Exploring Sun Valley – A Comprehensive Guide was published in 2010. After successfully publishing two river guidebooks, Matt began to think about tackling a hiking guidebook. His daughter Sarah was born in 2007 while preparing to research the Rogue Guidebook. With another child (Max born in 2009) on the way, Matt wanted to stay closer to home.
Being the map-geek that he is, Matt really enjoyed having a waterproof book full of beautiful 7.5-minute topo maps. They were extreme handy for exploring the ridges of the Middle Fork, so why not apply the same durable, waterproof format to the mountains around his hometown of Sun Valley, ID?
Research and Goals: Matt began research in earnest during the summer of 2009, hiking or biking every trail in the Smokey, Boulder, and Pioneer Mountains. He wanted to create a guidebook that provided a more thorough understanding of the landscape. Like the previous river guides, the goal was to create a multi-faceted book that served as an all-in-one resource for locals and visitors to the greater Sun Valley area.
Overview Maps: With those goals in mind, Matt created an overview map of each mountain range covered in the guide. These useful hillshade maps show all of the trails, trailheads, and campgrounds and include
Hiking Maps: These beautiful, full-color 7.5 minute topo maps have been digitally resized to include a greater coverage area. They include part or all of 29 different USGS quadrangle maps (a more than $170 value). The maps have been overlaid with routes, peak names, and numerous other icons that add valuable information.
Hiking Descriptions: Unlike many other guidebooks, Exploring Sun Valley shows all of the routes on a particular map page. This provides users with a better understanding of how trails link together. The trail “title box” includes important mileage and difficulty info. The “Highlight and Info” section offers readers a quick overview of the hike. The detailed route description that follow are both accurate and succinct, giving readers a better understanding of the landscape.
Off Trail Routes: The mountains around Sun Valley are surprisingly friendly when it comes to off-trail travel, and there are seemingly limitless opportunities to explore the canyons and peaks. The book includes descriptions for many off-trail routes that will hopefully inspire hikers to get out and explore the vast expanse of mountains in central Idaho.
History: The guidebook also includes a thorough overview of the regional history as it relates to trail development and recreation in the valley. Covering the period of early Wood River Mining to modern day trail development, this also provides a useful perspective on the recreations history of the valley.
Geology: As with his river guidebooks, Matt researched and read many different academic and professional geology papers to write the geology section. The book includes a thorough, yet simplified background on the geologic history of Central Idaho and the Wood River Valley. There is nothing else like it in print today.
Wildflowers: Sifting through more than 1000 images of wildflower in his archives, Matt selected the best 60 or so for the guidebook. Organized by color for easier identification, the brief descriptions identify the most common local species. Having this section included in the waterproof guide is like having two books in one!
Exploring Sun Valley – A Comprehensive Guide is intended to give readers the most thorough understanding of the local Sun Valley landscape. Matt sincerely hopes he has succeeded in preparing you for your next adventure!