Idaho is no stranger to small towns, especially those of the “blink and you’ll miss it” sort. In fact, many of Idaho’s smallest populations contain so few permanent residents that they are best described as extended families with a fondness for seclusion.
But we love it. Here in Idaho, we enjoy our personal space, large stretches of farmland, beautiful winding roads, and miniature towns that are a throwback to our awesome history, regardless of their population size.
Since Idaho is fortunate enough to still hold true to its frontier roots and open skylines, our quaint rural communities are similarly full of charm and simplicity. In fact, many of Idaho’s teeniest populations and unincorporated towns aren’t even thoroughly recorded by census data, although we managed to snag a few numbers from the most recent count. Here are just a few of Idaho’s smallest municipalities.
15. Castleford (Pop. 226)
Since Castleford is so well known due to its incredible natural landmark, Balanced Rock, you might not even realize that this hidden gem is also a bustling town away from its namesake rock formations. In fact, the quaint town of Castleford has been repeatedly ranked as having one of the best school districts in the state.
14. Bloomington (Pop. 206)
Bloomington sits in the southeast corner of Idaho and has a settlement history that dates back to 1864.
13. Malta (Pop. 193)
Named after the Mediterranean island between Tunisia and Sicily, Malta is a middleground between Idaho and Utah.
12. Moore (Pop. 189)
The city of Moore was originally named Verbeck, which was a name chosen by the local railroad company. Legend has it that a local man by the name of Moore painted his name on a piece of wood and nailed it the exterior of his home in order to more consistently receive his mail.
11. Elk River (Pop. 125)
An old logging town about fifty miles east of Moscow, Elk River was built by the Potlatch Timber Company and at one time boasted a population of close to 1300 residents.
10. Leadore (Pop. 105)
While now a ghost town itself, Leadore was once a thriving town that ironically flourished due to the failing of a nearby town. This nearby town, Junction, was bypassed by the railroad in favor of Leadore and quickly faded into ghost town status as a result.
9. Huetter (Pop. 100)
In terms of recent history, Huetter is one of the few cities in Idaho to have gone a significant length of time without a mayor. It is also a rarity in terms national economic status: numbers of middle-class residents actually rose between 2010 and 2013.
8. White Bird (Pop. 91)
As the location of the 1877 Battle of White Bird Canyon, White Bird has a unique role in Idaho's Native American history.
7. Hope (Pop. 86)
Between Clark Fork and Sandpoint sits what is quite possibly one of Idaho's most beautiful and artistic communities. Hope's picturesque setting on Lake Pend Orielle has long drawn visitors seeking inspiration from scenery, but the city's permanent population has stayed consistent over the years.
6. Placerville (Pop. 52)
One of Idaho's many ghost towns, Placerville was once a bustling mining and supply town with thousands of residents, as well as visitors from all across the Boise basin.
5. Spencer (Pop. 37)
The "Opal Capital of the World" began as a humble stop on the Pony Express.
4. Clayton (Pop. 26)
In 1926, the Ford Motor Company expanded their mining holdings and moved directly into Clayton, where the company built houses for employees of the Redbird Mine. Prior to this, Clayton's population was seasonal, rising and falling with summer smelting.
3. Drummond (Pop. 16)
Believe it or not, there is still some confusion and debate as to whether Drummond is in Idaho or Montana. No joke.
2. Warm River (Pop. 3)
Original settlers in Warm River struggled to develop the community, despite its proximity to fresh water. In fact, the first roads out of the canyon were impossible to maintain -- the water-saturated clay soil would simply crumble and slide.
Often called the "end of the line," Dixie is one tiny Idaho town that no two sources can seem to agree on a population for. If you happen to know, be sure to let us know!