Both Ketchum and nearby Sun Valley are located in Wood River Valley, a region which is home to the Sun Valley Ski Resort, the Sawtooth National Forest, and the river from which it gets its name, Big Wood River. Originally named Leadville, Ketchum was founded in 1880 and grew around the lead and silver mining operations located there. At the same time, travelers were coming to Sun Valley to take advantage of the purported healing powers of the hot springs.
Today, people still come to Ketchum and Sun Valley to relax. Sun Valley is home to one of the country's most famous ski resorts, and Ketchum is considered the gateway to the Sun Valley Resort and the Sawtooth Recreation Area. Ketchum is also located close to the natural wonders of Big Wood River and parts of the Boise, Challis and Sawtooth National forests, thus providing visitors with a multitude of opportunities for fishing, hiking and trail riding.
In town, it is apparent the residents of Ketchum celebrate their pioneer heritage and have combined their Old West roots with modern life. Nothing is more of a testament to this fact than the annual Wagon Days Big Hitch Parade, which features horse-drawn buggies, wagons and carts traveling down streets lined with modern shops and galleries.