Sun Valley is known today as a winter escape for the rich and famous, but the area is rooted in Western culture. For over 150 years, sheep ranching has been a key part of Sun Valley’s identity. Sheep ranching was once such a major economic driver that the sheep population in 1918 boomed to 2.6 million, making Idaho more densely populated with sheep than humans.
Today’s numbers are much smaller, but the tradition lives on. The sheep still make their seasonal pilgrimage 1,000 miles (1,609 km) up the mountain into the Snake River Valley in the spring and retrace their steps come autumn back to the Wood River Valley. The return is celebrated each year at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival.
Further north in Idaho, Wallace and the surrounding area is the richest silver mining district in the world – earning the nickname “Silver Capital of the World.” The mining area was founded in 1884 after the discovery of silver, gold and other metal. Mining remains a large part of the economy, blending Wild West mining history with modern-day techniques, as it continues to produce silver and stay in harmony with the area’s sprawling mountain landscape shared by outdoor recreationalists.
For more information on Idaho, visit VisitIdaho.org.