This Trail In Idaho Is Home To Dozens Of Abandoned Schoolhouses And You Need To See It

There’s something tragically beautiful about abandoned places. They’re romantic, nostalgic, mournful, provocative – the sight of a once charismatic building now forlorn and crumbling, a slice of the past now tentatively standing amidst its own shambles is both haunting and humbling, and yet entrancing. Idaho’s uniquely undeveloped landscape is full of these neglected homages to history, which sit quietly. In other states, these decaying beauties would be demolished and to make way for condos, shopping plazas, and mini-marts, but not here in the Gem State.

Our ghost towns are full of unique and quirky spaces that teem with the past – saloons, general stores, cemeteries… Yet, these old mining camps and their long-gone communities weren’t the only thing that kept Idaho thriving. Outside of these areas was a separate world that embraced the simplicity of rural life. The remnants? Historic, independent schoolhouses left behind as Idaho continued to grow and localize.

Today, you can take pay a visit to dozens of these historic schoolhouses by taking an “official” North Idaho self-guided tour. But there are also plenty around the state that are worthy of a photo stop! Ready to explore?

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

Of course, these aren’t the only abandoned schools in the state! You just have to take a few backroads and keep your eyes peeled to find them. The schools on the official tour include: Nine Pine, Harpster, Eureka, Clearwater, Battle Ridge, Kidder Ridge, East Kamiah Union, Caribel, and more. How many have you been to?

Author’s Note: Many of these historic buildings are on private property. All posted signs should be heeded, and telephoto photography is recommended to avoid trespassing.