Golden aspen leaves swirl across southern Idaho's Sawtooth Scenic Byway as I roll past cornhusk-yellow fields dotted with red barns and minty evergreens. The scene is so perfectly autumnal it doesn't look quite real.
But my destination, Sun Valley, is anything but fantasy. Along with the neighboring towns of Hailey and Ketchum, it comprises one of the most famous resort regions in the world. Celebrities such as Ingrid Bergman and Ernest Hemingway hobnobbed here in the 1930s and '40s; today the area still attracts a glamorous crowd, from snow-shredding Olympians to Hollywood stars. The celebs tend to congregate in winter and summer, but I prefer the quieter autumn, when you can spend your days hiking through dazzling stands of maples and salute the sun as it sinks behind the snow-dusted Sawtooths at dusk.