How much are you interested in the Spooky side of Idaho? You do not have to wait around for Halloween if you want to get spooked in January instead of October. One of the things Idaho is famous for is ghost towns. Sure, there probably are not going to be any ghosts in these ghost towns, lying around, waiting to spook you, and if you go to one of these towns during the day, you are just going to see some ruins, but these ghost towns do serve as an interesting look into the past. There are almost a hundred of these ancient and abandoned cities dotted across Idaho, and if you want to visit them, you can get a little bit of a history lesson. I am going to tell you a little bit about a few of these towns and hopefully, that will get you interested in exploring, but there are too many ghost towns in Idaho to cover them all here. And, maybe, if you go at the right time of night and bring a flashlight (Assuming the area is not off limits when things get late), you might just find out that there is something in the old abandoned houses or creepy forests that surround them that is just haunted enough to spook you out of your mind. Boo!
Most of the ghost towns in Idaho were created around the time when people were rushing to Idaho to find wealth in the gems that the state is so famous for. People had found several rich veins of precious metals and valuable gemstones all over the state, and so towns like Florence in Idaho County and Boulder City, which is way up in Boundary County, were founded so that people could live and eat and still be able to spend their days looking for their fortune in the rocks and rivers of Idaho. These cities had populations in the thousands and were once thriving towns that might have at any point become metropolises like Boise (Okay, maybe a small town on the border of the United States and Canada would not have become a metropolis, but it would definitely have become a significant stop and might have been very important in the Idaho economy). As with a lot of mining towns and places built just to services temporary workers, when the mine ran out and became unprofitable, the towns pretty much died out. It is a story you are probably familiar with. The population slowly started to dwindle away until only the few people who were there for the area instead of the wealth remained. From there, they could not support themselves, so it was time to leave. All that remains of Boulder City (Not to be confused with the Nevada town that is still alive and well) is a couple of broken buildings without their rooves, a lone grave, a rusted out and ancient car, and a collapsed entrance to the nearby mine.
Most of these ghost towns are like Boulder City today, with not much left to actually see and do, only there for the most voracious of ghost town hunters. However, there are a few ghost towns that have actually been kept up and there are a bunch of buildings still standing to see and interact with. One of the best-known examples is Silver City, down in the southwest corner of Idaho. There were a bunch of towns next door to Silver City like Ruby City, Fairview, and Flint, but Silver City is probably the most famous and well kept up. Of course, Silver City was yet another mining town that came on hard times when the mine dried up, but you can still see some pretty substantially sized buildings if you decide to visit. There are saloons, hotels, government buildings, cemeteries, schools, and even a barbershop. They all look a little run down and would definitely have toppled over by now if no one was looking after them, but they are still there, standing proudly despite the years and the elements. One of the old hotels in the town (With the highly unique name of the “Idaho Hotel,” though we probably cannot blame the person who named it) is actually still open for business. It was refurbished in the early 1970s and still takes guests to this day. It might not be the most comfortable hotel, but you can live the life of a 1800s prospector on the way to finding fame and fortune.
You should remember that most of these ghost towns are far out of the way of the rest of civilization. Idaho is a big and spread out state with great distance between even the populated towns. Keep in mind that some times of year are going to result in weather patterns that make it impossible to get to some of these ghost towns, or at the very least dangerous. You should plan your visit carefully to coincide with the best weather expected and do research to figure out what kind of roads are going to be available to you. Some of the ghost towns like Boulder City have mostly roads that are only accessible by vehicles with four-wheel drive. You do not want to try and traverse those roads with a compact car that can barely handle a regular dirt road. There is also some danger of getting lost, so make sure you have the right tools to find your way to the ghost town of your choice and then find your way back to the highway. Otherwise, you might end up becoming a permanent resident of that ghost town! But probably not.
Wherever you go in Idaho, there is likely going to be a ghost town at the end of a not too long drive. They are all over the south part of Idaho where most of the Idaho population is and some of those towns are even maintained, but you can still find ghost towns even when you head up to the north. It can be fun to do some exploring and find Idaho’s living history.