Hiking / Backpacking / Camping
Two hundred fifty miles of trails traverse the mountain ranges of the Mackay / Lost River Valley area. In the Lost River Valley area, you’ll find 13 of the 15 highest mountains in Idaho.
Recreational activities include fishing, boating, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hang gliding, motorcycle and ATV riding.
Special winter uses include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Interesting places to hike include: Mt. Borah, the Lost River Range and Craters of the Moon National Monument. Mt. Borah is the highest mountain in Idaho at 12,662 feet. Campsites are located at the base of the mountain (north of Mackay).
Fly fish and ice fish the Lost River Valley's streams, Big Lost River, mountain lakes in Copper Basin, and the Mackay Reservoir. Native fish include several species of trout and char.
Water-ski, jet-ski and sail at the Mackay Reservoir.
At the reservoir you’ll find boat ramps, a campground, dump station, running water and restrooms. Access to the Big Lost River is available at the sportsman's access on Hwy. 93, below the dam and off the Mine Hill Road.
Area hunters seek deer, elk, bear, antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain lion and fowl in the area's beautiful mountain wilderness! Hunt only in season with a valid permit and Idaho hunting license.
Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation
This region offers outstanding trail-riding opportunities for OHV recreation. Contact the Forest Service office in Mackay and the BLM office in Challis for OHV trail maps and information
. Always stay on the trail to protect the area’s soils, vegetation, and wildlife. Remember that you should never ride cross-country.
Hang Gliding, Paragliding and Gliding
The Mackay area is becoming increasingly popular as a hang gliding, paragliding and gliding destination. King Mountain (south of Mackay) was the chosen site for both the 1997 World Point Finals Championship for Hang Gliding and the 1997 National Paragliding Championships.
Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour
This self-guided tour features mines, headframes, sawmills and historic cabins around the Alder Creek Mining District. The Shay Railroad Trestle has been recently renovated. This district was active from 1879-1980 producing a million tons of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc ore.
Challis Bison Jump
Early inhabitants of the round valley harvested bison at the nearby Challis Bison Jump. Archaeological excavations in 1970 provided a glimpse into the early use of bison. Several glass beads, many stone tools and points, and the bones of about 30 bison were located during the project. Follow the 0.25 mile paved pathway at the Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center.
Traveling the Custer Motorway from Challis to Custer is a very interesting interpretive loop featuring historic sites, panoramic views and interpretive signs. Begin at the Interpretive Center near Challis, where displays tell the Yankee Fork mining story. Then, travel the old toll road where freighters and stages traveled to Custer and Bonanza.
Custer / Bonanza / Sunbeam
Beginning in 1870, these areas were booming with people set on finding their fortunes in gold . But the gold eventually played out leaving Custer and Bonanza ghost towns by 1911. Today, restored buildings and secluded cemeteries are all that remain. At Sunbeam, interpretive signs describe the beautiful Salmon River and the remnants of the Sunbeam Dam, which was breached in 1934.