It’s true, ghost towns are pretty amazing vacation destinations. And Silver City Ghost Town is no exception. Located just 70 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho, this abandoned settlement was once a boomtown. Now, it’s preserved as a partially-restored 19th century abandoned mining town. But back in the day it was the place to be if you sought your fortune in gold or silver (hence the name “Silver City”…quite a draw). Today there roughly 70 buildings still stand, but at its height, Silver City boasted a population of over 2,500 people.
History of Silver City
It all began way back in 1863, when gold and silver was discovered nearby. That’s all it took to attract hundreds of miners who flooded the area with mining claims. The town was founded just one year later in 1864, and businesses began setting up shop. During its heyday you could frequent one of the eight saloons in town, pick up your wares in six general stores, and if you needed an amputation there was a hospital on site. Today, visitors can camp and spend time walking around, imagining what life was like over 150 years ago…before Netflix.
“Silver City, Idaho is one of the few old mining towns that did not burn down or become commercialized into a modern city. Visiting Silver City is like going back into history. The Idaho Hotel is as it was 100 years ago with a few modern amenities. Sinker Creek Outfitters will provide you with a historic ride back into history on horse back exploring the Owyhee Mountains, Silver City, Empire City, Ruby City and more. At Pat’s What Not Shop, books, souvenirs, local mineral samples are available.” – Historic Silver City Idaho
The Silver City campground is a primitive campground, so don’t forget your tent! It’s set against the beautiful Owyhee Mountains. It’s open from Memorial Day weekend until November. Then in winter when the area is blanketed in snow you can access Silver City via snowmobile, skiing or snowshoeing. One last thing: Remember, this is an abandoned mining town, so the water is NOT safe to drink. In fact, Jordan Creek is believed to have high levels of mercury, due to the years of mining that occurred in the area.
Fortune and Glory
“Almost a dozen cemeteries and many more remote burial sites attest to the hard and sometimes dangerous and violent lives led by many. Hundreds of mines pock-mark and honeycomb the mountains; one had upwards of seventy miles of tunnels laboriously hand-dug through it. Between 1863 and 1865, more than two hundred and fifty mines were in operation and hundreds more were developed thereafter. Through the seventy-odd years of mining, more than twelve ore-processing mills gleaned rich rewards in tons of gold and silver. Large stacks of gold and silver ingots were photographed for posterity. At the very least, sixty million dollars worth of precious metals were taken from the area. At today’s prices, that amount would be even more impressive. At the present time, there are no major mines operating in the area. The De Lamar Silver Mine began operation in 1977, shut down in 2000, and is one of the largest open pit gold and silver mines in the U.S. Today 4 businesses are open in Silver City. The historic Idaho Hotel, Sinker Creek Outfitter’s, Pat’s What Not Shop and Silver City Fire & Rescue Store. Each has a link on the left side of this page to take you to their respective pages. Also visit ghosttowns.com for more information on Silver City, Idaho and surrounding mining and ghost towns.” –Historic Silver City Idaho
Originally posted at Roadtrippers.com.
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