The Beautiful Abandoned Spot In Idaho That’s Hidden In Plain Sight

It’s no secret that there is a simple, whimsical nostalgia to trains and rail travel that dates back to old steamers of the 1800s and on up to the modern locomotive – the clickity-clack of tracks underway, the gorgeous landscape panoramas in the distance, the excitement of every whistle. Nearly every Idahoan has grown up with a railroad in their backyard or fallen asleep to the sound of distant cars lumbering over the tracks!

While train travel is no longer a mode of transportation in the Gem State, there’s a unique beauty to be found in old railbeds, their remnants, and even the ornate train stations that still stand proudly in many cities. (Curious? Check out our Historic Train Depot Road Trip!) But one particularly magnificent sight towers above the rest: an abandoned railroad that boasts a century’s worth of history, a worldwide reputation that still stands the test of time, and a heartbreaking story of beauty and tragedy.

A special shoutout to Jeff Zenner Photography for contributing some of the awesome photos above!

Have you ever seen any portion of the Camas Prairie Railroad in person? For another phenomenal sight in the Camas Prairie, Idaho’s annual canola bloom is unexpected, colorful, and positively mesmerizing.

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Address: Grangeville, ID 83530, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

Camas Prairie Railroad & Related Info

December 11, 2022

What are some rails-to-trails in Idaho? 

The first railroad in Idaho, the Utah Northern Railroad to Franklin, was laid in 1874, launching a long legacy of mining and industrial transport. Today, many of Idaho's retired railbeds have been converted into multi-use pedestrian trails. In fact, there are over 400 miles of rail trail crisscrossing the state! Here are some of Idaho's coolest rails-to-trails sections:

  • Weiser River Trail (Weiser to New Meadows)
  • Ashton-Tetonia Trail (Teton Valley)
  • Wood River Trail (Ketchum to Bellevue)
  • Route of the Hiawatha (Coeur d'Alene)
  • Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes (Coeur d'Alene)

 

Are there any abandoned places to visit in Idaho?

Whether you think they're spooky or fascinating, abandoned places have undeniable appeal. For safety purposes and to protect historical sites from damage, stick with places that offer official tours, trails, and viewing areas. Here are just a few abandoned and/or historic places in Idaho that you can visit - although you're sure to stumble upon plenty more along the way:

  • Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, Stanley
  • White Knob Mine, Mackay
  • B-23 "Dragon Bomber" Crash Site, McCall
  • Nicholia/Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns, Nicholia
  • Pioneer/Boot Hill Cemetery, Idaho City
  • American Falls Original Townsite, American Falls
  • Eileen Dam, Moyie
  • Sierra Silver Mine, Wallace
  • Celebration Park Petroglyphs, Melba
  • Circle Creek Rock House/Tracy Homestead, City of Rocks
  • Minidoka National Historic Site, Minidoka
  • Crystal Gold Mine, Kellogg
  • Rock Creek Station, Twin Falls
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park/Heart of the Monster, Kooskia
  • Old Mission State Park, Cataldo
  • Bear River Massacre Historical Site, Preston
  • Three Island Crossing State Park, Glenns Ferry

 

Are there any ghost towns in Idaho?

Rooted in centuries of mining and Native American history, Idaho is home to quite a few gold and silver boomtowns that have been lost to time. Some of these town sites are still considered "living" ghost towns or even "semi ghost towns," while others have little to nothing remaining. For a taste of true Idaho history, visit some of these unique ghost towns in Idaho:

  • Silver City, Idaho
  • Gilmore, Idaho
  • De Lamar, Idaho
  • Custer, Idaho
  • Bonanza, Idaho
  • Placerville, Idaho
  • Rocky Bar, Idaho
  • Boulder City, Idaho
  • Bayhorse, Idaho
  • Chesterfield, Idaho
  • Murray, Idaho
  • Burke, Idaho
  • Wickahoney, Idaho