Mining towns play a significant role in the history of Idaho. As a matter of fact, this state simply could not exist in its current form if it weren’t for the dozens of mining towns that sprouted up throughout the 1800s.
When silver was discovered in the region, a number of these settlements saw economic growth; nevertheless, the region’s silver reserves soon depleted, and the towns themselves were abandoned. Although they met an unfortunate end, several of these communities are still open for tourists to explore today.
Below you can find some of the creepy ghost towns in Idaho.
Wickahoney is a ghost of its former self these days. The remains of a few abandoned buildings are all that remain of this settlement in Owyhee County, which is now considered a ghost town.
The most notable structure is what’s left of the Wickahoney Stage Stop, which was originally constructed in the year 1887. It’s hard to think that this little hamlet was once a bustling stagecoach station on the way to Nevada, but it was.
2. Silver City
Silver City is a rare example of a mining town that thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and survived without being commercialized, reorganized, or destroyed by fire. It’s safe to say that a visit to this mountainous ghost town will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
Although it appears that Sinker Creek Outfitters is no longer in operation, a trip into the mountains outside of Silver City on horseback is an excellent way to learn about the region’s rich history.
Many of Burke’s tall buildings are still standing, making it a particularly eerie ghost town. The lack of inhabitants is the only telltale clue that this place is abandoned. This mining town has been remarkably well-preserved, and you can explore it and learn about its history on your own.
Explore the ghost town at your own risk, but keep in mind that it gained notoriety for the terrible conflicts that broke out between miners and mining firms. Many of these conflicts escalated into deadly bloodshed.
Take a look at these major cemeteries in Idaho.
After 100 years as the world’s leading silver producer, Wallace, Idaho is still the richest mining town in the world. Today, this community has adapted to attract tourists by creating the longest network of trails for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), mountain bikes, and snowmobiles in the world.
Book a trip into the mines and see what it’s like to work there for yourself. After that, relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Then, you must visit the museums dedicated to the area’s mining and prostituting past. The “Center of the Universe” plaque sits smack in the middle of 6th Street in historic downtown Wallace and is worth a visit if you find yourself there.
Gilmore, which is found in Lemhi County and can be reached by Highway 28, has been deserted ever since the mines in the area were formally shut down during the Great Depression. This town is the epitome of what happened to many mining communities in the 1920s, and it serves as a perfect reflection of that time period.
The majority of the town’s buildings are still surviving, despite the fact that most of them have seen much better days. Several of the buildings have not been used to house a single person since about a century ago.
When you visit the abandoned town of Bayhorse, which is situated next to the Salmon River in Idaho, you could see the charcoal ovens that are still standing on the main street. In the 1860s, there were between 300 and 500 people living in this area, but today it is deserted.
The canyon that contains this village is just around 0.9 miles long, hence the town itself is quite small. You can also get to a nearby mine by hiking up the mountain there.
Learn more about the scary haunted places in Idaho.
When gold was discovered in the area in 1866, the settlers of the surrounding area decided to build a town called Leesburg. In the town’s peak, 7,000 people called it home. Leesburg got its moniker because so many of its residents were soldiers during the Civil War (named after General Lee).
Actually, Leesburg was considered to be an affluent city in Idaho. Despite its apparent past prosperity, this small village has all but vanished. There are only a few abandoned buildings that stand as eerie monuments to the town’s past.
8. De Lamar
The town of De Lamar, also called Delmar, may be found close to the state line between Oregon and Idaho. The town is a wonderful example of an ancient mining town in Idaho because it still has many of its original structures.
After its founding in 1888, De Lamar experienced a rapid expansion followed by an even more precipitous decline. Soon after the year 1890, the town’s population began a steady decline.
Only a handful of historic structures from Placerville’s heyday remain. To learn about the past inhabitants of this mining town, visit one of the two museums still operating today.
As one of the earliest businesses in town, the Mercantile has a rich history. A single prison cell can be found in the basement. Nonetheless, this cell was rarely used. The use of lethal force, such as a bullet or the stinging swing of an unyielding rope, was the norm in prosecuting criminals.
It is highly recommended that you pay a visit to Bonanza, which is one of the most well-known ghost towns in the state of Idaho. The area is privately held yet accessible to the public, making it a popular destination for people who are interested in visiting abandoned towns.
The town of Bonanza may be found along the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, where many of the old structures are still standing. Visit the Bonanza Cemetery, which is situated approximately one mile to the west of the town, if you are feeling adventurous.
Bonanza and Custer are sometimes referred to as “sister cities.” People frequently travel to both locations at the same time due to the intertwined history of the two places. This beautiful town has been carefully preserved thanks to the efforts of many people.
The appearance of many of the structures, such as the schoolhouse and the bar, has been brought back to how it looked when they were first built. When you walk around Custer, you get the impression that you’ve been brought back in time to the 19th century.
12. Rocky Bar
After an uncontrollable fire in 1892 decimated a large portion of the village of Rocky Bar, the community was never able to fully rebuild and became a mining ghost town. This abandoned town still has several dilapidated buildings in it that defiantly stand where they were put. But, fortunately, there have been those who have made an effort to preserve what is left of it.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the United States Forest Service are accountable for all the state’s ghost towns. Therefore, these agencies have ensured that each mining town’s rich past and ecosystem remain intact. And the best part is there is no longer any secrecy surrounding these locations; they are now exposed to the public as tourism destinations.