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Cozy Up

You know it's fall when Idaho breaks out the wool at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

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At the first sign of leaves turning, many of us are consumed by palpable nostalgia. And there’s a simple reason for this: Fall is a season steeped in tradition. Apple-picking, pie-baking, chopping wood—these things we do when autumn arrives are remnants of rituals and a time when man busied himself preparing for winter. Today, towns across the country recall and celebrate these traditions with fall festivals. One of the most unique? The Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Ketchum, Idaho.

This five-day festival from Oct. 6-10, 2021 celebrates Idaho’s rich history and culture of sheep ranching dating back to the early 20th century. The festival is chock-full of events, from sheepdog trials and wool-knitting classes to lamb-cooking demos and tastings, but the highlight is the parade of 1,500 sheep migrating off the mountains to their winter pastures via Ketchum’s Main Street. Stand by and watch the tradition unfold, then join in to help drive the sheep through town. And while you’re in the area, take advantage of the fall activities including mountain biking, hiking, fly-fishing, beer drinking, and more. Or, start day dreaming of winter by scouting those beckoning ski lines at the Sun Valley Resort and neighboring backcountry faces. For more information and trip planning, head to visitsunvalley.com.

By The Numbers

  • 2.65 million: Sheep population of Idaho in 1918
  • 1,500: Sheep in the festival parade
  • 1997: First year of the festival