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The Ghost Town of Bayhorse

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Gold Pan Kit

Driving along the Salmon River Scenic Byway, we entered the Land of the Yankee Fork: a state park which stretches out to the south of Challis, dedicated to the mining history of the area. There are three ghost towns in the park, and we decided to make a stop at Bayhorse.

Bayhorse-History-Idaho

We had taken our time on the Salmon River road, and didn’t arrive at the gates of Bayhorse until 4:45pm, nearly closing time for the park. But the guard waved us in, and said we could take our time. Idaho, we’ve learned, is filled with easy-going people like this; he must have been getting ready to go home, but was happy to inconvenience himself for a little while. And, being selfish jerks, we always make sure to take full advantage of such generosity!

It was fortunate for us, because the ghost town was fascinating. Like so many of the small towns in central and northern Idaho, Bayhorse got its start during the mining boom of the 1860s and 70s. Tucked away in a narrow canyon, it reached a peak population of around 300, before the mining dried up in the 1890s and people started to leave. In 1958, plucky little Bayhorse finally lost its last resident and became a certified ghost town.

If the ruins are anything to judge by, this must have been a neat place during its heyday. The most notable remnant is the old mill: a big three-story structure resting on the side of the canyon. It was designed to make use of gravity: rocks dumped into the top were processed on their way down. In varying states of conservation, we also saw a saloon, a few houses, and a brick Wells Fargo building in the middle of town. You can even still find some old charcoal kilns on the outskirts.

We’d visited other mining towns that were past their prime, such as Idaho City and Warren, but this was the first fully abandoned town we’d seen, and provided a fascinating glimpse into a rather short-lived period of Idaho’s short history.

Location of Bayhorse on our Idaho Map

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Off The Beaten Path Idaho
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November 10, 2012 at 12:38 am Comment (1)

The Enaville Resort, AKA The Snakepit

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Rent A Car For Your Idaho Road-Trip Here

It’s a little hard to feel that thrill of discovery, the joy of unearthing another hidden travel gem, when the gem in question is as popular as the Enaville Resort. But we couldn’t resist patting ourselves on the back after entering this Silver Valley establishment. Even if it’s no secret among the locals, to whom it’s known as the Snakepit, it was an exciting find.

Enaville Idaho

On the Coeur d’Alene River Road, the Enaville Resort is just far enough away from I-90 to feel off the beaten track. We pulled up and were immediately encouraged by the giant wooden building and its ultra-retro decor. Bison skulls, rocking chairs, antlers and neon… and that was just the facade!

Inside, the retro-chic is taken up a few notches. There’s not a corner of the restaurant that isn’t covered in some sort of kitschy memorabilia. We sat down, ordered a couple burgers, and read up on the history of the Snakepit. There are battling theories as to the origin of the nickname. The first is simply that there used to be a lot of snakes around. Years ago, this had been a swampy area.

Bordello-Snake-Pit

The story I prefer is that the Enaville Resort was formerly a well-known brothel; the ladies slithering out of the resort in the early morning were termed “snakes” by unsympathetic locals. In one of the skulls which decorate the facade, you can still see a red lightbulb. When it was switched on, the brothel was open for business.

The history is fun, the decor is ridiculous and the food was great. If you find yourself in the area during meal-time, you owe it to yourself to stop in at the Enaville Resort.

Location on our Idaho Map

Idaho Hotels

The-Real-Mr-Potato-Head
Idaho-Bar
Plates Of Idaho
Fancy Ladies
Big Wheel Lamp
Bizarre Lamps
Idaho Cooking
Idaho Snake Pit
People In Idaho
Play The Piano In Idaho
Idaho Billiard
Horse Reflection
Antler Chair
Classic Table
Idaho Beer
Idaho Nachos
Bison Burger
After Meal
Enaville-Resort
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October 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm Comments (5)
The Ghost Town of Bayhorse Driving along the Salmon River Scenic Byway, we entered the Land of the Yankee Fork: a state park which stretches out to the south of Challis, dedicated to the mining history of the area. There are three ghost towns in the park, and we decided to make a stop at Bayhorse.
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