If you turn West off Main Street in Hailey at the big church and cruise down the hill you will run into a large bull moose. You will also be entering one of Hailey’s coolest neighborhoods, Cedar Bend. The moose is really a steel sculpture nestled in the tree’s of “Mayor” Ted Graham’s house but it has fooled many passers by for the real thing. It’s a great welcome to the neighborhood and it also gives you a great idea of what’s to come.
Cedar Bend is tucked in the tall cottonwood and aspen forests down by the Big Wood River in West Hailey. It’s actually a pretty small area with only eight homes built, 3 or 4 of which were only built in the last few years. I actually live in one of the eight homes.
What’s cool about Cedar Bend is first and foremost the trees. It’s situated in an old growth riparian area with beautiful stands of cottonwoods and aspen that run all the way to the river. The trees are like an umbrella of shade and privacy during and the summer and the fall colors are on fire.
During the winter and spring, cow moose and their calves come to winter in these forest and are frequent visitors to the backyards, streets and front lawns. Its an unbelievable sight to wake up and find a giant moose standing in your flower bed by the window. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue from shooing them away as they strip every leave off a branch of your aspen trees for their morning snack. But hey, its a bit of local nature that neighbors have learned to love.
Down by the river which is just steps from most homes, you can enter one of Hailey’s gems, the Wood River Land Trust Cedar Bend Preserve. http://www.woodriverlandtrust.org/Draper_Wood_River_Preserve.php This is a large tract of preserved land which will never be developed and offers a cool maze of trails through the trees that lead to fun places. One stop on the trail is the heart tree which is a large cottonwood tree that is decorated by visitors with river rocks that have formed the shape of a heart.
Next, the swimming hole is one of the deepest pools on the Big Wood river and has a great cliff for jumping into the cool water on hot summer days. You can throw a stick to your lab at the swimming hole until your arm falls off.
Another spot is called The Beach and has a sandy upper area that leads to the water. It’s a killer place to kick back for a while and watch the river roll by while the kids play in the sand. If you follow the trail to the North you will pop out at the mouth of Croy Canyon where the river meets the base of Carbonate mountain hiking trail. All in all, it’s a great asset to Cedar Bend and the entire community of Hailey.
Just past the Cedar Bend Preserve you will find Lawrence Heagle Park. This is a great space complete with a large open area for frisbee and soccer, two tennis courts, great play structure, picnic tables and restrooms. The park gets a ton of use throughout the summer and the backdrop of Della Mountain to the west is insane. If you work your way towards the back of the park you will again run into a great sandy beach and river rock sandbar on the river plus there is a wonderful little trout pond tucked in the trees which is a great spot to cast a fly with the kids and pull out a few rainbows for the frying pan. They love it.
Even though Cedar Bend feels like miles from anywhere it is actually located in very close proximity to downtown, shopping and schools. It’s an easy bike ride or walk to the grocery store, schools and movie theaters in Hailey.
Next time you’re in the area, take a minute to pop down by the river and see all that Cedar Bend has to offer. I think you will enjoy it.
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