After a couple of days catching up on chores and rest at home, we ventured out to visit Idaho City. From our location it was a 75 mile drive (one way). Idaho City is located on Hwy 21 which runs through the Boise National Forest. Highway 21 is considered the “Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway”.
Idaho City was founded in December 1862 as “Bannock” (sometimes given as “West Bannock”), amidst the Boise Basingold rush during the Civil War, the largest since the California gold rush a dozen years earlier. Near the confluence of Elk and Mores Creeks, its plentiful water supply allowed it to outgrow the other nearby camps in the basin. (Source: Wikipedia)
At one time, Idaho City held 20,000 residents and it was said that you were more likely to die by murder than any other cause. Out of the first 200 burials in the new founded cemetery, only 28 people died of natural causes! It must have been a very rough and tumble place to live at its peak.
On the drive up Hwy 21 you will come to Lucky Peak Reservoir. This beautiful lake and state park offers swimming, boating and fishing. Located only 10 miles from Boise, ID it’s a great place to spend the day.
However, our destination was further up the road so we continued on. We climbed the rolling hills and before we knew it there were big Ponderosa Pines looming over us, as well as a beautiful creek running along the highway. We pulled over so I could get a few pictures.
About 30 minutes later we arrived in Idaho City and we were starving! So our first order of business was to get lunch. We stopped at Trudy’s Kitchen and had one of the best burgers we’ve had in a long time! It’s a quaint little place and had tons of antiques from the local area. Definitely a recommended stop!
After lunch we decided some walking would do us good so we parked the truck and headed into the “living ghost town”. It’s called such because as there are still 485 residents in the town living side by side by the old buildings (and some still being used). 20,000 residents at it’s peak and now only 485. It’s lowest population at one time was 120 people. Idaho City’s main source of income is hunting & fishing tourism.
Some of the buildings and sites we saw on our walk:
After walking around for awhile we decided to try to find the place that I used to camp as a kid. Located on Grimes Creek (just a little ways from Idaho City) in the Boise National Forest. The last time I was there I think I was 13 or 14 so over 30 years ago (eek, telling my age!). We had no idea if we would find it but we took the chance. It’s about 15 miles off Hwy 21 on Grimes Creek Road. The road starts off paved but after about 8 miles it turns to gravel.
As we headed along the road we saw lots of campsites. Mark kept asking me if “this was it”. I said “no, we went over a bridge and it was on the left. So we kept driving. At one point we thought we saw it but the bridge was blocked off and said “private property”. We drove a little further before realizing that the blocked off bridge must have been it. So we turned around and drove back. Before we made it back we stopped at a campsite right on the creek and got out. I just HAD to dip my toes in the water! 🙂
The water was very cold but SO refreshing!
After drying off we headed down the road and there it was! The bridge marked “private property” with a gate across. We got out and I looked around the gate and sure enough, it was the campsite we had used when I was growing up. Located right on the creek. So many wonderful memories! In a way I’m glad it’s privately owned and won’t be destroyed now. I hope they keep it just the way it is!
We headed home after that which was an hour and a half drive. We did manage to get more pictures and I will put them in a gallery in the bottom of this post. Feel free to browse! It was so much fun there and very entertaining. And I’m glad I got to relive some old memories.
We leave here on Sunday, July 19th and head to Oregon. Our plans are to spend the next 6 weeks or so there. At this time we are headed to the Crater Lake area. We will post from there next!
Oh and before I forget – check out this awesome shirt I found at TARGET (it was in the men’s section)!! I got the last one here locally so not sure they are anywhere else but I just HAD to have it!