Get Out There
(page 3 of 6)
IN THE PROSPECTOR'S SHADOW
Bike Tours to Idaho Ghost Towns
Beasts of burden fitted for the 21st century, our mountains bikes are mechanical horses leading us toward discovery. Through colorful meadows and up dusty canyon roads, we pedal our titanium and carbon fiber stallions into remote areas of the Idaho wilderness searching for reward in the form of beauty and peace, thrills and a little exercise. We are the new pioneers: settlers who built communities based on recreation.
Most of our predecessors, miners of the Old West, couldn’t sustain their camps; they came to Idaho in hordes around 1860, pining for gold, often only to abandon the project en masse before the turn of the century. But in their brief stint they, too, traveled deep into largely uncharted territory, panning, digging and erecting boomtowns along the way. When the mines shut down, these communities were deserted, yet fragments remain. Trails and wagon roads abound. Rotting log cabins and even enormous dredges can be uncovered, but only for those who venture forth.
In biking to such ghost towns, we ride in the shadow of Idaho’s early prospectors, saluting their efforts and difficulties. As historian, Rodman Paul wrote, “Idaho’s old mining areas are spectacular in their natural beauty. Some are raw and scarred. Some yield exciting, some rather mundane, histories. But they all reflect something of the people who scratched out a hard living in a sometimes hostile land.”
In honor of our Old West predecessors, here are three bike rides, a less destructive way of striking gold, which lead to some of southern Idaho’s most enchanting ghost towns.