scenic campground.

For family fun pack up the kids and head to the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm. Located on 28th Avenue North in Fargo, the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm offers hands on exhibits and many other attractions that keep curious children entertained while learning.

The best part… it all comes neatly summarised best by the town slogan: Fargo: North of Normal!

Snowga at Frostival winter Festival Fargo ND

Frostival, Snowga, winter, Fargo, North Dakota

The Seventh Reason: Agritourism (Fun with Farming)

Agritourism, the combination of agriculture and tourism, is the practice of inviting guests to visit and/or participate in normal farm or ranch activities. It is growing in popularity and diversifying. It now includes working farms and ranch visits, vineyards, wineries and breweries, pumpkin patches, orchards for farm festivals, corn mazes and u-pick fun. North Dakota has become a standout destination for agritourism. This is no surprise with the region ranking first in the production of spring wheat, durum wheat, sunflowers, barley, honey and other crops.

Agritourism-wheatfields in North Dakota

Agritourism-wheatfields in North Dakota

The Eighth Reason: Nordic Dakota; the Scandinavia of the US (and we don’t mean IKEA)

One in three North Dakotans; 38% of the populations has Nordic heritage, the highest percentage in the US.  They settled along the main line of the Great Northern Railroad ,

immigrating from the 1870s to the north and central part of the state,

The Scandinavian Heritage Park   in Minot (rhymes with Why not!) North Dakota is the only living outdoor museum in the world to feature all five Nordic countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. It’s free, spread over parklands and features a Norwegian wooden stave church and a Danish windmill; well worth a day’s exploration.

And if you arrive in fall, be sure to check out Norsk Hostfest; the largest Scandinavian event on the continent, celebrated in Minot.

Norsk building in Scandinavian Heriateg Park, Minot ND

Scandinavian Park; credit North Dakota Tourism


Moreover one thing is certain, the people in North Dakota are incredibly hospitable and proud of their state.

Dueling accordions! North Dakota native, Josh Duhamel, takes on one of the Norsk Hostfest's finest at the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, ND.

Dueling accordions! North Dakota native, Josh Duhamel, takes on one of the Norsk Hostfest’s finest at the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, ND.

Your Next Road Trip in North Dakota: Fast Facts

  • You can fly into Bismarck from LA via MSPB or Denver and hire a car, motorbike or campervan
  • An east-west road trip across the i90 highway will touch on many of the above reasons to visit but our tip: get off the beaten path and explore scenic byways. Head up north for much of the history, Native American and Norse culture experiences
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park was named the #5 on the New York Times’ list of must-see places in 2016
  • In Rugby, North Dakota, you will find the geographical center of North America. That is right, the center to the entire continent is here in North Dakota!
  • Jamestown, North Dakota is home to the world’s largest buffalo (statue)
  • More info com and

A ‘Thelma-and Louise’ style girl’s road-trip itinerary west through Idaho, from Yellowstone National Park

  1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Devils Tower, Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Steven Spielberg’s science fiction film about a UFO, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, features Devils Tower National Monument; a spectacular 867-foot rock which formed from volcanic lava millions of years ago.

  1. Shane (1953)

Grand Teton National Park, Credit: @randy_straka_photography

Another film shot in Wyoming, Shane (1953), was based on Wyoming’s 1892 Johnson County War. Many scenes were shot in Grand Teton National Park and the fictional town and homestead were constructed in Jackson Hole.

  1. Django Unchained (2012)

National Elk Refuge, Credit: Chad Coppess, Dakotagraph

Several modern films were also shot in Wyoming, including Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Winter scenes were filmed in wonderful locations including Grand Teton National Park, Kelly Warm Springs, and the National Elk Refuge.

More info at or