Idaho's Mining Legacy

Southwestern Idaho

Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology - Boise

The Museum of Idaho Mining and Geology in Boise boasts a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that showcase Idaho's mining heritage. The museum's collections include mining equipment, photographs, documents, and geological specimens that tell the story of Idaho's mining history from its earliest days to the present. Visitors may explore exhibits on topics such as placer mining, hard rock mining, and the environmental impact of mining, gaining insights into the technological advancements and social dynamics that shaped the industry. The museum hosts educational programs and self-guided tours that provide a deeper understanding of Idaho's mining legacy. For a full day of adventure, check out the surrounding area: Boise, the home of the museum, is conveniently located in the heart of Idaho. Nestled in the Treasure Valley, surrounded by the Boise Foothills and the Boise River, the city's landscape seamlessly blends urban and natural beauty. With easy access via major highways and the Boise Airport, Boise is a stress-free destination for visitors. Activities: Boise is a hub of excitement for museum visitors. The Boise River Greenbelt offers a variety of activities, from leisurely strolls to wildlife watching. Downtown Boise's vibrant arts and culture scene, with its theaters, galleries, and the historic Basque Block, is sure to captivate. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Boise National Forest provides a playground for hiking, camping, and fishing. The Idaho Botanical Garden and the Old Idaho Penitentiary offer a unique blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue, ensuring there's something for everyone in Boise. It should be assumed that all mines are on private property unless verified otherwise.

DeLamar Silver Mine - Jordan Valley

The DeLamar Silver Mine near Jordan Valley is a storied site in Idaho's mining annals. Established in the late 19th century, this mine is a prolific producer of silver and gold, contributing significantly to the region's economic boom. Tours of this area are unavailable. However, the nearby Silver City is sure to delight with its own mining history and the center of the Owhyee mines as the county seat from 1866 to 1935. Pack up the ice chest and picnic basket for a day of incredible scenic views, historic structures, and nature. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is mild and the surroundings are at their most beautiful. Surroundings: Jordan Valley is surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Owyhee Mountains. Arid high deserts, rocky outcrops, and sweeping vistas characterize the landscape. The area is accessible via Highway 95, offering a scenic drive through the expansive and untamed wilderness of Southwestern Idaho. Wildlife in the area includes pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn, and a variety of bird species add to the allure of this remote location. Activities: Beyond the DeLamar Silver Mine, Jordan Valley offers a range of outdoor activities. The Owyhee Canyonlands provide exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The nearby Jordan Craters, with their unique volcanic formations, offer a one-of-a-kind geological experience. Fishing, birdwatching, and photography are also popular in this area, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Empire Mine/Mackay Mine Hill - Mackay

The Empire Mine near Mackay is a significant site in Idaho's mining history. Established in the early 20th century, the mine remains a substantial producer of copper, silver, and other valuable minerals. Although the Empire Mine facility does not host tours, visitors can tour the nearby Mackay Mine Hill with a self-guided tour and its three options for tour routes: learning about the extraction processes, the technological advancements of the time, and the life of the miners. The mine's history is rich with stories of discovery, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of precious metals. Surroundings: Mackay is nestled in the Lost River Valley, lined by the soaring peaks of the Lost River Range. The area is characterized by its rugged beauty, with alpine meadows, clear rivers, and dense forests. The town is accessible via Highway 93, making it a convenient destination for travelers. The surrounding landscape supports diverse wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species, enhancing the natural charm of the region. Visitors should be prepared for varying weather conditions, especially during the winter months when the area can experience heavy snowfall. Activities: In addition to touring the Mackay Mine Hill Tour, visitors to Mackay can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. The nearby Mount Borah, Idaho's highest peak, offers challenging hiking and climbing opportunities. The Big Lost River provides excellent fishing and kayaking. The Mackay Reservoir is ideal for boating, fishing, and picnicking. The area also features numerous trails for hiking, biking, and ATV adventures, ensuring a full range of recreational opportunities.

Pearl Mine - Pearl

The Pearl Mine, situated near the historic town of Pearl (Sweet, Idaho), played a pivotal role in Idaho's gold rush era. Established in the late 19th century, the mine was known for its rich gold deposits. Visitors can explore the exterior surroundings and remains of the mine on a self-guided tour through the area. The mine is located off the side of the main dirt road and may still boast an old abandoned car projecting from the top of the entry to the mine that's been blocked off to the public. The mine's history offers a captivating glimpse into the gold fever that once gripped the region, and now its silent remains are surrounded by rolling foothills and wildlife. Surroundings: Pearl is located in the picturesque foothills of the Boise Mountains, offering a scenic and tranquil setting. Rolling hills, dense forests, and clear streams define the area. Pearl is accessible via a short drive from Boise, making it an easy and rewarding day trip. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the Pearl Mine, visitors may enjoy various outdoor activities a bit further along within the surrounding foothill areas. This area is primarily arid with desert fauna, though during the off-season when temperatures are a tad bit cooler, it is an excellent location for backcountry biking and hiking. The foothills are ideal for mountain biking and horseback riding, especially on low-traffic trails. The combination of self-guided historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes Pearl a delightful destination.

Atlanta Gold Mine - Atlanta

The Atlanta Gold Mine, located in the remote town of Atlanta, is a historic site that played a crucial role in Idaho's gold mining era. Established in the late 19th century, the mine was a significant producer of gold, contributing to the region's prosperity. Visitors may explore the area trails and any scattered remnants of the mining equipment, learning about the gold extraction processes and the lives of the miners who toiled there. The mine's history is rich with tales of discovery, hardship, and adventure. Surroundings: Atlanta is nestled in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains, surrounded by rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine rivers. The town is accessible via a scenic drive along the Middle Fork of the Boise River, offering stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. The area is home to abundant wildlife, like bobcats, deer, elk, black bears, and various bird species, creating a serene and picturesque environment. Activities: In addition to exploring the Atlanta Gold Mine, visitors can engage in various outdoor activities. The nearby Sawtooth Wilderness offers exceptional hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The Middle Fork of the Boise River is ideal for fishing and white-water rafting. The area also features numerous trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor adventure makes Atlanta a captivating destination for all types of travelers.

Silver City Mines - Silver City

The mines of Silver City are a testament to Idaho's rich mining heritage. Established during the silver boom of the late 19th century, these mines were prolific producers of silver and other precious metals. Visitors may explore the remnants of the mines in the town, including old tools and equipment, learning about the mining techniques and the lives of the miners who worked there. The history of Silver City is filled with stories of boom and bust, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of wealth. Surroundings: Silver City is a well-preserved semi-ghost town (occupied by a few residents) located in the Owyhee Mountains, surrounded by rugged and beautiful landscapes. Steep canyons, high desert plateaus, and clear streams characterize the area. Silver City is accessible via a dirt road, which adds to the adventure of visiting this remote location. The surrounding landscape boasts a variety of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and numerous bird species, enhancing the area's natural charm. Activities: Beyond exploring the historic mines, visitors to Silver City can enjoy various outdoor activities. The town is a living museum with well-preserved buildings and interpretive signs telling its past story. The nearby Owyhee Canyonlands offer exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The Jordan Creek provides excellent fishing and birdwatching. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor adventure makes Silver City a unique and captivating destination.

War Eagle Mountain Mines - Silver City

The War Eagle Mountain Mines, located near Silver City, are renowned for their rich deposits of silver and gold. Established in the late 19th century, these mines were among the most productive in the region. Visitors can explore the area trails near some of the mines, with treasures of remaining mining equipment and remaining structures scattered throughout the area; visitors need to observe private property boundaries and any posted no-trespassing signage. The history of War Eagle Mountain is filled with stories of fortune and struggle, making it a fascinating site for history enthusiasts who want to gather additional information available within the nearby Silver City, an occupied "ghost town" that boasts a hotel and several shops. Surroundings: War Eagle Mountain is part of the Owyhee Mountain Range, characterized by its rugged terrain and scenic beauty. Steep canyons, high desert plateaus, and clear streams surround the area. Access to War Eagle Mountain is via a dirt road, which adds to the sense of adventure and exploration. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and various bird species, enhancing the natural allure of the region. Activities: Besides exploring the area trails with hidden antique equipment scattered throughout the area, visitors to War Eagle Mountain may enjoy various outdoor activities. The nearby Owyhee Canyonlands offer exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The Jordan Creek provides excellent fishing and birdwatching. The town of Silver City, with its well-preserved buildings and interpretive signs, offers a glimpse into the region's mining past. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor adventure makes War Eagle Mountain a unique and captivating destination.

Owyhee Mines - Owyhee County

The Owyhee Mines, located in Owyhee County, has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. These mines were significant producers of silver, gold, and other precious metals, contributing to the economic boom of the region. Visitors may explore the remnants of the mines, including old tunnels, shafts, and equipment, learning about the extraction processes and the lives of the miners who toiled there. The history of the Owyhee Mines is filled with stories of discovery, innovation, and perseverance. Surroundings: Owyhee County is characterized by its rugged and remote landscapes. The area features high desert plateaus, deep canyons, and clear streams, creating a picturesque and serene environment. The Owyhee Mines are accessible via a dirt road network, providing visitors with a sense of adventure. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and various bird species, including multiple eagles, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the historic mines, visitors to Owyhee County can engage in various outdoor activities. The Owyhee Canyonlands offers exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The Owyhee River provides excellent fishing and rafting experiences. The area is also ideal for birdwatching and photography, with its diverse wildlife and stunning vistas. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes Owyhee County a compelling destination for all travelers.

Delamar Ghost Town Mines - Delamar

The Delamar Ghost Town Mines in the remote Owyhee Mountains is a poignant reminder of Idaho's mining past. Established in the late 19th century, these mines were prolific producers of silver and gold. The town of Delamar, once bustling with activity, is now a ghost town, with the remnants of the mines and buildings offering a glimpse into the past. Visitors can explore the area trails with views of the several mines and learn about the surroundings and the lives of the miners who once thrived there. Surroundings: Delamar is situated in the rugged Owyhee Mountains, surrounded by steep canyons, high desert plateaus, and clear streams. The area is accessible via a challenging dirt road, adding to the adventure of visiting this remote location. The surrounding landscape is home to many wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and numerous bird species, enhancing the area's natural charm. Activities: In addition to exploring the Delamar Ghost Town Mines, visitors can enjoy various outdoor activities. The Owyhee Canyonlands offers exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The nearby Jordan Creek provides excellent fishing and birdwatching. The town of Silver City, with its well-preserved buildings and interpretive signs, offers a glimpse into the region's mining past. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor adventure makes Delamar a unique and captivating destination.

Grimes Creek Mines - Boise

The Grimes Creek Mines near Boise are a significant part of Idaho's gold mining history. Established in the mid-19th century, these mines were among the earliest gold discoveries in the region, sparking a rush of prospectors and settlers. The history of Grimes Creek is filled with stories of discovery, hardship, and the relentless pursuit of fortune. Surroundings: Grimes Creek is nestled in the picturesque Boise National Forest, surrounded by rolling hills, dense forests, and clear streams. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the stunning surroundings, visitors can enjoy various outdoor activities. The Boise National Forest offers excellent hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The nearby Boise River provides additional fishing and kayaking experiences. The Idaho City Historic District offers a rich historical experience with its well-preserved buildings and museums for those interested in history. 

Thunder Mountain Mines - Thunder Mountain

The Thunder Mountain Mines in the remote region are a storied part of Idaho's mining heritage. Established in the early 20th century, these mines were significant producers of essentials, contributing to the economic prosperity of the region. Visitors can choose to explore the surrounding area trails for a better idea of what life was like for miners or search online for the state archives for additional information on the mine, and its inner workings. The history of Thunder Mountain is rich with tales of discovery, innovation, and perseverance. Surroundings: Thunder Mountain is in the arid, rugged, and remote central Idaho wilderness, surrounded by steep canyons, dense forests, and clear streams. The surrounding area is accessible via a challenging dirt road, adding to the sense of adventure for visitors. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including mountain lions, deer, elk, black bears, and various bird species, enhancing the natural allure of the region. Activities: In addition to exploring the area trails, Thunder Mountain visitors can engage in various outdoor activities. The surrounding wilderness offers exceptional hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The nearby rivers provide excellent fishing and white-water rafting experiences. The area is also ideal for wildlife watching and photography, with its diverse wildlife and stunning vistas. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes Thunder Mountain a compelling destination for all types of travelers.

Wagontown Mine - Boise

The Wagontown Mine, situated near the Del Mar District, the mine played a pivotal role in Idaho's early gold mining history. Located in the Payette Section of the Owyhee Mountains, the region consists mostly of plateaus and mountain ranges lying between the Rocky Mountains with the mine boasting a rich contribution to Idaho's mining history. Surroundings: Wagontown is in the picturesque Boise National Forest, surrounded by rolling hills, dense forests, and clear streams. The area is easily accessible via a drive from Boise, making it a convenient destination for a day trip. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the Wagontown Mine, visitors may choose from a host of outdoor activities to add to the must-visit list in the surrounding area. The Boise National Forest offers excellent hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The nearby Boise River provides additional fishing and kayaking experiences. The Idaho City Historic District offers a rich historical experience with its well-preserved buildings and museums for those interested in history. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes Wagontown a delightful destination.

Rocky Bar Mines - Elmore County

The Rocky Bar Mines in Elmore County are a significant part of Idaho's gold mining history. Established in the mid-19th century, these mines were among the earliest gold discoveries in the region, sparking a rush of prospectors and settlers. Visitors can explore the remains of the nearby ghost town. The history of Rocky Bar is filled with stories of discovery, hardship, and the relentless pursuit of fortune while surrounded by stunning forested landscapes. Surroundings: Rocky Bar is nestled in the picturesque Boise National Forest, surrounded by rolling hills, dense forests, and clear streams. The area is accessible via a scenic drive from Boise, making it a convenient destination for a day trip. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including moose, deer, elk, and various bird species, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the Rocky Bar Mines, visitors may enjoy various outdoor activities in the surrounding area. The Boise National Forest offers excellent hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The nearby Boise River provides additional fishing and kayaking experiences. The Idaho City Historic District offers a rich historical experience with its well-preserved buildings and museums for those interested in history. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes Rocky Bar a delightful destination.

South Mountain Mines - South Mountain

The South Mountain Mines, located in the remote South Mountain region, has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. These mines significantly produced silver, gold, and other precious metals, contributing to the region's economic boom. The history of the South Mountain Mines is filled with stories of discovery, innovation, and perseverance. Surroundings: South Mountain is characterized by its rugged and remote landscapes. The area features high desert plateaus, deep canyons, and clear streams, creating a picturesque and serene environment. The South Mountain Mines is accessible via a dirt road network, providing visitors adventure. The surrounding landscape is home to diverse wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and various bird species, including the eagle, adding to the region's natural beauty. Activities: Beyond exploring the historic mines, South Mountain visitors can engage in various outdoor activities. The surrounding wilderness offers exceptional hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. The nearby rivers provide excellent fishing and rafting experiences. The area is also ideal for birdwatching and photography, with its diverse wildlife and stunning vistas. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor recreation makes South Mountain a compelling destination for all types of travelers.

Boise Basin Mines - Idaho City

The Boise Basin Mines near Idaho City are a storied part of Idaho's gold mining heritage. Established in the mid-19th century, these mines were among the richest gold discoveries in the region, attracting thousands of prospectors. The history of the Boise Basin Mines is filled with tales of boom and bust, making it a fascinating site for history enthusiasts. Visiting Idaho City is the way to go for additional information on the area mines and a plethora of history, photographs, structures, artifacts, and remnants. Not only is this a popular tourist area, it's the ideal way to spend the weekend exploring, learning, and making memories. Surroundings: Idaho City is nestled in the scenic Boise National Forest, surrounded by rolling hills, dense forests, and clear streams. The town is easily accessible via Highway 21, making it a convenient destination for visitors. The surrounding landscape supports diverse wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, enhancing the region's natural charm. Activities: The nearby Boise National Forest offers excellent hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The town itself is a living museum, with well-preserved buildings and museums that tell the story of its gold rush past. The area also features numerous trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. The combination of historical exploration and outdoor adventure makes Idaho City a captivating destination for all types of travelers.

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