A trip to the Land of the Yankee Fork Historic Area, the historic mining region nestled between Stanley and Challis, is unforgettable. The Land of the Yankee Fork State Park is a history-oriented public recreation area in Custer County, Idaho. It is a cooperatively managed area of over 400 square miles, which interprets Idaho’s frontier mining history, including the ghost towns Bayhorse, Bonanza, and Custer.
The interpretive center at the State Park houses artifacts chronicling the area’s mining history along with a movie about the historic area. On the grounds is the Getty Memorial Pathway with various miming artifacts and the ¼ mile Bison Kills Site trail with many archeological finds and details along the way. Friendly, knowledgeable park rangers are on hand to provide guidance along with maps of the many trails and driving routes.
The toll road from Challis to Custer and Bonanza is now called the “Custer Motorway”. It was completed in 1879 and built to serve the mining boom towns of the Yankee Fork. The toll road carried equipment and supplies, though also offered a passenger service. With few exceptions, the existing 46-mile Custer Motorway follows the same route. The dirt road opens after the snowmelt has cleared (call The Land of the Yankee Fork State Park or US Forest Service office for current status) and is not recommended for low clearance vehicles or trailers.
Custer was built along a single Main Street spanning more than a mile. Today many of the buildings are open to the public, with tours that tell the story of Custer and its place in Idaho’s mining history. The Second Saturday in July the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park, US Forest Service and the Land of the Yankee Fork Historical Association presents Custer Day. Food, music, and historical reenactments bring the town to life. Come see what Idaho was and still is at The Land of the Yankee Fork State Park and Historic Area.