Go on a Ghost Town tour of the Gem State. Those shiny minerals, silver and gold, lured thousands of hopeful wannabes to Idaho to strike it rich during the gold rush of the late 1800s. After the dust of reality settled, Idaho’s mining towns plummeted from boom towns to ghost towns. Today, you can learn the fascinating story of Idaho’s Wild West in it’s museums and by exploring mines and abandoned towns. Try your hand at discovering the treasures still hidden below the surface.
Ghost Town Lodes in Silver City
Gold and silver mining in 1880’s Silver City fueled a population explosion to about 2,500 residents and 75 businesses. Many third- and fourth-generation descendants of those miners still own the 70 remaining—and still standing— buildings.
Silver City, at 6,200 feet, is one of the few old mining towns that has not burned down or become commercialized. Rugged and picturesque, the 8,000-foot Owyhee Mountains surround the town and the old Idaho Hotel looks as it did 100 years ago (with a few modern amenities). The town’s 75 structures that date from the 1860’s to the early 1900’s, are a photographer’s dream scene. Stay at a Good Sam Park near Silver City.
Riding Wallace’s Ghost Town Trolley
Wallace, known as the “Silver Capital of the World,” produced 1.2 billion ounces in Shoshone county since 1884 and mining is still a big part of the economy. Now also an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise (for its two pristine mountains, Silver and Lookout, within 10 miles, and hundreds of miles of off-roads and trails including five nationally recognized trails). The town is also known for having every downtown building on the National Register of Historic Places and also has the notable distinction of being officially declared the Center of the Universe. There is plenty to explore in this fun little town and recreation aplenty in the surrounding mountains. Hop on Wallace’s Ghost Town Trolley to learn more.
Historical attractions to visit: Sierra Silver Mine, Wallace District Mining Museum, Northern Pacific RR Museum, Oasis Bordello Museum’ and Crystal Gold Mine. The world famous Route of the Hiawatha bike trail is located southeast of Wallace and Silver Mountain Resort, with its indoor waterpark and ski mountain gondola, is just 20 minutes west. Stay at a Good Sam Park near Wallace.
Ghost Town Chills Near Challis
An interpretive center near Challis offers museum exhibits and a gold panning station, and the nearby Land of the Yankee Fork State Park has several historical sites to explore, including the ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer, and Bayhorse (within the state park). Stay at an RV park near Challis.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing ebooks on Amazon Kindle.