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“Thanks, Mr. and Mrs McGown” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bonanza and Custer Ghost Town

Bonanza and Custer Ghost Town
Off ID-75 on the Yankee Fork Road, Challis National Forest, ID
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Owner description: The ghost towns of Custer and Bonanza are located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area by the town of Stanley, Idaho. Custer has been restored and tour guides offer tours during the summer months. Bonanza has not been restored and is a traditional ghost town. The Yankee Fork area is traveled and explored by tourists in the west quite extensively as it is located not far from Sun Valley, Idaho.
Old Town, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Thanks, Mr. and Mrs McGown”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

Back in the 80's my wife and I would spent a week every 4th of July outside of Stanley ID camping on the river and these were without a doubt some of the best times we have ever spent. The landscape, wildlife and nature of the area is what you would only expect to filnd in your dreams.

We had the fortune to meet Mrs. Edna Mcgown on one of our many trips to Custer who is the wife of "Tuff" McGown one of the first children ever born in the twin cities - but that's just one of many other stories. Edna and her daughter took us in their arms and treated us as one of the family and shared many of their stories of the days long ago.

Back then, as I am sure today, the folks of the Yankee Fork made the real story. I suggest that you find a book titled, "Land of the Yankee Fork" and find a warm cozy spot for a few hours and get lost in many stories where the colorful folks of the past helped settle, build and develope one of Gods most beautiful places on the planet.

It's been years since we have slowed down long enough to return, but soon, real soon we will be back to share the fishing, nature and beauty and the pioneering spirit that make the Land of the Yankee Fork, and the rest of the USA.

Just remember, leave it like you found it, so all will have the chance to share in this most excellent adventure.

Even though this review will show that we visited OCT 11, this is not correct, it was over 25 years ago, I guess to write a Post, (my every first) the visit must be within 1 year. Don't let this keep you from a land and place you will love.

Bob and Debi Hanchey

Visited October 2011
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7 reviews from our community

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English first
Layton, Utah
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Great ghost towns, beautiful drive.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2010

My husband and I stayed in Stanley, Idaho in August 2009 and spent one day driving along the Yankee Fork Road. We visited the Sunbeam Dam, the ghost towns of Custer and Bonanza, the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, and drove along Upper Loon Road. The drive was *stunning* and there was a plethora of wildlife and interesting sites.

The Sunbeam Dam on the Salmon River was partially dynamited in the 1930’s, making the Salmon River the last free flowing river in the west. Nice hikes along the river and interesting mining remnants from days past. Further up the Yankee Fork is the restored gold dredge that is responsible for the tailings on both sides of the road.

There is an extremely cool cemetery outside of the Bonanza and there are many buildings still standing. I especially enjoyed Bonanza because it has not been reconditioned, but left alone, which proved more interesting in my opinion. The Boot Hill cemetery is also outside of this ghost town and worth stopping at.

Further down the road is Custer. This town has been restored and pathways and information signs are readily available, making it more kid friendly…and also not as original or interesting (in my opinion). Still worth seeing. There is some interesting machinery laying around and the General Custer Mill is sitting past the refurbished buildings on a hillside.

Upper Loon Road, which is accessible by the Yankee Fork Road, is rather treacherous but if your vehicle can make it, is a nice drive with some incredible views. There are also abandoned cabins along the road and other sites worth noting. The road ends at a ranch, but my car could not make it that far up. There are streams and birds everywhere. This was a wonderful day trip.

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