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Geology along
u.s. Highway 93 in Idaho

Clyde P. Ross



Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology

Moscow, Idaho
July, 1963

Clyde P. Ross
U.S. Geological Survey

Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology Pamphlet 130

Moscow, Idaho 83843 July, 1963


ABS TRACT •••.•.••••••••••••••••••••••••• e.. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1

PlA.N OF PRESENTATION. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3
GEO LOG! C 0 UTLI NE. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 5
ROCK DESCRIPTIONS. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7
Precambrian rocks. . . . . . • • . • • • • . . . . . • • . • • • • . • . • • • . . • • • • • • • •• ••••• 7
Paleozoic rocks. . . . . . . • . • • • . . . . . . . • . • • • • • . • • • • • • • . . . . • • • . • •• • • • • 7
Me sozoic rocks ..•.•.•.•••....•.••..••• ~ • • • . • • • • • • • • • • • • •. •••••• 10
Cenozoic rocks .....•....•••••..••..••••••••••.•••••.•..••.• • • • • • 11
GEOLOGIC HISTORY. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ••• • • 17
SELECTED REFERENCES. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 21
TO HAILEY, MAP NO.1 •• 0 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ..... 25
THOUSAND SPRINGS VALLEY, MAP NO.3 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 45
BO UNDARY, MAP NO.5 ••••••••••••••••••••••• • •• • • • • • • • • • • • ••••• 63
TO THE END OF THE ROAD. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 77
20, AND 26, MAP NO.6 •• , ••••••••••••••••••• , •••• ~.......... ••••• 81
MAP NO ~ 7 .••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••.••••••• "... ••••• 87
LOG OF THE SPAR CANYON ROAD, MAP NO.7 ••••••••••••••••••••• • • • • • 97


Following Page

Figure 1 I rldex Map . , ....... · ....... , .. · . · · • ~ ......• · ... · . 4

Figure ,2 Explanation of geologic units shown on road maps .... . 24


Map No.1 Idaho-Nevada boundary to Hailey ..... , ... 0 ••••• 0 • 24

2 I-Iaile y to S te.nley......•....••.•............ 0 ••• 32
3 Trail Creek road, Ketchum to Thpusand Springs Valley ... . 43
4 Stanley to Challis. • . . . . . . . . • . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . ... . 50
5 Challis to Idaho-Montana boundary ... I •••••••••••••••• 62
6 Shoshone to Arco ..........• , .. I ••••• I ••• I I I •••••• I •• 80
7 Area to Challis ..... , ........ " ... ,' .. ~ ............... . 85


Photo 1 Air view of Snake River gorge east of Twin Falls ... I 28
2 Twin Falls on the Snake River. I •• , • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 28
3 Perrine Memorial Bridge ....•.... I •••••• " I ••• I I • 28
4 ,Sun Valley Ketchum and the Pioneer Mountains in winter. .
I 36
5 Summertime at Sun Valley. . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . • . . • . . . . 36
6 White Cloud Peaks .......•.' ... I •••••• I • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • 38
7 Saw-tooth Lake .. , ............ '............. '.' . . .. ..... 40
8 Re d F ish La k e ••••.•••••••••• I • • • • , • , • • • • • • , • , • ••• • • 40
9 Stanley Lake and McGowan Peak • I •••••••••••• I • • • • • • • 42
10 Salmon River at Stanley I I ~
••••• I II I •• I , •• I I •• I •• • ••• I 42
11 Canyon of the Salmon River below Shoup .... I • • • • • • • • • • • 78
12 Thousand Springs Valley and the Los~ River Range. . 78
13 Craters of the Moon National M;onument. . . . . . . . . . . 84
14 Big Owl Cavern in Crater$ of the Moon .•• I • I ••••• I 84

Table 1 Paleozoic formations in the region traversed by

U. S. Highways 93 and 93A , .......•........... I •••••• 10

Pamphlet No. 130


The first venture Of i~s kin.d by this Bureau, this publ~cati9n is an

attempt to describe, both for the protessional geologist and the int~rested
non-geologist by means of strip maps and road logs the ge010g1c fea,tures
l I

that lie along U. S. Highway 93 in Idaho, from Lost Trail Pass in the north
to Jackpot in the south,

The user of this geologic guide will find himself well repaid ~f he col ....
ors in the geology on the strip maps, using colored pencils. Not only will
he have the geologic picture much better in mind before he starts his tour,
but he can "read the maps more easily after they are colored.

We hope that you, the traveler along U. S. 93 1 find your enjoYment

of the Idaho scenery enhanced by the knowledge of what underlies that scen-
ery that you can gain from this pamphlet.

E. F. COOK, Director
Idaho Bureau of Mines
~nd Geology

Clyde P. Ross


Road logs and three-color strip maps at a scale of 1:250 ,000 de-
pict the geological features along U. S. Highways 93 and 93A in Idaho.
The average width of the maps represents about 20 miles on the ground.
In addition to geology topography and cultural features are shown.

Rocks exposed along U. S. 93 in Idaho range in age from Pre-

cambrian to Recent. All periods of the Paleozoic Era appear to be repre-
sented by sedimentary rocks. Precambrian metamorphic rocks as well as
Paleozoic sedimentary rocks have been intruded by the Cretaceous Idaho
batholith and by Tertiary rocks in part granitic. Volcanic rocks of Ceno-
zoic age are widespread ranging from Tertiary rhyolitic welded tuff to

Quaternary olivine basalt. The highway serves numerous mines.


Page 14, paragraph 3, line 3 - "Challis Volcanics are line stream valleys" should read
"Challis Volcanics line stream valleys"

Page 3 7, mile 2 2 06- 510 0, line 4 - change "beyone" to"beyond"

Photo 7 (following page 40) is Little Redfish Lake rather than Sawtooth Lake

Page 52, paragraph 2, line 4 - change "sheer" to "shear"

Page 67, mile 3805-66.8, line 8 - change "in" to "is"

Page 83, last line - change "pumaceous" to "pumiceous"

Page 93, mile 6004-22.3, line 2 - change "Altelope" to "Antelope"

Pag~ 98 , mile 7. 4-15. 6, paragraph 2 I line 4 - change "sanadine" to "sanidine"



The descriptions and road maps presented here include data on the part
of U. S. Highway 93 within the State of Idaho as well as on its alternate, U. S.
Highway 93Ao U. So Highway 93 stretches from the Canadian border through
Montana 8 Idaho, and Nevada, into Arizona and is sometimes called the Inter-
national Highway. There are plans to make it a major link in a system of high-
ways that is to stretch from Alaska through Canada, the United States u and
Mexico into Central America and thence into South America Some parts of this

highway system outside of Idaho have not yet been built and others are not in con-
dition for comfortable automobile travel. Within Idaho all parts of U ~ S. Highways
93 and 93A are paved. This pamphlet includes data on the more important side
roads that branch from the two highways described. Neither U. S. Highway 30
nor other major roads that cross or branch from U. S. Highways 93 and 93A are
here described for they are expected to be the subject of later papers The prin-
I 0

Cipal objective of this publication is to furnish not only data helpful to those in-
terested in the geology along the routes covered but information of value to all
who may have occasion to use these routes. The strip maps and road logs which I

are more detailed than any previously available will be useful to all who travel in

the area. Some of the general non-geologic material has been taken from the two
book s on Idaho issued a s one of the Federal 'Wri ters proj ects .

The descriptions of U. S. Highways 93 and 93A are divided, for convenience,

into 6 sections each shown on a road map. Two of the branch roads are also shown

on similar road maps. Figure 1 shows the routes the interrelations of the 6 road

maps and the area covered by each. It also gives the names of the principal towns
and topographic features along the highways. Each of the road maps shows the
principal topographic and cultural features and portrays the geology in as much de-
tail as the scale of the map and available knowledge permit. The maps on a I

scale of 1:250 000 (approximately an inch to 4 miles) are based on a series of

0 I

maps on that scale issued by the Army Map Service. Some corrections and addi-
tions have been made. The road logs were made in 1959 and 1960. Details of roads
change so frequently that it is advisable to seek up-to-date information locally
whenever a trip is planned.

Geologic information has been taken mainly from the publications listed be-
low but such information has been supplemented for numerous localities by unpub..,.
lished data in my possession. Much of the latter was gathered specifically for this
publication. Many geologic problems of the region traversed by U. S. Highways
93 and 93A in Idaho remain unsolved. In the brief summarie s below the concepts

that to me seem most probable are presented but where disagreements remain among
geologists this fact is indicated.

Because road logs are designed to be read rapidly while traveling they do

not include the sources of geologic information. The basis for the geologic informa-
tion that has been published will be found in the reports listed under the heading
Selected References. More complete bibliographies are available for those who

need them (Ross and Carr, 1941; Ross, 1959). A general summary of the geologic set-
ting is given in this discussion and summaries pertinent to each of the separately mapped
stretches of highway precede the corresponding road logs. Remarks about features visible
along the different stretches of highway are given in appropriate places in the logs

The logs for each of the separate maps of the main highway are written, in gen-
eral, to direct the reader from south to north (all directions are given in approximate
compass readings from the highway); logs for the two mapped branch roads proceed from
th·"· towns from which each road starts. When traveling in the opposite directions g of
·;c {rse 8 one must read the logs in reverse
0 In each log the mileages given in the left~
h;' ld column start at the southern end of the log or at the town where the branch road
.t:, .arts; the right-hand column gives the mileages from the opposite directions. Although
mileages have been adjusted to compensate for error inherent in the odometers (mile-
age indicators) of the cars used, this method of adjusted measurement is not precise and
discrepancies will be found in recorded distances, a fact that needs to be taken into ac-
count by travelers using the logs Travelers will find that distances indicated by the odom-

eters on their automobile speedometers differ about one or two percent from those given
here, because of inaccuracies and variations in the odometer performance for different cars
and varying conditions of travel. Most stretches of the highways have numbered stakes
that indicate mileage, but these are not recorded in the logs because for a variety of rea-
sons, they too are not consistently reliable. Even so, in some places, they would aid
the traveler in determining his location.

The population figures for towns along the highways are taken from the 1960
census so far as available records permit. For a few towns only approximate figures can
be given, based on local information.

~ J..


Salmon River

45° __~____________~/____'FJ__~~L--+-&~~~~-=~~~----------+---

- ..... - ......

,- ,
, -,

\ Hollister ,
:'l~m~terd ~, ,I
J _[_'gJI. . .
I ,,

\ I
__ -_I __ .....L.. 42 0


FIGURE 1. o 10 20 30 MI LES





U. S. Highways 93 and 93A are especially suitable for a start in the

study of the geology of Idaho by automobile, for they pass through country that
contains representative samples of many of the geologic units and structural fea.:...
tures found in the state. These highways also furnish opportunities to observe
varied sample s of the mining, agricultural, and lumbering industrie s . The parts
of Idaho served by these highways include some of the areas in Idaho earliest ex-
plored by white men as well as a number of the mining districts that gave rich re-
wards to some of the earliest of the prospectors and miners. The markets thus
early created, brought stock raising and farming into the region. The routes opened
by the miners were broadly similar to those of the present highways but avoided
areas so rugged that road making was impractical with methods and equipment avail-
able to the pioneers. Roads that could be built only by means of much rockwork,
like long stretches of present highways, were slow to be built and even slower to be
improved. Now the highways are in good condition and the 'principal roads branch-
ing from them can be readily traveled.

The geologic outline that follows starts, as is customary, with the oldest
rocks and proceeds to successively younger ones. In a way this order is opposite

to that followed in the logs and maps because of the geographic distribution of the
rocks. Figure 2 shows all the geologic units indicated in road maps I to 7 I in the
customary order and will be of assistance in getting a general concept of the geology.
More sketchy explanations are given on the road maps themselves. See also Table 1.
The road descriptions start where U. S. Highway 93 leaves Nevada and crosses the
southern boundary of Idaho. The rocks here are geologically rather young, although
by no means the youngest to be seen along or near the highway. However some de-

cidedly old rocks are exposed in mountains only about 35 miles east of where the high-
way enters the state (Anderson, 1931);: and farther north, the distribution of rock units
is so irregular that the geologic outline cannot correspond in order of age with the

road descriptions. Features displayed in areas traversed by these highways have been
emphasized throughout. Those interested in a broader picture of the geology of the
state will want to examine other publications. One may start by consulting the re-
port which outlines the geology of the whole state (Ross and Forrester 1958); this

report, which was prepared as an aid in studying the geologic map of Idaho (Ross
and Forrester, 1947), corresponds mainly to the data available in 1945 when that
map was compiled. Data on particular areas and features will be found in papers
listed below and in the road log s of this study.

As an aid in appreciating the long spans of time represented by events

recorded in the rocks, some ages have been expressed in terms of years rather than
geologic epochs or periods. The laboratory proceedures on which such age estimates
are based are relatively new and are still undergoing modification. The results ob-
tained by different methods may vary widely. The figures given here are based on
those currently used in the U. S. Geological Survey. In this pamphlet they serve to
permit the reader to form comparisons but must not be thought of as final or precise.
P 6 blank
£ t




Rocks belonging to the Precambrian system, the oldest units into which rocks
are divided, are widespread in Idaho. Most of these rocks in the region here described
belong to the Belt Series. This series is best known in northern Idaho and western
Montana, where it has many recognized subdivisions. Correlations between these units,
and those in south-central Idaho are not yet practicable. Inu and close to, areas trav-
ersed by U. So Highway 93 and 93A Precambrian rocks are locally plentiful. The Yellow-
jacket Formation and Hoodoo Quartzite near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River (Ross I

1934, po 15-28), and the Lemhi and Swauger quartzites in Lemhi Range (Ross, 1947,
p. 1096-1102) as well as stratigraphically and lithologically similar rocks in other
areas, belong to the Belt Series. Rocks in part of the Beaverhead Range (Anderson 8
1954, p. 16-21) have been correlated with the Lemhi and Swauger quartzites, but this
correlation is not regarded as demonstrable until mapping is further advanced in the
intervening area. Rocks definitely assignable to any of the named formations do not
crop out close enough to the highways to appear on the accompanying maps. The re-
lations of the two units in the Pioneer Mountains to other rocks of supposed Precambrian
age are uncertain in part because of their isolated position, and in part because they

have suffered such profound changes as a result of much later events that their original
character is obscured. So far as is now known, the Hyndman and Swauger formations
might be either younger or older than rocks commonly assigned to the Belt Series.

The Belt Series to which most of the Precambrian rocks in the part of Idaho

here described belong was deposited in exceedingly shallow water in the basin of an

inland sea. Judging by evidence in Montana, parts of the series may have formed broad
mud flats at times exposed to the air (Ross and Rezak, 1959, p. 406). No fossils are
known in the series in south-central Idaho and those known elsewhere record mainly the
former presence of algae (primitive plants). The series was laid down more than half
a billion years ago.


Most of the old rocks in the mountains traversed by U. S. Highway 93 and its
connections, belong to varied components of the Paleozoic system. The units vary
from place to place as is shown by the chart below. They were laid down in seas that
were fairly shallow compared to the open oceans of today. Perhaps these seas rarely
exceeded 100 fathoms in depth. It is thought that the Paleozoic deposits were deposited,
with interruptions in troughs that extended northward from more extensive marine basins

in Utah and adjacent states. In Idaho the troughs rarely stretched westward much past
longitude 115 0 and at times did not reach that far. Northward, Paleozoic seas stretched
little, if any beyond latitude 45 0 • To the east they merged abruptly with a still shallower
shelf in what is now southwestern Montana. Along the western and northern parts of the
troughs, shores were close at hand. Shifting currents and variations in material brought
in from the land caused the deposits to vary in character and in thickness within short

distances Further remarks in regard to the character and significance of the different

Paleozoic rocks will be found in the individual road logs, especially in the sum-
maries that precede each of themo

From the chart, it will be seen that rocks deposited in each of the Paleo-
zoic periods are present but that deposition was by no means continuous. Paleo~
zoic deposition began something like half a billion years ago and ceased roughly
180 million years ago The first incursion of Paleozoic seas in central Idaho was

in a narrow extension of broad seas farther south but the seas did not reach most
of the region until some time in the Ordovician period, somewhat more than 400
million years ago.

The oldest of the Paleozoic rocks are the Garden Creek Phyllite and Bay-
horse Dolomite, both known only in exposures in a narrow area 12 miles long (be-
ginning 6 miles west of Challis) and both tentatively assigned a Cambrian age
(Ross, 1937 po 12-l4L Their combined thickness is well over a thousand feet but

they seem to represent deposition in a very limited area.

Rocks of Ordovician age are relatively widespread. In the high mountains

northeast of Hailey (Umpleby and others, 1930, p. 17-23) they are represented by
a few hundred feet of carbonaceous argillite overlain by the Phi Kappa Formation I

which consists of sandstone, argillite, shale and shaly sandstone aggregate over
9 ,000 feet in thickness. Farther north (Ross, 1937, p. 14-22), listed in order of
decreasing age, are the Ramshorn Slate ,over 2,000 feet thick; the Kinnikinic
Quartzite about 3,500 feet thick; and the Saturday Mountain Formation roughly

3,000 feet thick. Near its type locality near longitude 114 0 30., the Saturday
Mountain Formation include s carbonaceous and calcareous shale with some im-

pure dolomite. These rocks were laid down in water foul with organic matter e
Farther east, in the Lost River Mountain and Lemhi Range most of the unit con-
sists of somewhat carbonaceous dolomite deposited in somewhat clearer water 0

These three formations together have about the same age range as the Phi Kappa
Formation but conditions of deposition must have been different. The Phi Kappa

is known only in a small area high in the mountains northeast of Hailey. Farther
east (Ross, 1947, p. 1102-1105), the Kinnikinic Quartzite and Saturday Mountain
Formation crop out over wide areas. Their thicknesses vary from place to place
but tend to decrease toward the Montana border. The Kinnikinic Quartzite may
have accumulated in broad flats near the mouths of rivers loaded with sandy sedi-
ment that had been brought so far from its sources that little except resistant
quartz grains remained in it. Some of the flats were covered by such shallow
water that mud cracks developed in them. The area in which the Kinnikinic Quartz-
ite is preserved is so large that it is probable the sand was reworked and redis~
tributed several times by shifting marine currents. Parts of the Saturday Mountain
Formation also show mud cracks and shoal water features, but the dolomite farther
east may have been laid down in somewhat deeper water.

In the Wood River region (Umpleby and others, 1930, p. 2 3~24) the Trail
Creek Formation, about 500 feet thick, records a small amount of deposition of
sand and clay in a Silurian sea. The exposures are so limited as to suggest that

the material may have originally filled small depressions. The formation prob-
ably extends a short distance north of the area where it has been mapped but is
not present east of the Wood River region. North and northeast of that region
the Laketown Dolomite records an extensive Silurian sea. This formation is
over 3,000 feet thick in its western exposures but thins so much that in the
Lemhi Range it is rarely over a few hundred feet thick.' It is largely light-
colored dolomite but contains some quartzite. During parts of the Silurian
period the land may have been above the sea.

The area surrounding the sites of Hailey Ketchum, and Stanley and

about as far east as Challis and Mackay, was largely above sea level in Devon-
ian time but in and near the Lost River Range large amounts of Devonian rocks

were laid down. These are the dark Jefferson Dolomite, over a thousand feet
thick, overlain by the somewhat more impure Grand View Dolomite, 1,000 to
2,000 feet thick and by the Threeforks Limestone, which is variable but in many

places is less than 200 feet thick (Ross, 1937 p. 25-29; 1947, p. 1107-1112.)

The Jefferson Dolomite locally has some quartzite in it. The Threeforks Lime-
stone originally had some clay in ito The three Devonian formations extend, with
variations into the Lemhi Range and probably also int<D parts of the Beaverhead

Mountain but are not everywhere distinguishable from each other at presenL

Formations of Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Permian ages are

widespread and mostly thick throughout the region. In the general vicinity of
Hailey the lowest one is the Milligen Formation (Mississippian), perhaps as much
as 7 I 500 feet thick. This formation is dominantly black carbonaceous argillite I
with some quartzite and calcareous beds and local beds of graphitic coal. It is
overlain by the Wood River Formation (Pennsylvanian and Permian) 8,000 to 12,000
feet thick, which includes dark quartzite, in part calcareous and carbonaceous I
with some limestone and shale. Conglomerate beds are prominent, especially
near the base of the formation. The Milligen and Wood River formations near the
longitude of Hailey are thought to have been deposited close to shore, in part
in estuaries, swamps, deltas, and in sheets of sand and gravel representing
stream deposits redistributed by marine currents.

In part of the Pioneer Mountains and eastward to near Mackay I the

principal Paleozoic rocks exposed belong to the newly named Copper Basin
Formation (Ross 1962). This unit results from intermingling and interbedding

of the Milligen and Wood River formations and, on the east, of the White Knob
Limestone as well. It ranges in age from Early Mississippian to Permian and
is fully 10 gOOD feet thick.

Maps 1 to 7 were drafted before the new names Copper Basin Formation
and White Knob Limestone had been approved and published. The corresponding
letter symbols on Figure 2 and on the road maps were adopted prior to approval
of the new names and, hence, are now obsolete. Change in these symbols
throughout the maps was not undertaken because of the delays that would have
been involved.

Near Mackay and in parts of the Lost River Range, the White Knob Lime-
stone--formerly called Brazer Limestone (Ross 1962)--is a conspicuous feature

of the landscape. Several thousand feet thick, it ranges in age from Mississippian
to Permian but a large part of it is of Late Mississippian age. Beds of conglomerate
and sandstone in a few spots west of Mackay in the limestone, link it with the Cop-
per Basin Formation. In the Lost River Range this limestone is underlain by the
Milligen Formation which is there rarely over 1,000 feet thick. TRe Milligen in
these mountains is underlain by Threeforks Limestone whose well-preserved fossils
show it to be of Late Devonian age. Farther west the relations between the Milligen
and older rocks are not so clear. In the Lost River Range and from there to the
Montana boundary the Wood River Formation is either absent or only sparsely repre-

sented in areas not yet studied in detail. There are a few beds in the Lost River Range
that may belong to the Copper Basin Formation, but that unit is absent farther north-
easL It represents a transition between the shore-line deposits of the Wood River
region and the thick (mainly limestone) beds beyond.

In the Lemhi Range the Milligen Formation is thin and is locally absenL
The beds as signed to it are more cherty than those near Hailey and Mackay. If
the Milligen is present at all in the Beaverhead Mountains its exposures are sparse Q


Bedded rocks of Mesozoic age are not known anywhere in the part of Idaho
under discussion but the era is notable for the introduction of great bodies of intru-
sive igneous rocks, some of which are well-displayed along and near U. S. Highway
930 The Idaho batholith, which may be considered the most outstanding single fea-
ture of the geology of the state, crops out over some 16,000 square miles. The main
body has a distinctly granitic, faintly gneissic texture and most of it ranges in com-
position from granodiorite to quartz monzonite (Ross, C. P., 1928, 1936; Larsen
and Schmidt, 1958) Some individual components have been mapped and others will

be as study progresses, but in general, the main body of the batholith can be
thought of as composed of a few large masses of similar rocks whose limits are
poorly defined. Some separate plutons are known (Anderson, 1952) but most of
these either belong to the border zone or were emplaced so much more recently
than the batholith that they are obviously not to be regarded as components of that
mass. Some of these latter are referred to in the summary of Cenozoic intrusiv~
rocks below. The main body of the batholith is thought to have made way for it-
self by actively exerting pressures during intrusion rather than by passively oc-
cupying a space already provided for it (Ross, 1936, 1937, p. 80-82; 1947,
po 1125-1127). To some degree it soaked into and reacted with t!1e rocks it in-
vaded. After the granitic material came into place but before it had cooled, fluids
circulated through it that brought about mineral changes (Anderson, A. L., 1942).
Some of these are commented on in the road descriptions below.

The main body of the batholith is surrounded by an incomplete envelope of

diverse rocks mostly more gneissic and less siliceous than the main body although

Region Wood~ Region Bayhorse Region Borah~~

Bounded mainl y by Bounded approximately by Bounded by
longitudes 114 0 00' and longitudes 114 0 00' and longitudes 1130 30' and
1140 30'; latitudes 43 0 30' and 1150 00'; latitudes 44 0 00' 1140 00'; latitudes 44 0 00' and
44 0 00; and 44 0 30' 44 0 30'

Source of data Umpleby. Westqate and Ross.

1930; K11lsgaard. 1950; Ross. 1937 Ross. 1947 Umpleby. 1917;
Bostwick. 1955 Ross. 1934. 1961

(180-205 million years (Upper age limits not known) (Upper age limits not known) Dark. in part calcareous.
ago) Dark quartzite. in part cal- Impure quartzi te. some shale. quartzite.
--.;;...;..---------1 careous and carbonaceous. limestone. and conglomerate. Remnants only.
limestone. shale. prominent Thickneas not measured.
PENNSYLVANIAN conglomerate. Up to 12.000.
Mississippian periods Gray locally magnesian lime- Gray. locally magnesian. lime- Mostly rather thick-bedded
together occupied 205 to stone with chert in nodules. stone with chert. some sandy in part very pure limestone
255 million years) layers and lenses. some shaly beds. Lower part thin-bedded with chert. Lower part thin-
and sandy beds. some con- limestone with beds of carbon- bedded.
glomerate. aceous quartzite. 6,000 plus.
2. 000 plus. Top not exposed. 4.000 plus.

----------- t- - - - _. - - - -- .- - r- - - - - - - - - -
Mainly black carbonaceous Mainly black carbonaceous Mainly gray to black carbona- Dark shale. in part calcareous.
argillite. some quartz1tic and argillite. some dark quartzite ceous shale, in part calcare- 1 • 300 plus.
calcareous beds. plus some and limestone. ous.
graphi tic coal. Over 3.000. 1.000 plus or minus.

------------l - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - ---
Mainly argillaceous limestone Dolomite and limestone with
and calcareous shale. shale beds, dolomitic shale
20-250. below.
450 ph~s.

(255 to 315 million years Impure dolomite. Impure dolomite. Gray dolomite.
ago) 1.250 plus or minus. 2. ODD_plus. 600.

- -- - -
- - - - - - --- -- ---- - -- - - - - - - - -
Dark dolomite. Dark dolomite. some quartzite. Dark dolomite.
1.150 plus. 900 plus 700

- ....__.,....r-.._
...-.........__ __- ....._....".....__
-~ ....r-~""'-"_---....-....
_./ ~~~


Gray dolomitic limestone. Gray dolomite, scanty quartz- Gray dolomite.
some pale ql,1artzite. ite. 325.
SILURIAN 3,000 plus. 600 plus.
(315 to 350 million years
ago) ~-------------------
.... ~ ______ __
SUiceous argillite and Calcareous argUlite. some
quartzitic sandstone. white quartzite.
500. Thickness undetermined.

------------4 PHI
- - -.- - - - 1-------------1
Upper part is dark. flinty FORMATION Mostly dark dolomite. some FORMATION
ORDOVICIAN shale and yellow. shaly sand- Carbonaceous. calcareous shaly and quartzitic beds. Light and dark dolomite.
(350 to 430 million years stone. Lower part is quartzitic shale and impure dolomite. 600 plus or minus. 600 plus or minus.
ago) sandStone and flinty argillite. 3.000 plus or minus.
9.400 plus or minus
White quartzite with lavender Nearly white quartzite. little Nearly white quartzite.
tints. some shaly beds. dolomite and conglomerate. 1.000 plus.
3,500 plus or minus 3,000 plus or minus.

f----.----.- -- RAMSHORN SlATE

Carbonaceous argillite Slate. locally quartzitic.
Few huhdred feet calcareous or carbonaceous,
basal conglomerate.
2.000 plus.
------------------~,,~--./ ~ -I~ ~

Buff-weathering dolomite with
ISmaIl oval structures, mostly
cherty. Some beds are shaly,
CAMBRIAN quartzitic. and conglomeratic.
(430 to 510 million years 1.000 plus.
f- - - - - - _. - - - -
Silvery gray phyllite. Several
hundred feet thick; .base not
P 10 blank

this generalized statement has many exceptions. This outer envelope commonly

called the border zone, is better developed where the batholith is in contact with
components of the Belt Series than where it has invaded younger rocks, particularly
Paleozoic calcareous units. The difference is a matter of composition, not of age.
Many of the components of the border zone have igneous textures and are probably
intrusive but there are also many that in one way or another show that they are de-
rived from sedimentary rocks now drastically modified as a result of being thoroughly
permeated by igneous fluids. The border zone is thus an intricate and varied assem-
blage of diverse'rocks. The complex processes involved are not completely under-
stood. In a very general wa y, the as semblage called the border zone, is older than
and intruded by the main body of the batholith though in many places the rocks of the
border zone grade into the interior mass of the batholith in such a way that it is
difficult to say where the border zone stops and the main body begins. However,
the composite border zone include s some rocks that formed later than the main body.

The preceding summary remarks represent my present ideas. However, one

must appreciate that thorough comprehension of the Idaho batholith is still far in
the future. Some students would emphasize to a greater extent than has been done
here, the diversity of components and the extent to which parts of the batholith re-
sult from interaction with pre-existing rocks rather than from intrusion of molten ma-

The age of the Idaho batholith can be judged from the inferred geologic history
of the region or from measurements of radioactive changes within it. These lines of
evidence are in reasonable agreement and permit the conclusion that the main body of
the batholith is somewhat more than 100 million years old and thus, came into place
fairly late in Cretaceous time. The introduction, consolidation, and late-stage changes
in so large a body must have taken much time, perhaps several million years. The
age of the border zone is not so closely established. Age assignments as old as the
Jurassic period have been suggested for some parts of the zone along the western
border of the batholith (Ross, 1928; Anderson, 1947 I p. 130-134, 172-173) but
there is at present no proof that any part of the zone is that old. It is possible that
no part of the batholith, including its border zone, is older than Cretaceous.

A number of masses of granitic rock that broadly resemble the Idaho batho-
lith lie well outside the borders of that mass. Most of these have in the past been
interpreted as similar in age to the Idaho batholith or somewhat younger than that
body, an interpretation that may be correct for some of these masses. A few may
be significantly older than the main batholith. The complexities that result from
current, incomplete knowledge on this point are touched on in the discussion of Ceno-
zoic intrusive rocks.


Within the area served by Highways 93 and 93A the Cenozoic era was marked
by igneous activity and only to a lesser extent by sedim8ntation. The oldest and one
of the largest of the rock units formed during this era is the Challis Volcanics. This

unit was originally given a broad, inclusive definition (Ross, 1930; Wilmarth, 1932;
Ross, 1934, po 46) but has recently been redefined (Ross, 1961b in press) to include
the great mass of dominantly volcanic strata of early Tertiary age within the part of
central Idaho north of the Snake River Plain and south of latitude 45 0 30 U approximately 0

This formation is locally overlain, especially along the borders of the Snake River
Plain, by silicic volcanic rocks mostly of Pliocene age These in turn are overlain

by the Snake River Basalt (Pliocene and younger) which floors much of the Snake
River Plaino The region also contains sedimentary deposits of Pliocene to Recent age 0

The Challis Volcanics were deposited throughout much of the mountainous

part of south-central Idaho but have been extensively eroded. They rest on a very ir-
regular erosion surface and once covered all but the highest peaks of that surface 0

They are variable in character and thickness (Ross, 1937, p. 49-64) The maximum

original thickness probably much exceeded 3,000 feet. In most of the region the major
part of the formation consists dominantly of flows and flow breccias commonly of latitic

and andesitic composition with minor quantities of nonwelded tuff and rhyolitic and
basaltic flows This assemblage has been called informally the "latite-andesite mem-

ber" Another unit named the Germer Tuffaceous Member in the Bayhorse region (Ross,

1937, p. 53-58) is composed essentially of tuff, tuffaceous sandstone and some con-
glomerate and shale This unit has in it basaltic flows and rhyolitic rocks that are

mostly welded tuff. The term "Germer tuffaceous member and related strata it has been
used for similar rocks beyond the Bayhorse region (Ross and Forrester, 1947) but these
rocks are more closely akin to each other in character than in age. They include the
dominantly sedimentary rocks near Salmon that Anderson (1956, p. 28-31; 1957, po 16-
19; 1959, p. 21-28) has subdivided and named. Certain silicic volcanic rocks in the
Challis Volcanics have been named the Yankee Fork Rhyolite Member (Ross 1934, 6

po 52-53) These and other rhyolitic rocks are grouped together on the maps in this


The Challis Volcanics constitute a somewhat heterogeneous unit. Early in

its study the presence of local unconformities was recognized (Ross, 1937, p. 49).
In the papers just cited, Anderson reports several unconformities in clastic beds. The
significance of these is difficult to evaluate. Some of the uncopformities in the forma-
tion may record nothing more than pauses in eruptive activity or minor drainage changes
that interrupted sedimentation. None has been shown to correspond to a large time break.

Fossil plants in the Challis Volcanics (Ross, 1937, p. 65-68; Brown, 1937 I

p. 164-165; Brown, written communication 1956; Wolfe, J Ao written communications

0 I

1959, 1960) indicate that much of the formation is of Oligocene age but some are now
regarded as Eocene. This statement, based on the recent determinations by Brown and
Wolfe just mentioned and on recent studies of pollen (Leopold, Estella B~ and Ransom,
Helen F 0, written communication, 1962), is a revision of early opinion. Age determi-
nations by the lead-alpha method (mostly unpublished) in rocks that intrude the vol~
canics range from 40 to 60 million years a spread that agrees fairly well with the age

range suggested by the fossils 0


In and close to the Snake River Plain, silicic rocks that are mainly
younger than the major part of the Challis Volcanics are widespread. The plain
stretches almost entirely across Idaho and the fairly silicic rocks on its borders
have been given various names in the past, such as Mount Bennett rhyolite
(Russell, 1902, pc 42), Tertiary Late lavas (Kirkham, 1927, p. 33-38) porphyritic
rhyolite (Bryan, 1929, p. 14-52), Owyhee rhyolite (Kirkham, 1931, p. 579-587),
Shoshone Falls Andesite (Wilmarth, 1932; Steams, 1936, p. 434-439 and others).
These rocks are shown on the geologic map of Idaho as "silicic volcanic rocks as-
sociated with the Snake River Basalt". In his reconnaissance in 1869, Clarence
King (1878, p. 590-591) included some of them in his Humboldt Formation that he
thought of as deposited in his ancient Shoshone Lake. These rocks have been re-
ferred to frequently as rhyolitic a term that emphasizes qualitatively their silicic

character. However many of them are actually quartz lati te . In the vicinity of

u. S. Highways 93 and 93A, many of the silicic rock components are tuffaceous,
including much welded tuff. Such rocks are products of explosive volcanism.
Along the route of U S. Highway 93 they are chiefly encountered near the Nevada

border, but they are also present on the northern border of the Snake River Plain.
In this paper they are referred to as the "young silicic volcanics". They are re-
garded as mainly of early Pliocene age but include rocks of middle Pliocene age
(Malde and Powers! written communication 1960). This dating implies that their
eruption ceased a few million years ago and may have occupied a time span of
several million years.

The basaltic rocks of the Snake River Plain have long been called Snake
River Basalt or Snake River lava (Russell, 1902, p. 59-66). In some parts of the
Plain they have much sedimentary material with the lava. Some components of this
widespread unit have been given separate names by Stearns (Stearns, Crandall and
Steward, 1938, p. 42-56). For present purposes the Snake River Basalt may be di-
vided into lower and upper parts. In the western part of the Plain the lower com-
ponent intertongues with a thick section of sedimentary rocks but from the vicinity
of Shoshone southward along U. S. Highway 93 it is essentially all basaltic flows.
It includes the Banbury Basalt (Stearns and others, 1938, p.50-51). This unit is
mainly olivine basalt but includes some tuff and diatomite. Of middle Pliocene
age, it is thus not greatly younger than the youngest of the silicic rocks just de-
scribed. The youngest part of the lower component of the Snake River Basalt is
of Pleistocene age and less than a million years old (Malde and Powers, written
communication). Its thickness where U. S. Highway 93 crosses the Snake River
is 300 feet, but the thickness elsewhere may exceed 1 (000 feet.

The upper part of the Snake River Basalt accumulated in a time of erosion
and canyon cutting that culminated in the development of the present canyon of the
Snake River (Malde and Powers written communication). Hence the basalt flows

that compose most of the unit are interbedded with and locally covered by stream
deposits. Some of the latter are present along U. S. Highway 93 but they are so ir-
regular in thicknes s and in distribution that they are not on the maps.; These de-
posits are commented on in the road logs. A number of the comparatively recent
flows of olivine basalt crossed by the highway have received formal names. Near

the highway these include the Sand Springs and Wendell Grade basalts of Stearns.
The thickness and character of the upper part of the Snake River Basalt vary widely
from place to place. In much of the area north of Twin Falls this component may
not be more than 100 feet thick.

Based on fossils and geomorphic interpretation, Malde and Powers show

that the climate during the deposition of most of the upper part of the Snake River
Basalt was colder and wetter than that of the present day, during most of the time
glaciation was going on in the nearby mountains (written communication, March
1960). The oldest of the flows of the unit probably erupted less than a million
years ago and the youngest cannot be more than a few thousand years old. Some,
as in the Craters of the Moon, are so fresh and so slightly weathered that they
loo~ as if they might have been formed very recently.

In the mountains north of the Snake River Plain, sediments later than
the Challis Volcanics are line stream valleys. Some are products of glaciation but
most are of alluvial and fluviatile origin. In some intermontane valleys depOSits
more than a million years old are probably present. The Donkey Fanglomerate (Ross,
1947, p. 1122-1124) near the head of the Pahsimeroi River is an example.

Records of several episodes of mountain gla<;::iation are visible in south-

central Idaho but correlations between the deposits or between these and those of
other regions are uncertain. Some of the deposits are so old that streams have
eroded canyons over I, 000 feet deep since they were laid down (Ross, 1929, 1937);
in contrast, valley-deepening since the last major glaciation (which may have hap-
pened 10,000 years ago) has been less than 100 feet. Since the last major glacia-
tion there has been little, if any, deposition of glacial debris; yet a succession of
stream and fan deposits has left its record in the valleys between mountain masses.
Details of the glacial and postglacial depOSits will be mentioned in the road de-
scriptions below.

Various plutons are present in the eastern part of the Salmon River Moun-
tains; in and east of the Pioneer Mountains near Mackay; and in the Beaverhead
Mountains. They are absent from the Lost River and Lemhi ranges although a few
fine-grained dikes are present in these mountains. One of the major assemblages
of these rocks crops out along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River within the

Salmon River Mountains, and stretches far to the northeast and southwest of there.
Many of the rather fine-grained rocks along this stretch are in dikes and irregular
masses. Except for small bodies near where Highway 93 enters Montana, the assem-
blage is not exposed near the highway but it is a major feature of the regional geol-
ogy. The rocks that compose the plutons range in composition from quartz diorite
to granite but are alike in that they commonly contain conspicuous pink microcline.
Micropegmatite is also common in them. Most of the plutons are accompanied by
dikes, sills, and irregular bodies of comparatively fine-grained rocks The princi-

pal assemblages of the fine-grained rocks occur in elongate, northeast-trending

zones Their composition varies widely but the majority of the rocks correspond

fairly closely chemically and petrographically to nearby plutons. In places the fine-


and coarse=grained rocks grade into each otheL More commonly the fine-grained
bodies cut the plutons Where the Challis Volcanics remain, the'y an~ cut by the

fine-grained bodies and I les s commonly I by the plutons a As mentioned above I

age measurements on samples from the plutons aid in determining the age of the
Challis Volcanics 0

While most of the intrusive rocks east of the Idaho batholith belong
to the category summarized above intrusions both older and younger than this are

believed to be present.. In early investigations (Ross 1929) most of the plutons


were supposed to be related to the Idaho batholith but the possibility was enter-
tained that intrusion occurred at progressively younger dates eastward so that
there was a gradation between the Idaho batholith and the somewhat younger
batholithic bodies in Montana o Some of the intrusive bodies, especially those that
invade old rocks, are of undetermined age and some of these may be more closely
related to the Idaho batholith than to Challis volcanism. Some geologists (Anderson 0
1942; 1947, p. 134=139; 1951, po 594-601; Anderson, Kiilsgaard and Fryklund, Jra
1950, p. 4-6 0 42, 65) infer a period of igneous activity intermediate in time be-
tween the Idaho batholith and Challis volcanism. Their inferences are based on
their interpretation of CJeolo<fic history rather than on direct evidence as to the age
of specific intrusive masses.. The time gap between the intrusion of the Idaho
batholith and the beginning of Challis volcanism, based on laboratory measure~
ments of age, is now less than 40 million years .. If some plutons were emplaced
within this interval the pauses may have been so short that instead of three

separate periods of igneous activity, a concept of essentially continuous activity

would fairly approximate the truth. In different parts of the broad region from the
Idaho batholith eastward there may well have been pauses during which no intru-
sions occurred. It would not be a great stretch of the imagination to say that in-
troduction of magmas has persisted, with only minor interruptions, into geologi-
cally Recent time, as evidenced by the young silicic volcanics and by the still
younger basaltic outpourings All of these necessarily had their sources in intru-

sion, even though few of these sources are exposed and identified. We do not yet
have enough recorded dates to say whether the pauses that took place after Challis
volcanism ceased were longer or shorter than those in pre-Challis time.. The prob-
lem of dating intrusive masses has its practical side, for each period of igneous
action may have been accompanied by the introduction of ore deposits. Notions as
to the date at which mineralization took place have influenced prospecting and de-
velopment throughout central Idaho.
P 16 blank


The following summary of the events that are thought to have resulted
in the geologic and physiographic features visible today, emphasizes features
that can be observed along or near U. S. Highways 93 and 93A; yet in order to
present an adequate picture a broader region than this has necessarily been taken

into account. Remarks already made show that various uncertainties remain in re-
lation to the rocks now exposed. These uncertainties hinder any attempt to offer
an interpretation of the historical record these same rocks constitute. The remarks
below reflect my present concepts of the geologic history of Idaho I which are in
part based on as yet unpublished studies.

Most, or all, of the region with which we are concerned was within the
broad basin inundated by the shallow, shifting Belt sea. During late Precambrian
time that sea covered most of Idaho and western Montana and extended far into
British Columbia. Progressive sinking of the earth s crust under that sea per-

mitted the accumulation of great thicknesses of sediments even though at anyone

time the depth of the water in which deposition was taking place was slight.
After Belt sedimentation ceased, and perhaps also during a sharp interruption in
that process, the beds of the Belt Series were buckled into folds and rose above
sea level. One result was broad uplift in the area now occupied by the Idaho batho-
lith. That area remained elevated throughout the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.
During that time seas may have reached into it here and there but, as far as the
record shows, they did not cros sit nor invade any large parts of it. From this
elevated area, which formed the western shores of successive Paleozoic seas I

came much of the material that made up the deposits of those seas.

During the Paleozoic era a subsiding sea basin occupied the southeast-
ern part of central Idaho; the basin was bounded on one side by the land just men-
tioned and on the other by the marine shelf in southwestern Montana. Its northern
end was close to present latitude 45 0 00'. This basin was a narrow northward ex-
tension of a far larger, fluctuating sea basin that occupied large parts of Nevada I

Utah and states farther south.


In central Idaho the area occupied by marine water during the Cambrian
was probably very small. During the Ordovician the inundated area was much larger
but there were many changes in conditions of deposi tion. In Silurian time I part and
at intervals perhaps all of the area was dry land, a situation that continued into the
early part of the Devonian period. In the Late Devonian only the western part of the
basin was above the sea. Paleozoic seas may have had their greatest extension in
the southeastern part of central Idaho during the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian
periods and the early part of Permian time. The warping of the earth I s crust that
caused the variations in the extent of the seas was at no time violent enough to
crumple or break the rocks laid down in earlier seas. By the end of the Paleozoic
era the seas had retreated from the region. They have not re-entered the basin in
central Idaho since then, although at times they have approached it.

At some time during the Mesozoic era, pressures began to develop in the
earth is crust and the marine deposits mentioned above began ~o be strongly folded.
These events were the forerunners of the introduction of the Idaho batholithp The
earliest products of the intrusion included emanations that interacted with, and
changed rocks already in place; but even during this stage of development, molten
magma invaded the regiono Somewhat later when the main body of the batholith

was formed forceful introduction of melted material (magma) was such a dominant

feature that the pre-existing rocks were crumpled and broken. Along much of the
eastern border of the batholith the structures then produced in the Paleozoic rocks
correspond closely to the outlines of the batholith. The deformation in the Paleo-
zoic rocks extended from the border of the batholith far east and northeast beyond
the limits of the region and is inferred to be in some measure a direct result of
forces exerted during the introduction of the magma into the part of the earth! s crust
now open to observation. There was an interplay of mountain-building forces that
spread throughout much of the Rocky Mountain region. The ultimate origin and means
of introduction of such a large body as the Idaho batholith cannot be adequately dis-
cussed here. This event may have been only one incident among the complicated re-
sults that are visible in the present mountains but only imperfectly understood.

Igneous activity was not confined to the introduction of the main batholith.
Subordinate granitic masses probably began to penetrate the rocks east of the batho-
lith before introduction of that mass had ceased. Intrusion continued at intervals
until well into the Cenozoic era. The periods of quiet between intrusions locally
may have been fairly long even in terms of geologic time, but it may not be far from
the truth to think of all the granitic masses as products of a single process spas-

modic in its manifestations.

Whether one thinks of the different intrusions as res'ults of a single inter-

rupted episode in geologic history or of separate episodes there came a time 7

fairl y early in the Cenozoic era when magma reached the surface of the ground and

volcanism on a grand scale set in, producing the Challis Volcanics. The region had
been dry land subject to erosion by streams and weather for a long time, and the
rocks had been deeply sculptured. At one stage, mountain-building processes had
paused for such a long time that the part of the region now mountainous had been
worn down until its topography had ceased to be very rugged. Before Challis vol-
canism began however uplift--perhaps accompanied by climatic changes--had
p I

revived erosion. Presumably the uplift was related to the first effects of the vol-
canic activity. The topography at the start of the volcanism was quite similar to
that of the present day, although there were strong differences in details and the

local relief may nowhere have been quite as great as it is in the present moun-
tains. Here and there remained remnants of the gentle topography produced before
the uplift. The eruptions covered most of the region with a thick blanket of volcanic
material. Part of this issued quietly as lava flows and breccias, but at times explos-
ive activity was dominant. It seems likely that volcanic cones were formed but, if so I

none has been recognized. Crustal disturbances were intensified during and to somep

extent, after the volcanismo The rocks were folded and broken but not on a scale com-
parable to that of the deformation that accompanied and followed the introduction of the

Idaho batholith Here and there, eruptions--and perhaps also crustal disturbances--

blocked stream channels, and sediments containing only subordinate volcanic material

After at least the greater part of the Challis Volcanics had erupted there was
a period of quiet during which stream erosion and weathering, which had been inter-
fered with but never stopped during the volcanism, became the dominant processes.
After a time the country was worn down so that its topography was far less rugged
than that of today. Some smoothed mountains and hills remained but the local re-
lief was nowhere very great. The development of a gentle landscape was facilitated
because many pre-existing valleys had been filled, to a greater or less extent, by
the Challis Volcanics and their associated sedimentary materials.

The region was not to remain quiet. Erosion was renewed, probably in several
steps, and the modern mountains began to be carved. This modem topography re-
sulted largely from uplift, which was accompanied locally by fracturing. Disturb-
ances of the rocks were t at most, moderate. It is difficult to distinguish between
the results of warping and fracture produced at this time and those of earlier, more
violent deformations.

The next major event was that in which the young silicic volcanic rocks were
erupted. Although the se rocks invaded the mountains of south -central Idaho along
intermontane valleys, they crop out more extensively in and on the borders of the
great lowland now known as the Snake River Plain. Perhaps their eruption was an
early step in the creation of that plain. Just how and why this depression, now filled
with tremendous masses of lava and associated rocks, came to be formed is not
clear. Downwarp has been postulated (Kirkham, 1931) as a major cause and prob-
ably did contribute notably to forming the depression, especially in the early stages.
Later fracturing was plentiful and is a dominant feature of the young rocks that now
underlie the surface of the plain. Whatever the processes may have been, a great
depres sion was formed, which became filled with ba sal tic rocks. During the vol-
canism the Snake River had a difficult time maintaining itself. At intervals its
channel shifted from place to place. West of the region here described, the river
was dammed long enough to permit large amounts of lake deposits to form. The se
deposi ts do not appear to have extended anywhere close to U. S. Highway 93 and
93A but the blocking of the river must have influenced events as far upstream as
the sites of the highways. As the area of the Snake River Plain sank, the moun-
tain block on the north rose and, in a general way was tilted northward and north-

westerly with resulting interference wi th the mountain streams. In much of the

SQutheastern part of the far-flung mountainous region drainage into the Snake River

Plain became of subordinate importance. A few rather short streams maintained chan-
nels from the mountains to the plain, but the rock of the plain is so permeable that
much of the water promptly sinks from sight. Flow in surface channels from the
mountains to the Snake River is exceptional under present conditions.

Basaltic volcanism has continued in and along the borders of the Snake
River Plain into geologically recent times. The plain is dotted with craters and
lava domes from which the last of the lava, pumice, arid cinders issued. Some
of these are arranged along such straight lines that they probably formed along
deep fissures that were channels for lava from buried reservoirs. The latest
eruptions through fissures of this kind, may have occurred less than a thousand
years ago (Stearns, Crandall and Steward, 1938, p. 100).

While volcanism was active in the Snake River Plain, the mountains to the
north continued to be eroded. During the early part of this interval, mountain g 1a-
ciers contributed to the sculpturing. A surface of gentle relief was produced there,
after Challis volcanism had subsided, followed by enough changes to give rise to a
fairly complex erosional history. The gross features of the mountain topography may
have been outlined before Challis volcanism but changes in level and in climate have
resulted not only in fluctuations in rates of erosion but in changes in drainage pat-
terns as well. One stream or another became able to extend its headwaters relatively
fas t and capture parts of the drainage ba sin of another stream. The valley of the
Salmon River, among others, is composite and is made up of segments of several
originally separate valleys as a result of capture Many hypotheses could account

for the existing drainage pattern in the mountains but so many features remain of
doubtful interpretation that a plausible summary cannot be presented here One

basic reason for the drainage change~ is the tilting of the mountain block mentioned .
above 0



Anderson, A. L~, 1931, Geology and mineral resources of eastern Cassia

County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Bull. 14.

Anderson, Ao Lo and Rasor, CQ Ao, 1934, Composition of a part of the


Idaho batholith in Boise County Idaho: Am. Jour. Sci. 5th ser.

vo 27, p. 160,287-294.

Anderson, A. Lo 1942, Endomorphism of the Idaho batholith: Geol. Soc.


America Bull. ,/:-·-5.3" ,no~ -8, p. 1099-1126,

----- 1942, Granite and ore: Econ. Geology v. 37 no. 6, p. 510-519. I

1947, Geology and ore deposits of Boise Basin, Idaho: U. S. Geol.

Survey Bull. 944-C 0

_ _ _ _ _ 1948, Role of the Idaho batholith during the Laramide orogeny:

Econ. Geology v. 43, p. 84-99.

1949, Silver-gold deposits of the Yankee Fork district,

Custer County I Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mine s and Geology Pamph. 83.

Anderson, A. L., Kiilsgaard, T. H., and Fryklund, V. C. Jr., 1950, De-

tailed geology of certain areas in the Mineral Hill and Warm Spring$
mining districts: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 90.

Anderson, A. L., 1951, Metallogenic epochs in Idaho: Econ. Geologyv. 46,

no. 6, p. 592-607.

1952, Multiple emplacement of the Idaho batholith: Jour. Geology,

v. 60 no. 3, p. 255-265.

- - -1954,
- -Challis, A preliminary report on the fluorspar mineralization near
Custer County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph.

1956, Geology and mineral resources of the Salmon quadrangle,

- -Lemhi
--- County I Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 106.

1957, Geology and mineral resources of the Baker quadrangle,

- -Lemhi
--- County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 112.

1959, Geology and mineral resources of the North Fork quad-

rang Ie, Lemhi County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mine s and Geology Pamph. 118.

Baxter, 'W. To, 1941, Shoshone ice caverns of Idaho: Rocks and Minerals,
v. 16, no. 2 p. 58.

Bryan, Kirk, 1929, Geology of reservoir and dam sites, with a report on the
Owyhee irrigation project, Oregon: U. S. Geo1. Survey Water Supply
Paper 597A.

Callaghan, Eugene and Lemmon, D. M., 1941 ~ Tungsten resources of the

Blue Wing district, Lemhi County, Idaho: U. 8. Ge,o1. Survey Bull. 931A

Coues, Ell iott, 1893, History of the expedition under· the command of.Lewis
and Clark. Published by Francis P. Harper, New York.

Federal Writers' Projects of the Works Progress Administration, 1950, (2d edition)
Idaho, a guide in word and picture: American Guide Series published by .

Oxford Univ. Press., New York, 300 p.

Fisher, Vardis, 1938, The Idaho Encyclopedia; compiled by the Federal Writers'
Project of the Works Progress Administration.

Gray, F. A., 1928, Ore deposits of the Mineral Hill district, Lemhi County,
Idaho: Ph. D. Thesis Univ. of Minnesota ,v.I.

Kern, B. F., 1959, Geology of the uranium deposits near Stanley Custer

County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 117 ~

Kiilsgaard, T. H., 1949, The geology and ore deposits of the Boulder Creek min-
ing district, Custer County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 88.

King, Clarence, 1878, U. S. Geol. Explor. 40th parallel, v. I, Systematic


Kirkham, V. R. D., 1927, A geologiC reconnaissance of Clark and Jefferson and

part of Butte Custer, Fremont, Lemhi, and Madison counties, Idaho: Idaho

Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 19.

- - 1931,
- -p.-456-482. The Snake River downwarp: Jour. Geology v. 39, no. 5,

_ _ _....:..-._1931, Igneous geology of southwestern Idaho: Jour. Geology"

v. 39, no. 6, p. 564-591.

Larsen, E. S. Jr., and Schmidt, R. G., 1958, A reconnaissance of the Idaho

ba tholi th and compari son with the sou thern California batholith: ,U. S. Geo1.
Survey Bull. 1070(a).

Loraine, S. H., and Metzger, O. H., 1939 i Reconnai s sa'nce of placer mining
districts in Lemhi County Idaho: U. S. Bur. Mines Inf. Circ. 7082.

Ross I C. P. I 1925 I The copper deposits near Salmon, Idaho: U. S. Geol.

Survey BulL 774, 44 p.

1927 The Vienna district, Blaine County, Idaho: Idaho Bur.

----- I

Mines and Geology Pamph 21, 17 po 0

_ _ _ _ _ 1927 , Ore deposits in Tertiary lava in the Salmon River Mountains,

Idaho: Idaho Bur Mine s and Geology P amph. 25, 21 p.

1928, Mesozoic and Tertiary granitic rocks in Idaho: Jour. Geology

v. 36, no 8 p. 673 - 693
0 I 0

_ _ _ _ _ 1929 8 Early Pleistocene glaciation in Idaho: U. So GeoL Survey

Proio Paper 158g po 123-128. I

_ _ _ _ _ 1930 6 Geology and ore deposits of the Seafoam, Alder Creek,

Little Smoky I and Willow Creek mining districts, Custer and Camas
counties, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 33, 26 p.

1936, Some features of the Idaho batholith: 16th Internat.

- -GeoL
--- Cong Report,
0 sess. VO I, po 369-385.

_ _ _ _-1937 Geology and ore deposits of the Bayhorse region, Custer


County, Idaho: U. S. Geol. Survey Bull. 877, 161 p.

_ _ _ _ _ 1947, Geology of the Borah Peak quadrangle, Idaho: Geolo Soc.

America BulL Vo 58, no. 12, pL 1, p. 1085-1160.

_ _ _ _ _ 1959, Annotated bibliography of papers related to the geology of

Idaho, 1941-1957~ Idaho Bur. of Mines and Geology Pamph. 119.

_ _- _ _ 1962, Upper Paleozoic rocks in central Idaho: Am. Assoc. Petroleum

Geology Bull 0 I Vo 46, p. 384-387.

Ross, CoP. and Carr 1M. S., 1941, The metal and coal mining districts
of Idaho, with notes on the nonmetallic mineral resources of the state:
Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 57.

Ross, C. P., and Forrester J. Do I 1947, Geologic map of Idaho: U. S. Geol.


Survey in cooperation with Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology.

- - -y 1958,
- -Geolog Outline of the geology of Idaho:
BulL 15 74 p. I
Idaho Bur. Mines and

Ross, Co Po u and Rezak, Richard, 1959, The rocks and fossils of Glacier
National Park; the story of their origin and history: U. S. Geol. Survey
Prof. Paper 294K.

Russell, I. C. I 1902 I Geology and water resources of the Snake River Plain of
Idaho: U S. GeoL Survey Bull. 199 I 192 p.

Shockey, P. N., 1957, Reconnaissance geology of the Leesburg quadrangle,

Lemhi County, Idaho: Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Pamph. 113 42 p. f

She non I P. J. 0 and Reed I J Co Jr I 1936, Down Idaho's River of No Return:

0 0

Nato Geog. Magazine, Vo 70, no. I, p. 94-1360

Stearns, HoT. I 1928, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho:

Idaho Bur. Mines and Geology Bull. 13, 57 p.

_ _ _ _ _ 1936, Origin of the large springs and their alcoves along the
Snake River in southern Idaho: Jour. Geology, v. 44, no. 4, p. 429-450.

Stearns I H. T., Crandall, Lynn I and Steward, ·W. G. ( 1939 I Geology and
ground water resources of the Snake River Plain in southeastern Idaho:
U S. Geo!. Survey Water Supply Paper 774 268 p.
0 I

Umpleby I JoB., 1913 I Geology and ore deposits of Lemhi County I Idaho:
U. So Geo!. Survey Bull. 528, 182 p.

Wilmarth, M. Go, 1932 ITenta ti ve correlation chart of the named geologic

units of Idaho: U. S. Geol. Survey.

Gmllel. sand. (md siLL of jlood11lains
and lOll) ten'aces


Og >-
Younger basalt flows Glacial deposits <:(
Fresh ali'pine basalt: some t:inders Qgy, younger glacial deposits (nea1' Z
and ash Stanley), 0::
Qgo, older glacial deposits (near W
Qg, gravel. sand, and silt; undiffer- f-
entiated older deposits locally <:(

Snake River basalt

Upper part
Wendell Grade basalt
A pahoehoe flow ofbl€wk.fine-grained
present, but 1Wt separately mapped :J
Fresh olivine basalt,- some inter- olivine basalt
bedded cinders, ash, and sedimen- Older alluvium
tary rocks. Vent areas and lava Gravel, sand. and siLL of oldfam and
domes shown by stippling terraces, in part so eroded that
I original topographie form is no
longer 1'ecognizable; somewhat
I ~ Sand Springs basalt
A lJahoehoe }low of fresh gray
cemented and deformed; includes
Donkey fanglomerate of Pliocene (?)
Snake River basalt
olivine basalt age, and sil1tilar but unnamed de~

.~ 1
Lower part
QTs l, mainly dull, 1veathered olivine
basalt. Vent areas and lava
shown by sti ppling
0: Tba, Banbury fo rmation, dis tin-
Quished locally. Dominantly
olivine basalt with some inter-
bedded sedimentary rocks

Silicic volcanic rocks

Lava. welded t1iff. unwelded tul/' and
subordinate amounts of sedimen~
tary rocks, in part composed of
volcanic frag1nents; volcanic rocks
are chiefly rhyolitic w latitic in >-
composition, but andesite and 0::
basalt are locally present <:(

Chall is volcanics, undifferentiated
Flaws and flow breccias ranging in
C01?tposiLion from Quartz latite to
Rhyolitic rocks
La'ua and welded tuJ/' largely rhyo-
lite and quartz latite

andesite,- mainly rep,"esents the

latite~andesite member, but in less
well known areas includes some

rhyolite, bas(tlt, t1iff. and sedimen ~ Basaltic rocks
tary rocks, L(lva, dominantely basalt or c(Llcic

Tee, conglomerate. mostly at base andesite

Intrusive rocks
T g, larger bodies with g1'anitic
texture and composition ranging
Germer tuffaceous member and from granite to gra1Wdiorite.
associated rocks Td, dikes, sills. and irregular masses
Clast.ic ttl./f and some welded tuff. of fine-grained porphyritic rock
travertine, sandstone, siltstone, similar in C011tposition to the
(lnd conglomerate associated coarser-grained granitic

c:=J (f)

Idaho batholithic rocks
Ki, granitic rocks with varied com~ I-
position but chiefly quartz monzo~ W
nite, 0:::
Kib, gneiss (lnd associated rocks U
locally present around ma1'gins of
granitic masses Z
, ~~
-1 W
Wood River formation >-CL
Quartzitic iHtndstone and siltstone. (f)
some limestone and conglomerate ZO
zz :J
Iw <! 0
I CL 0::
I w
Limestone. sandstone, and shale White Knob limestone Copper Basin formation LL
I'll. areas where available information Limestone, in part dolomitic and A unit that results front the merging -
is scanty, rocks of Mississippian
through Permian ages are mapped
cherty; some beds of chert. sand-
stone, and siltstone, and conglom-
and interfingering of the Wood
River and Milligenformati<ms and
z 0
as a 1! the Whit .. Kn()b limestone npar ['Q; grades laterally into clastic
rocks Mackay (md areas to the north c::: 0::
and so·u th; contains rock types of <:(
all three formations. but is chiefly (Ii
.'fundy ami silty (f) U
Mill igen formation ::!E
Gray and bl(lck carbonaceo14,s shale
and argillite with some sandy and
quartzitic beds (md limestone

Three Forks limestone

Argillaceou,'f limestone; some sJude
and q1mrtzite

Grand View dolomite o
Mo(te1'(tte ly d01'k, well bedded dolo- >
mite. in 1)art Qlla1't.zitic

Jefferson dolomite
Dltrk, thick-bedded d%",ite with
sonte beds of yellow dolomitic
Dolomite and limestone
ht areas where available i1iformation
is scanty, rocks of Late Ordovician
through Devonian ages are mapped
as a Laketown dolomite
Lig ht-colored dolomite, 1vith some
quartzite layers mainly in basal
part 0::
Trai l Cree k formation
Siliceous argWite and shale with
some quartzite

Saturday Mountain formation

Massive to well bedded dark dolo-
1nite interbedded 1vith argillite and
shaly ciolontite; some beds highly
carbonaceous z

Kinnikinic quartzite ~
Phi Kappa formation
Liflht-colored Qu(trtzile; some solo-
mUe, shale and cl)u{Jlome1'<tte D(trk-colond s /wie, yello'w s /tnly o
sandstone. fine-Ul·nined q1UtTtzil'ic 0::
8undstone and flinty a'rgillite o
Ramshorn slate
Slate and phyllite with some argillite,
argillaceous quartzite, and quartz
Oca, carbonaceous argillite

Bayhorse dolomite z
Thick-bedded dolomite 1uith oolites <:(
01· nigal remains
Garden Creek phyllite U
Da,1'k sheand (tryillaceot~'f rock

East For k formation

Blue. gray, a1ld white met(wwrphose<i
limestone, with 'vitreous qllu1,tz'ite 0::
neaT the mi ddle (])
Hyndma n formation 0::
M(lssive QUClTtzite with some green (L
hornfels and ScJt'l:st

Belt series U-
Ligh t~ coloredquartizite, dark argil- w O::
lite, and green to dark gray impure o::(])
Quartzite (L

. . ..
Fault breccia

(See figure 2 for explanation of symbols)

SCALE I : 25000 0

4E~=2'===:::J0,========~4====:::::E8========31,2 MilES





Most of the part of U. S. Highway 93 included here cropses the Snake River
Plain. Though the northernmost part enters the mountains, much of it passes through
an area devoted to irrigated crops and stock raising. The more southerly stretches
are in sparsely settled country, for the most part, that is cultivated only in small
patches where irrigation water from reservoirs and wells is available. U. S. High-
way 93A branches from U. S. Highway 93 at Shoshone and leads to Arco, Mackay,
and Challis. This alternate route is described separately.

The highway passes through the thriving city of Twin Falls which is the

metropolis of the intensively cultivated area called Magic Valley and the county seat
of Twin Falls County. The agriculture of Magic Valley is diversified. Fruits vege-

tables, potatoes sugar beets, pinto beans and forage crops are grown and livestock

is fattened in feeding lots. Shoshone, the county seat of Lincoln County I is a rail-
road center, surrounded by stock ranches. Bellevue and Hailey, both former mining
towns are now largely supported by agriculture.

The geology of the Snake River Plain shown on the accompanying strip map
(no. 1) is based mainly on an unpublished photogeologic map by Charles H. Marshall,
U. S. Geological Survey.

Near the Nevada border the highway passes over silicic volcanic rocks. Road-
cuts afford opportunities to see welded tuff, some of which has concretions of the sort
colloquially termed "thunder eggs". Farther north the highway passes over components
of the Snake River Basalt, mantled extensively by silt deposited where lava flows have
interfered with drainage. Most of the farming for which this part of Idaho is noted is
in the silt-covered areas. North of Twin Falls the highway crosses the Snake River

on a high bridge. The bottom of the gorge here exposes silicic volcanic rocks. On
both sides of the highway the silicic rocks are broken by faults but available data do
not warrant showing these on the map. North of the river the highway is on basaltic
rocks with patches of silt and gravel at intervals all the way to Shoshone. Farther
north most of the country is underlain by basaltic rocks of the upper part of the
Snake River Basalt but near the mountain border older basalt and some young silicic
volcanics are encountered. The foothills at the northern border of the Snake River
Plain consist mainly of silicic volcanics. Beyond them the highway passes over
alluvial deposits in the valley of the Big Wood River. The mountains from south of
Bellevue to Hailey and beyond consist mainly of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, mostly
belonging to the Milligen Formation I in which the rock is so rich in carbon that the
many old mine dumps give the appearance of a coal district, although lead and silver
were the principal metals sought in them. West of the highway, but not visible from
it, diverse granitic rocks are exposed.

O. 0-117 . 7 Boundary between Idaho and Nevada JACKPOT, Nev. is O. 6 mile

0 I

south. The ,rock in the vicinity belongs to the young silicic vol-
canic rocks and for some distance is dominantly welded tuff
I 0

O. 7-117 .0 Highway passes under the branch of the Union Pacific Railroad
from TWIN FALLS, Idaho to WELLS, Nevada. Roadcutsnear the
underpass expose welded tuff.

2.3-115.4 Roadcut shows mingled black and red welded tuffs.

3. 3-114.4 A side road leads 3 miles west to the canyon of Salmon Falls
Creek where the young silicic volcanic rocks can be seen.
This stream is sometimes incorrectly called Salmon River. It
should not be confused with the much larger Salmon River in
central Idaho.

4. 0-113. 7 Red welded tuff is exposed.

4.5-113.2 Campground east of the highway.

4. 7-113.0 Roadcuts expose rhyolitic tuff full of "thunder eggs" (hollow

roughl y egg- shaped concretions of fine-grained silica, called
chalcedony or agate) .

5.6-113. 1 Roadcut east of the highway exposes ash overlain by welded tuff.

6.8-111.9 Railroad underpass. Roadcuts expose black welded tuff.

9.3-10804 Greys Landing on Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is reached by a

road that branches from the highway on the west. The escarpment
6 miles west of the highway consists of welded tuff and has been
inferred to be a fault scarp.

10.2-107.5 A pit east of the highway exposes black welded tuff.

10.7-107.0 Roadcuts expose red welded tuff.

13 4-104.3
0 Railroad underpass 0 Roadcuts show bedded ash and stream deposits,
which are in the young silicic volcanics.

33.5- 84.2 Hub Butte I the large lava dome to the east may have helped dam the
Snake River and permit deposition of the sediment that is under
cuI ti va tion here.

33.8-83.9 Crossroad through farmlands on sediment believed to have been

deposited by the Snake River at one of the various times it was
diverted from its channel by volcanism.

35.2-82.5 Highway passes through the outskirts of the scattered settlement

of BERGER (population 15).

37.0-80.7 Crossroad. Twin Falls Municipal Airport 4 miles east.

37.7-80.0 High Line Canal carries water from Milner Dam 30 miles east.

38.0-79.7 Highway crosses railroad. Crossroad. Idaho 74 on the north-

east is an alternate route to Twin Falls (8 miles) through farm-

41.6-76.1 u. S. 93 joins U. S. 30. The lava all through here is mantled

with sediments deposited during one of the times when the
Snake River was diverted from its channel.

42.6 .... 75.1 Highway crosses the branch railroad from Buhl to Twin Falls.

43.3-74.4 Radio Station KTFI south of the highway. The ground near here
has been over-irrigated and has had to be drained. Water-logging
as a consequence of irrigation has been a problem here since 1912:
tile drains, tunnels and wells have been constructed to alleviate
water-logged areas that were dry before irrigation began.

45.1-72.6 Suburban area of TWIN FALLS.

45.7-72.0 Cross Rock Creek. East of here along Addison Avenue, motels

are numerous. This stream new discharges an average of 200

cubic feet per second almost all of which is waste irrigation


46.6-71. 1 Junction with Idaho 74. u. S. 93 continues straight ahead. U. S .

. 30 skirts the shopping section of TWIN FALLS, population 20,126 I

the metropolis of this part of Idaho. The post office is on Main

Avenue O. 6 mile from this intersection.

47. 6-70. 1 Junction. Idaho 74 leads south. Idaho 50 leads east on Blue
Lake s Boulevard.

48. 1-69.6 Cross Filer Avenue traffic light.

48.6-69. 1 Crossroad. The road to the east leads to Shoshone Falls on

the Snake River about 5 miles away. These falls are believed
to have been discovered by Wilson Price Hunt in 1811. They

have a drop of about 200 feet over a rim nearly a thousand feet
wide So much water is diverted for irrigation above these falls

that during spring and summer they are essentially dry" There is
a power plant here Twin Falls,. for which the city is named is
0 I

3 miles up river from Shoshone Falls and has been developed for
power so that it is les s spectacular than in its natural state .
There are several other smaller waterfalls along the Snake River
above and below where U 0 S 093 crosses it.

5002-67.5 South end of the Perrine Memorial Bridge that carries U. So 93

over the Snake Rivero This bridge is termed the Rim-to=Rim
bridge by some The boundary between Twin Falls and -Jerome

counties is center line of the river.. The bridge is named for

I. B. Perrine I who is known as the father of the Twin Falls irri-
gation projecte It was dedicated by Mrs. Perrine on Oct .. 1, 1927 e
It has a cantilever span of 1,350 feet a distance between towers of

700 feet, and a height above water level of 476 feeL An observa-
tion point with parking space for automobiles, is provided at the

south end of the bridge.. The basalt shows pillow structure. It be-
longs high in the lower part of the Snake River Basalt. Silicic vol-
canic rocks are exposed in the lower 200 feet of the gorge.. Flows
belonging to the upper component of the Snake River Basalt extended
south across the site of the present gorge before the latter was cut,
but present exposures south of the river are scanty.

50.4-67.3 North end of Perrine Bridge.. North of here the highway crosses
the Sand Springs Basalt flow. This is one of the younger flows
of the Snake River Basalt.. It fills a canyon in the older flows
as can be seen at Blue Lake alcove one and one-half miles north-
east. The Sand Springs Basalt is largely mantled by' later wind
and river deposi ts ~

50.9-66.8 Idaho 79 leads northwest to Jerome about 7.5 miles away.

52.5-65.2 Gravel pit east of the highway which here crosses the Sand Springs

Basalt flowe The gravel was deposited when Lake Bonneville spilled
into the Snake River. A road that leaves the highway here leads to
Blue Lake alcove an abandoned waterfall probably formed during the

flood from Lake Bonneville.

52.9-64.8 Exhausted gravel pit east of the highwayo

55.0-62.7 Approximate northern boundary of the Sand Springs Basalt. The

exact boundary is masked by detritus.. Road enters area of late
Snake River Basalt.
Album Studio photo

Photo 1. Air view of Snake River gorge east of the city of Twin Falls. Shoshone
Falls in the foreground Twin Falls in the distance.
Union Pacific Railroad photo

Photo 2 . Twin Falls. Here the Snake River has cut through several horizontal flows of basalt and
is eating its way into siliCic volcanic rocks (Tsv) at the falls .

Kelker Studio photo

Photo 3. Perrine Memorial Bridge, 1.5 miles north of the city of Twin Falls, is 1400 feet long,
476 feet above river level.
..2...8 b-

Cross "north side" branch of the Union Pacific Railroad.

58.8-58.9 Idaho 25 crosses U. S. 93. Jerome is 3.2 miles west.

Flat Top Butte east of the highway, a volcanic vent with a

television relay station on it. This broad lava dome has a
crater near the top.

6404-53.3 Road branches east leading to an air beacon on a lava vent

or dome with a crater.

Jerome Cutoff road leaves the highway to the west.

JEROME (population 4, 761) is about 11 miles away by this

66.6-51.1 Southern border of the Wendell Grade Basalt flow.

67.8-49.9 Road leaves the highway to the west along the boundary be-
tween Jerome and Lincoln counties.

69.0-48.7 An old crater is visible to the west. This has been exhumed in
part, from a cover of river sediments, which are now farm land.

70.3-47.4 Road branches from the highway to Notch Butte, which has radio
equipment on it. The butte is the source (crater) of the Wendell
Grade Basalt, one. of the younger components of the Snake River
Basalt. This basalt extends 25 miles westward, just far enough
to dribble into the canyon of the Snake River near HAGERMAN.

74.3-43.4 South side of the junction with Idaho 24 which is made by a


74.5-43.2 North side of the j unction with Idaho 24, which leads east to
DIETRICH (population 118) about 8 miles away.

74.7-43.0 Main street in SHOSHONE. (population, 1,416)

74.8-42.9 Cross the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad. The Shoshone
post office is a short distance west on the north side of the rail-
road. Shoshone is a division point on the Union Pacific Railroad
and the center of a growing agricultural community. U. S. 26
and temporary U. S. 20 lead west to GOODING (population 2,750)
about 16 miles away. U. S. 93 and 93A split (northward) or jOin
(southward) at the north side of the railroad Shoshone.
The log you are reading follows U. S. 93 toward Hailey. The log
for U. S. 93A is on pages 81-95.

as a result of concealed faulting e Part of the irregularity results

from deposition of the Snake River Basalt on hilly topography
carved on the silicic rocks Isolated hills of the latter project

through the basalt.

99.5-18.2 Road on west passes over low hills to Magic City, a fishing
resort on the eastern shore of Magic Reservoir I 5 miles away.
Magic City is on rather fresh basalt but there are exposures
of the Banbury Basalt near the shore of Magic Reservoir The

hills between the reservoir and U So 93 have local exposures


of granitic rock.

102.5-15.2 North border of PicaQo Hills Roadcuts along highway include


coarsely fragmental rocks of the silicic volcanics. These are

characteristic of the silicic volcanic unit and they have some
resemblance to rocks in the Challis Volcanics, which are older 0

103.0-14.7 Cafe and filling station west of highway.

103.1-14.6 Idaho 68 crosses U. S e 93 with a small jog.

112.1-5-6 Idaho 23, from Carey, meets U. S. 93 at an angle from the east.
The southern border of the Mineral Hill mining district is about
2 miles south of here along the hill border west of the highway.

112.7 ... 5.0 Post office at BELLEVUE (population 384). This old mining town
is now a center for agricultural activities, mostly south of it.
Mining continues on both sides of the Big Wood River but on a
reduced scale Most of the deposits have lead and silver as

their principal components but some are gold deposits. At pres-

ent, none of the mines is active on a large scale. The best known
and most productive is the Minnie Moore mine. This property has
produced more than half of the yield of over $12,000,00 0 credited
to the area close to Bellevue. Early in the present century the
prinCipal ore body in the Minnie Moore mine was found to be cut
off by a fault. Numerous and costly attempts since then to ex-
plore beyond this fault have resulted in the discovery of some ore
but apparently not enough to keep the mine in operation for long
at anyone time.

The dark soft-weathering rocks conspicuous from the highway

near and south of Bellevue belong mainly to the Milligen Formation.
Faults are numerous and have brought some of the resistant rocks
of the 'Nood River Formation down in fault slivers. The somewhat
complex assemblage of granitic rocks west of Bellevue contributed
in varied ways to the creation of the ore bodies. Detours on side
roads would be neces sary in order to see these rocks.

I)r MAP NO. 2

(See figure 2 for explanation o f symbols)

/ SCA LE 1: 250000

4E~==~==2E~==~==0E=============4~============8E===========~12 MILES


The stretch of U. S. Highway 93 described here ascends the valley of the
Big Wood River ,over Galena Summit and thence down the valley of the upper Salmon
Ri ver to Stanley in the Stanley Basin. Most of it is in the Sawtooth Mountains 0

The part of these mountains west of the upper Salmon is known as the spectacular
Sawtooth Range. The Pioneer and Boulder mountains are northeast of the Big Wood
River. Except for the switchbacks over Galena Summit (altitude 8, 752 ft.) grades

are low to moderate. Even over the summit there should be no difficulty in travel-
ling unless the highway is snow-covered. The highway passes through Ketchum
with Sun Valley close by and there are minor supply points all the way to Stanley

which has motels and other accommodations on a somewhat limited scale. The
Sawtooth Range, which constitutes much of the Sawtooth primitive area has along

its eastern slopes lakes of interest to fishermen. These are becoming bordered by
summer cottages and lodges.

The mountains on either side of the highway have many interesting geologic
features worthy of more detailed study. However, alluvial and glacial deposits
are so plentiful along the wide v?lleys that geologic observations from the highway
are hampered. Much of the valley of the Big Wood River above Bellevue was once
filled with Challis Volcanics and along much of the highway the principal bedrock
exposures belong to this formation. The mountains on either side of the river con-
tain a thick assemblage of varied sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic and older age, of
which the oldest have been so changed by processes related to igneous activity,
that original characteristics are obscured. This fact coupled with the extensive
folding and faulting that all the sedimentary rocks have received, makes age rela-
tions especially for the older units difficult to determine. Close to the highway

only the younger parts of the Paleozoic assemblage are visible.

The Idaho batholith is exposed west of the river valley and numerous igneous
bodies, mostly younger, lie east and northeast of the batholith. There is a complex
body of rocks of igneous appearance in the Pioneer Mountains near Hyndman Peak

the second highest mountain in Idaho according to present records. This compound
mass I of which part, at least, is much younger than the Idaho batholith, includes
gneisses which result from intense modification of sedimentary rocks. The complex
is partly surrounded by sedimentary rocks which as noted in the introductory summary

are reputed to be Precambrian. The intense metamorphism in these old sedimentary

rocks and probably much of the faulting are relatively recent. Study of these features

would require trips beyond the ends of roads that branch off the highway.

A different but equally interesting complex of irregular, mostly rather fine-

grained intrusive rocks is exposed north of the upper reaches of the Big Wood River
but few of these are exposed close to the highway and the principal exposures could
be reached only by time- and effort-consuming detours ending in climbs afoot.
·:-::. .1ir?:"'" \f ,"1 -
~ '7.-t·
~ \ ~~~' .
t'" "-
:wr ' .J
.. Union Pacific Railroad photo

Photo 4 . Sun Valley, Ketchum, and the Pioneer Mountains in winter . View from Bald Mountain ,
toward east.

Sun Valley News Bureau photo

Photo 5. Summertime at Sun Valley. View up valley of Trail Creek.


Mines and prospects worked principally for lead and silver are numerous
D d

on both sides of the valley of the Big Wood Rivero Some of these can be reached
by short side trips up tributary valleys. They have had a long and eventful hist-
orybut here D as in most of south-central Idaho I mining is quiet and many properties
are shut down at the present time Although the boom days were in the last part of

the nineteenth century, deeper exploration and innovations in refining ore resulted
in several revivals after that. In comparatively recent years barite has been added
to the products of the area drained by the Big Wood River.

The first white men to explore the valleys were trappers. Alexander Ross
led an expedition there in 1824. Agriculture started soon after mining began in 1879,
but north of Hailey suitable land is limited. Lumbering was carried on locally dur-
ing the early mining days and recently has been revived.

Between Galena Summit and Stanley, many features differ markedly from
those along the Big Wood River. The mountains on both sides of the broad valley
of the upper Salmon River are carved mainly in the Idaho batholith, although rem-
nants of late Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and of the Challis Volcanics are visible in
some spots. The effects of glaciation are prominent everywhere. The elaborate carv-
ing of pinnacles in the Sawtooth Range results largely from glacial erosion and the
long rounded ridges that project into the river valley consist largely of detritus torn

from the mountains by glaciers some thousands of years ago. The record of the sev-
eral stages of glaciation that have affected central Idaho is better displayed than in
mos t parts of the region

Mining never attained the development here that it did farther south but

hidden in mountain valleys not far from the highway are several mining camps that
have yielded silver and other metals. Some of these have had revivals at intervals
but little mining has been accomplished recently. The mountains furnish summer
range for livestock and ranches occupy areas along the river though little is grown
except wild hay and other hardy forage crops. The exceptionally fine scenery and
opportunities for fishing are attracting increasing numbers of summer visitors. Hunt-
ing is also popular in season.

0.0-73.6 Post office at HAILEY (population I, 185) county seat of Blaine County.
Blaine County was created in 1895 from part of Alturas County. The
latter 9 which was established in 1864 I was one of the original seven
counties of Idaho. The earliest recorded mining claims in the present
Blaine County were filed in 1865 in the Gold Belt, about 12 miles south-
west of Hailey I but active mining development began in 1879 I after
Indian troubles ceased. Hailey started in 1881 ( is the center of the

Mineral Hill mining district, the most productive part of the Wood River
regiono The gross production between 1880 and 1902 exceeded $16,000,000 I

and there have been several revivals of production. The mines contained
lead and silver minerals in a sideritic gangue. Because mining was shallow I

there may be undiscovered ore shoots at depth. Complex post-mineral fault-

ing hindered exploration but the effects have been exaggerated. A number

of the known shoots pinched out downward rather than being faulted off
as some mining men have assumed Farming began near Hailey about

18800 The branch railroad from Shoshone, which reached Hailey in

1883 and Ketchum the following year I is still in operation, mainly for

O. 1-73.5 Road on southwest crosses the Big Wood River and leads up Croy Creek 0

Conglomerate of the Wood River Formation is well exposed on the west

side of the river here. The conglomerate of this formation was deposited
close to or along the seashore. Some may have formed in streambeds.

A number of the mines of the region are along tributaries of Croy Creek
wi thin a few mile s of Hailey and were reached by the Croy Creek road!
which continues into the Gold Belt and thence to Camas Prairie, although
now a little-used route to that farming area. The hotel at Hailey gets
its water from Hailey Hot Springs on Croy Creek.

2. 7-70.9 Road up Deer Creek leaves the highway to the west. Several mines in- I

cluding some worked for barite, are reactled by side roads that branch from
that up Deer Creek. Clarendon Hot Springs, a resort, is about 4 miles
from the highway junction. Upstream from Clarendon Hot Springs a small
mass of quartz diorite is exposed. The mountains visible from the high-
way consist mainly of folded and faulted beds of the Milligen and Wood
River formations roughly a quarter of a billion years oldo Patches of

Challis Volcanics remain The ridge that borders Deer Creek on the north

is the northern boundary of the Mineral Hill mining district0

3.9-69. 7 Barite Siding east of the highway.

5.7-67.9 Cross the BigWood River. The highway is traversing the irregularly
terraced bottom lands of the river wi th facetted mountain spurs on both
side s of the valley.

6.2-67.4 Road on the east passes the railroad siding of GIMLET and continues
up the East Fork of the Big Wood River, giving access to several of the
best known mines of the Wood River region, all in the southern part of
the Warm Springs mining district. They include the Triumph, North Star,
Independence Mascot, and others. The Triumph mine, in particular, had

its principal period of production after many of the other mines of the
region had shut down, and was active until recently. Delay in the develop-
ment of this property resulted from the complex character of the ore which

could not be handled by milling methods in use during the boom days. The
mine was reopened in 1927 after a long shutdown caused by the refractory
character of the ore. Much of the ore was so exceedingly fine grained
that it resembled cast iron on fresh fracture. The minerals included galena I

sphalerite! arsenopyrite, tetrahedrite, polybasite, pyrite, pyrrhotite and

boulangeri te in a siderite-quartz gangue. Treatment by selective flotation
-36 . . .

was required. Records of the production from 1927 through 1935 are
not at hand u but in the succeeding five years the net smelter returns
were $3,315 976.310 Operations continued until July 1957. The

total production has not been published but must have been large 0

Precambrian sedimentary rocks are exposed in the Pioneer Moun-

tains around the head of the road up the East Fork. These rocks are
metamorphosed and so much faulted that their relations to other rocks
of the region have not been established.

9. 2- 64.4 Cros s railroad near the mouth of Elkhorn Creek along which are the
Sunlight, Elkhorn, Parker, Quaker City, and other mines. The
rock east of the highway belongs to the Challis Volcanics.

9.8-63.8 Cross the Big Wood River. Mountain spurs are conspicuously facetted.

11.8-61.8, The post office at KETCHUM (population 746). During the early boom
days Ketchum, first called Leadville, was a smelter center for the
Warm Springs mining district. Settlement is reported to have started
with a tent pitched May 3, 1880. Next year after hundreds of people
had arrived, the name Ketchum was adopted after David Ketchum, a
trapper who had camped nearby for several years. A smelter was built
at Ketchum in 1881 and enlarged later. Parts of the old slag dumps
remain. The gross production of the Warm Springs district between
1880 and 1902 was a little more than $3,000 000, much less than that

of the adjOining Mineral Hill district during the same interval. Pub-
lished records since then are fragmentary, but it is probable that the
total production of the Warm Springs district exceeds $10,000 ,000.
Bluffs west of Ketchum provide good exposures of the Wood River
Formation which here has a rather larger than usual proportion of lime-
stone. The hills east of the town consist of Challis Volcanics, in-
cluding tuff and sedimentary rocks.

11.9-61.7 The Trail Creek road, which is covered by a separate log (p.45) turns
east off of U. S. 93. Sun Valley, a resort, is a mile up this road.
The Trail Creek road approximately follows the route of an old toll
road to Challis and now is a connecting link between U. S. 93 and 93A.

12.1-61.5 Road up Warm Springs Creek turns west. It and its branches lead far
into the Sawtooth Mountains and furnish links to Camas Prairie and
to Mountain Home and Boise. About 11 miles from the junction with
U. S. 93 the eastern border of the Idaho ba tholi th is eros sed. Most
of the mines tributary to this road are in the batholith or close to its
border. Few have been productive recently.

13.5-60. 1 Adams Gulch road on the west. The hills on both sides of the valley
of the Big Wood River consist of Challis Volcanics.

15.2-58.4 Road up Lake Creek on the east leads to the Homestake mine, a former
producer of lead and zinc ore. Near the head of the creek 8 beyond
the end of the road there are exposures of the contact between the

Milligen and Wood River formations" At this locality the contact is

gradational! indicating that no break in the deposition of sediments
took place 8 a point that is of interest in connection with the geo-
logical history of the region. It is possible that in other localities
some interruption in deposition took place in passing from the
Milligen Formation to the Wood River Formation.

17 • 2-56.4 Prominent terrace along the river.

19.3-5403 The North Fork store u gasoline station, trailer park and cabins0

20.1-53.5 North Fork of the Big Wood River comes in from the north. Challis
Volcanics continue on the west side of the Big Wood River but the
Wood River Formation composes the hills at the mouth of the North
Fork Beyond here the valley of the main river narrows A complex
0 0

as semblage of Tertiary intrusive rocks exposed beyond the head of

the North Fork and west of that stream I mostly not near roads.

20.4-53.2 The North Fork Forest Camp is on a terrace southwest of the highway.
The hills beyond it expose contorted beds of the Wood River Formation.
Another gravel terrace is to the north0

21.9-51.7 A road leaves the highway to the southwest crossing the river on a
bridge. Beyond this point highway cuts expose bedded gravel.
The flood plain of the Big Wood River is narrow.

22. 6- 51. 0 Goat Creek enters the river from the north. Thi s stream cuts the
Wood River Formation but the Challis Volcanics come down to river
level a short distance to the west and continue past Galena Summit.
Half a mile beyone Goat Creek the river flood plain widens.

24. 3~49. 3 Boulder Creek on the north. It is incised in the Challis Volcanics.

25.7-47.9 Pass the Cathedral Pine Baptist Assembly Camp. The Challis
Volcanics are exposed on both sides of the river valley, which is
narrow here.

26.0-4706 Pass the Easley Forest Camp and store.

26.4-47.2 Challis Volcanics exposed in highway cut.

26.7-46.9 The Easley Creek Forest Camp is to the south of the highway.

26.8-46.8 Baker Creek Forest Camp on the north of the highway.


27.2-46.4 The Russian John Campo

28.2-45.4 Andesite in the Challis Volcanics exposed in an old road cut

to the south 0

29.3-44.3 Russian John Forest Guard Station to the northeast is named for
a pioneer trapper Terrace s are prominent here.

29.5-44. 1 QUadrant Gulch enters the river from the southwest. The valley of
theBig Wood River is broad and terraced.

31.2 -42 .4 Narrow river valley in Challis Volcanics.

32. 7-40.9 Owl Creek enters the river from the west. Big Wood River is bordered
by terraces cut in the Challis Volcanics.

35.5-38.1 The Galena store is northwest of the highway. There was a settlement
here during the early mining days.

38.2-35.4 A roadcut exposes coarse gravel of probable glacial origin.

The mountain slopes through here are forested.

38.4-35.2 Base of ascent to Galena Summit. Deep highway cuts expose deformed
Challis Volcanics.

39. 7-33.9 A viewpoint is provided on the south side of the highway. The
sombre masses of Challis Volcanics stretch far to the south and a
view far down the valley of the Big Wood River is obtained. The
road over Galena Summit has been reconstructed several times and
sections of abandoned road are visible below the viewpoint. Years
ago travel over Galena Summit was something of an adventure in
automobiling but now it is easy.

41.1-32.5 Crumpled beds of consolidated ash in the Challis Volcanics are

exposed along the highway.

41.6-32.0 Galena Summit altitude 8 752 feet.


42.5-31.1 Viewpoint here permits a view of the rugged scenery of the Sawtooth
Range a subdivision of the much larger mass known as the Sawtooth

Mountains. The spires and sharp ridges of the Sawtooth Range result
from sculpture by closely spaced mountain glaciers that occupied
the valleys in the range some thousands of years ago. The bedrock
of the range belongs mostly to the eastern part of the Idaho batholith.
This rock has closely spaced joints which aided in the development
()f bizarre topographic forms during the glaciation. In many places
cirques at glacier heads so nearly coalesced with cirques in neighboring
Union Pacific Railroad photo

Photo 6. White Cloud Peaks in the rugged country southeast of Stanley Basin.

ice-filled valleys that exceedingly sharpJridges were left between the


Granitic rock of somewhat varied character is by far the principal com-

ponent of the Sawtooth Range I but younger dikes are common I as are
patches of metamorphosed old rocks whose original sedimentary character
is still recognizable. Patches of Challis Volcanics remain here and there.
Each of these rocks responds differently to attack by glaciers streams and

weathering adding to the complexity of the topography.


Nearly bare rock ridges and cliffs are plentif1,.ll throughout the range.
All except the steepest slopes support some forest cover but deep soil has
formed only in sheltered spots. Snowdrifts may persist in favored places
throughout the year and are plentiful in the spring months. Most of the
Sawtooth Primitive area is within the Sawtooth Range although some ex-

tends into the Sawtooth Mountains a large mountain mass of which the

Sawtooth Range is but a small part. The primitive area, which has no
roads and is set aside for recreation under conditions as nearly as possi-
ble Iik~ those that existed before the arrival of the white man, was es-
tablished in 1937 and comprises 200,942 acres. Along the lower slopes
of the Sawtooth Range, just outside of the primitive area, there are old
mining camps and, below these fishing resorts and summer homes

clustered at the shores of glaCial lakes.

Much of the broad valley of the upper reaches of the Salmon River is
visible from this same viewpoint. The glaciers from the mountains ex-
tended far enough to enter this valley, called Stanley Basin, and it is
now floored by their deposits and by those dumped from melt waters as
the glaciers retreated. The detritus of the valley floor has been terraced
as a result of fluctuations in the flow of the stream that occupied it in
glaCial times. The drainage pattern then may have differed enough from
that of the present day so that one would not be warranted in speaking of
this stream as the ancestral Salmon River. It may have found its way to
the ocean by a route far different from that now followed by the Salmon
River below Stanley. Stanley Basin is an exceptionally good place in
which to observe glacial features. Its moraines record two major episodes
of glacial advance each probably in two pulses. Earlier and later glacial

episodes also occurred but are less clearly recorded. The two major
episodes correspond in age to the Pinedale and Bull Lake episodes in

43.1 ... 30.5 Cross Camp Creek. North of here the Challis Volcanics are exposed
in highway cuts some of which also expose glacial fill.

46.2-27 .4 Road to the north leads toward Pole Creek. Glacial moraines are visible
in the valley of the Salmon River below.

47. 7-25.9 Road to Smiley Creek leaves the highway going southwest. The princi-
pal workings of old Vienna mining district are about 7.5 miles from
the turnoff but the upper part of the road is not safely passable for
passenger automobiles e The workings are caved and the buildings al-
most completely wrecked. The former town of Vienna, a mile and a half
northwest of the end of the road . is now obliterated. The district was
noted mainly for precious metals. Lodes were discovered in this area
in 1879 and nearly all now known, had been found by 1885 Some base e

metals were found but few attempts to s-ave these were made. The pro-
duction in the early days has been estimated at $1,000,000, obtained
mostly in the 1880 IS. The various later revivals may not have added
much to the production record.

The mines are in granitic rock, more silicic and possibly younger
than most of the Idaho batholith. The principal metallic minerals in-
clude ruby silver tetrahedrite and stibnite in a gangue of quartz with

some siderite.

48.6-25.0 A road turns to the east leading to Pole Creek. This road gives access
to mines and prospects in Washington and Germania basins some 13 to I

15 miles from the highway. The first 12 miles of this road, up to a meadow
on the upper reaches of Germania Creek . is narrow but readily traversed.
Beyond the marsh yrrneadow the mine roads have not been repaired recently.
The area has been known since about 1880 with considerable activity

at some properties up to 1910 and recurrent development since then. The

aggregate production may exceed $500,000. Most of the lodes were ex-
plored for lead-silver ore but some were mined primarily for their gold
contenL Some lodes are in granitic rock; others are in the Wood River
Formation. The lodes are distinctive because of their content of bismuth
and telluride minerals, both of which are rare in Idaho. The metallic
minerals include pyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite; galena,
stibnite, bismuthenite native bismuth joseite and possibly maldonite

and tetradymite named in approximate order of decreasing abundance.


Joseite is a bismuth telluride I tetradymite is a bismuth sulpho-telluride

and maldonite may be an alloy of gold and bismuth.

49. 1-24.5 Smiley Creek Lodge I a tourist supply point, is on the west side of the

50.1-23.5 The Beaver Creek store is on the west side of the highway.

5005-230 1 A road branches off the highway to the southwest. This road has various
minor connections but the main one goes up Beaver Creek to the Sawtooth
mining district The ruins of the former town of Sawtooth are 2 5 miles
e 0

from the highway and the burned Columbia ore-dressing mill is 0.7 miles

further. The principal mine workings now reachable by road are 3.5 miles
Idaho Dept. of Commerce and Development photo

Photo 7. Sawtooth Lake, 6.5 miles WSW of Stanley. A glacial moraine rises on the far side
of the lake in front of the jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range.

Photo B. Red Fish Lake, a lake of glacial origin, on the east flank of the Sawtooth Range .

beyond the Columbia mill, or 6. 7 miles from the highway. These work-
ings include those of the Silver King mine which had its own mill.

Originall y the road a scended for another mile to other mines.

The principal development was in the 1880's although there have

been several revivals of interest. The Silver King mine may have
yielded about $700 000 in the early days and several other properties

have also produced. The lodes are in the Idaho batholith. The prin-
cipal values were in ruby silver minerals. Stibnite was plentiful and
other sulphides were relatively sparse.

52.2-21.4 The road to Alturas Lake branches off the highw'ay to the west. There is
a recent moraine near the junction of this road with the highway. The
lower end of Alturas Lake is 2.5 miles from the highway jun-ction, and
0.8 mile west of Perkins Lake. The road swings around Alturas Lake
for 5.5 miles beyond the lower end of that lake. Camps', lodges, and
cabins scattered around Alturas Lake, and on the way to it, are used
by fishermen and vacationers. One of several large, rather recent
moraines west of Stanley Basin borders the lake on the southeast and
extends far out into the open valley of the Salmon River.

52.5-21. 1 In this part Of its valley the Salmon River meanders over a terrace-
bordered flood plain. Clearly the present stream is feeble compared
to the original one. The valley was in part excavated by glacial ero-
sion. Near the end of the glacial period ice did not fill the main valley
but glaciers from the neighboring mountains extended into it. Those
from the west were especially active. At this time water from melting
ice formed a powerful stream that eroded the main valley and deposited
heavy loads of detritus. Even after most of the glaciers had melted
away the river here was larger than it is now. Stream piracy and
weather changes may have combined to produce the existing conditions.

55.0-18.6 A road branches off the highway to the west leading to Petit Lake.
This road s pli ts near the lower end of Petit Lake, 1. 6 mile s from the
highway The fork south of the lake continues 1.4 miles into a summer

home area. That north of the lake goes half a mile beyond the fork to
reach fishing spots _ There is glacial detritus on both sides of the lake.

56.5-17 .1 Cross the Salmon River, which at this point is the boundary between
Custer and Blaine counties.

58.4-15.2 Road to the west leads to Hellroaring Creek and Decker Flat. Hell-
roaring Creek is incised in a moraine but Decker Flat is underlain
by old river gravel

58.5-15. 1 Cross Fourth of July Creek.' A road leads up the creek to the inactive
Highland Surprise mine about 10.5 miles away_ Immediately north of
this creek u a road turns east to the Sawtooth Valley Forest Service

Station 0.4 mile off the highway.

58.7-14.9 A store with tourist items is located west of the highway. Near here
a long terrace spur on the west reaches nearly to the highway.

60.0-13.6 Cross Fisher Creek. The Salmon River meanders over a flat flood
plain. A road goes up this creek and over a divide into the drain-
age basin of Warm Springs Creek. There are inactive mining prop-
erties along this road.

60.4-13.2 A long, flat terrace lies east of the highway. Its top slopes gently

61.9-11. 7 OBSIDIAN, a post office, gasoline station and ranch, is east of the
highway. Note that some maps show Obsidian about 3.5 miles
south of here where there is still a ranch. The location of the post
office has been changed, probably as a result of highway changes.

62.2 -11.4 Outcrops of conglomerate, obsidian, and other volcanic rocks, all
belonging to the Challis Volcanics, are visible east of the highway.

64.3-9.3 Terraces are prominent on both sides of the highway and the valley
is relatively somewhat constricted downstream from here.

67.2-6.4 The river valley is narrow and large boulders are scattered over the
surfaces of the moraines. The loose boulders may record some glacia-
tion after the main moraine was formed. The latter is bedded and may
be partly outwash.

68.1-5.5 Cross the Salmon River. A long stretch of stratified drift and bedded
moraine borders the highway on the west. The lower half of the drift
is silty sand, in part crossbedded, with gravel lenses. The upper
half of the moraine consists of boulders up to 2 feet in diameter, most
of which are derived from granitic rock although some are derived from
the Wood River Formation, and a few from the Challis Volcanics. Thus,
the boulders may have been transported from the upper end of the valley.
In this vicinity the valley is narrow and has a V-shaped cross section,
indicating it was carved by stream erosion rather than glacial action.

68,9-4. 7 The road to Redfish Lake branches off the highway to the southwest.
This road passes Little Redfish Lake and reaches the lower end of Red-
fish Lake two miles from the highway. Redfish Lake Lodge is 2.4 miles
from the highway, and the road continues half a mile beyond it. There
are camping sites for fishermen and other vacationers along the lake
shore. The ridges on both sides of Redfish Lake are moraines formed
rather late in the sequence of glaciation in the region.

~ MAP NO.3
(See figure 2 for explanation of symbols) .
SCA LE 1: 250000

4 2 0 4 8 12 MILES
Ernie Da y photo

Photo 9. Stanley Lake and McGowan Peak in the Sawtooth Range .

Union Pacific Railroad photo

Photo 10 . Salmon River at Stanley . View southwest, toward Sawtooth Range .


69.2-4.4 Boundary of Sawtooth National Forest.

71.8-1.8 A long terrace borders the highway on the south. The lower part of the
terrace is thoroughly rotted granitic rock, still in place, with an upper
surface that slopes gently upstream. Theweq.ther~d rock is covered by
bedded boulder gravel. The forest-covered hills above are old moraines.

73. 1-0.5 Turn northwest to go to Stanley. Through travelers go straight ahead;

travelers to Cascade, and intermediate points turn here.

73.3-0.3 Highway forks. The Stanley airfield is on a terrace to the southwest.

Road to Cascade continues straignt ahead.

73.5-0.l Leave highway from Cascade, turn southwest.

73.6-0.0 Post office at Stanley. (Population 35.)

p 44 blank


The road or highway that links U. S. Highway 93 at Ketchum with U. So

Highway 93A in the Thousand Springs Valley follows approximately the route of
the toll road that extended east from Ketchum during the early days of mining 0

This road was built about 1884 and originally had steep grades and sharp curves
in its ascent over the Pioneer Mountains I but it has been realigned and improved
several times. It now offers no problem to experienced mountain drivers except
in the winter There are numerous camping spots along it but no places for the

purchase of supplies.

Because the road crosses mountains and follows the valley of the upper part
of Big Lost River I it affords better opportunities for seeing rocks than most of the
other highways. In the Pioneer Mountains, the principal rocks along the right-of-way
are the argillaceous beds of the Phi Kappa Formation deposited as mud in seas or
estuaries some 400 million years ago. These beds contain graptolite fossils in
some abundance although present roadcuts do not reveal many. As the road descends
the northeastern slope of the mountains it crosses small masses of granitic rock.

A varied assemblage of such rocks underlies large areas in nearby parts of the range
and these have greatly metamorphosed the sedimentary rocks they cuL Some of the
latter may be more than 100 million years older than the rocks near the road and are

so intensely metamorphosed locally that sedimentary characteristics are largely ob-

li terated. The foothills on both sides of the range contain sedimentary rocks of late
Paleozoic age less than 200 million years old. These are at some distance from the

principal granitic bodies and are not intensely metamorphosed. They were laid down
close to the shore of an ancient sea in part on beaches and in inlets. Some may

ha ve been deposited on dry land beyond the shore. Remnants of the blanket of
Challis Volcanics that once covered nearly all of this part of central Idaho are pres-
ent but are not well displayed close to the road.

0.0-41.2 Post office at KETCHUM .(population 746). '

0.1-41.1 Highway turns east in the center of Ketchum.

1.6-39.6 A road branches to the south of SUN VALLEY (population 317) with its
lodge and other facilities.

2 . 0- 39. 2 The Sun Valley Garage is on the north side of the highwa y A'short dis-

tance east, the low hills are Challis Volcanics and the higher hills to
the east are composed of Carboniferous rocks.

2.3-38.9 The old Evelyn prospect in 9raphitic coal of the Milligen Formation lies
north of the highway. This was explored some 30 years ago by short
tunnels which exposed at least two beds of graphitic coal, one of which
is fully 10 feet thick and stands vertical. The original carbonaceous matter

has been so metamorphosed that much of it is now graphite~ The

graphi te coal can be burned under forced draft but in its pre sent
form is not suitable as a fuel nor for any other known use Similar

beds occur in the Parker mine southeast of Ketchum and it seems

that, if extensive metamorphism had not occurred, the Milligen
Formation throughout the Wood River region would have been a valu-
able source of fuel. The coal is of scientific interest because it
is older than most known coal deposits of similar dimensions.

3.1-38.1 A road branches to the east to the Trail Creek Cabinu one of the
facilities of Sun Valley. Beyond the fork to this cabin, the pave-
ment ends and the rest of the Trail Creek road is gravel-surfaced

Mineral deposits in tne mountains on both sides of the road

have been explored but very few have had any significant production.
The substances sought include copper, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten,
and fluorite. Most lodes are genetically associated with metamor-
phosed rocks.

4.1-37.1 Gravel terrace on the northwest. Most of the alluvium in the valley
of Trail Creek, where the highway lies, is fairly old. Much of it is
outwash brought down by streams that issued from glaCiers that
formerly occupied basins high in the mountains.

4.8-36.4 Cross Trail Creek. Ahead, the mountains on both sides of the valley
of Trail Creek have facetted ends. Facets that look like these are
often deduced to have resulted from geologically recent faulting.
Here, as in many places in central Idaho such a deduction would be

incorrect. The facets result from rapid downcutting by a rejuvenated

stream rather than from faulting.

5.2-36.0 Cross Corral Creek. Well-formed terraces lie at the base of one of
the facets mentioned above.

5.4-35.8 Antelope Creek comes in from the northwest. The highway here is on
the top of a terrace.

8.0 ... 33.2 The road I s till on the terrace I cros ses Wilson Creek. The Carbonif-
erous rocks on both sides of Trail Creek are broken by faults but

these are not visible from the highway.

8.4-32.8 Base of the Pioneer Mountains. The work of beavers is evident on

the flood plain of Trail Creek west of the highway.

10.7-30.5 Roadcuts expose sheared argillite of the Phi Kappa Formation (Ordo-
vician). This stretch of highway crosses a complex fault zone in
which Carboniferous strata are thrust over the Phi Kappa Formation.
Faults that have resulted in shoving younger rocks over older ones,

the reverse of the usual situation, are common in the Wood River region.
The ,arrangement results from folding before the thrusting took place 0

Other faults in which one side has dropped with respect to the other are
included in the complex.

11.4-29.8 A hanging valley is visible high above Trail Creek on the northwesto
This valley results from a' small mountain glacier but the valley of
Trail Creek itself is narrow and here does not show conspicuous evi-
dence of glaciation. The upper part of the drainage basin of Trail Creek
does show the typicalU-shaped'valleys and other evidences of mountain
glaciation. The Carboniferou.s rocks at the hanging valley are broken by
minor thrust faults too small to be shown on the map.

12. 3-28.9 Good exposures of the graptolite-bearing Phi Kappa Formation near the
highway. This formation' contains fossils but most of those in roadcuts
have already been collected. This upper portion of the Trail Creek val-
ley is plainly U-shaped in cross section, a result of mountain glaciation.
Timber growth increases near here.

12.6-28.6 Boundary of Challis National Forest at Train Creek Summit (elevation

7 ,894 feet). A short distance to the northeast, glacier-transported
boulders of granitic rock are scattered on mountain slopes underlain
by the Phi Kappa Formation. Apparently these have been carried far
from their bedrock sources, unless by some reversal in direction of
movement of streams or glaciers they were carried from the granitic
stock exposed along the lower reaches of Basin Creek, some 3 miles

13.1-28.1 Tertiary dike rock is exposed in roadcuts.

13.4-27.8 Park Creek Forest Camp is to the northwest of the road.

13. 6- 27 . 6 Gross Park Creek. The flood plain of Summit Creek is wide here.

14.5-26.7 Cross Little Falls Creek. Quartz monzonite is exposed on both sides
of Summit Creek. This rock forms a small stock which cuts the Phi
Kappa Formation. The intrusive contact with the enclosing sedimentary
rocks is irregular and transgressive. The granitic rocks came to place
by intrusion rather than by replacement or metamorphism lin contrast
to some others in the same mountain range. A road up Little Falls
Creek on the we st O. 3 mile downstream leads to various prospects

along the upper reaches of Little Falls Creek. Much of it is open to

travel only during brief episodes of development of the prospects.

15.1-26.1 Big Falls Creek road branches to the northwest from the highway.
This road like that just mentioned, is steep and is maintained only

when mining is in progress. The creek is crossed half a mile


farther downstream. The flood plain of Summit Creek continues to broaden.

16.1-25.1 Phi Kappa Creek comes in from the southeast. Lodes are known on both
sides of the creek in contact-metamorphosed rocks of the Phi Kappa
Formation, which is cut by gabbroic dikes and by a small body of monzon-
itic rock. Lead, copper, tungsten and other metals have been sought
and workings are more extensive than on Big and Little Falls creeks!
although the production record is meager.

16.5-24.7 The road up Phi Kappa Creek branches to the south of the highway.
Nearby are the remains of an ore-dressing mill built in 1896 and
operated for about a month.

17. 3-23.9 The detritus along Summit Creek is hummocky and in part of glacial
origin. The modern stream has cut into it.

19.5-21. 7 Kane Creek comes into Summit Creek from the south. Downstream from
this point, the main stream is known as the Big Lost River. The high
country around the Devils Bedstead is visible up the valley of Kane Creek.
The Devils Bedstead is one of a group of high, intensely glaciated peaks,
rendered picturesque by their abundant cliffs, pinnacles and sharp ridges.

Hyndman Peak, about 4 miles southeast of the Devils Bedstead, has an

elevation of 12,078 feet, the second highest measured peak in Idaho.
Remnants of hummocky glacial deposits are visible along the river.
This area is underlain by Carboniferous rocks which have been exposed
by erosion of the overlying Challis Volcanics.

19.9 .... 21.3 North Fork Forest Camp on the northwest.

20.3"'20.9 Cross the North Fork of the Big Lost River. Terraces are conspicuous.

23.1-18.1 Deep Creek enters from the northwest. A prominent road branches
southeast up the East Fork of the Big Lost River. This road in turn
branches 2.3 miles from here at the point where Wildhorse Creek joins
the East Fork of the Big Lost River. The branch that goes south up
Wildhorse Creek reaches the Wildhorse Ranger Station in less than a
mile from the junction and continues several miles to the Wildhorse
tungsten mine. This mine was discovered in August 1953, and an
ore-dressing mill started operation in September 1954. The following
year 3,800 tons of tungsten ore with a gross value of $212 ,000 were
milled. A few years later operations were sharply curtaileds The
deposi ts are principally scheeli te in contact-metamorphosed sedi-
mentary rocks of probable Precambrian age which are cut by alaskite

dikes. The contact metamorphism is related to nearby granitic masses

thought to be of early Tertiary age. The road to the Wildhorse mine is
rough and, beyond the ranger station, is not well maintained. For

those with a suitable vehicle the trip would be rewarded by


spectacular scenery and interesting metamorphic rocks which are

locally displayed in extensive bare outcrops0

East of the mouth of Wildhorse Creek the road up the East Fork
of the Big Lost River goes to Copper Basin where glacial deposits are
plentiful. The ranger station of that name is 20.5 miles from the
mouth of Wildhorse Creek. Copper Basin is at present mainly valuable
to the livestock industry. During the summer cattle graze in the basin
itself and sheep are driven into the surrounding mountains On and

near the borders of the basin I there are old mines and prospects on
which in 1960 very little work was being done. Plans are being made
for a revival of lumbering in the mountains bordering the basin ~
Copper Basin and streams that lead into it are favorite fishing spots
in season. Lakes at the heads of the mountain streams are stocked
with trout but these waters have to be reached on foot or horseback.
Most of the streams have active beaver colonies some of them close

to roads.

In addition to the road up the East Fork of the Big Lost River

there are two other roads into Copper Basin. One of these goes south
over Antelope Pass to Antelope Creek and thence to U. S. 93A at
DARLINGTON about 55 miles away. The other wanders east over hills

composed of Challis Volcanics to U. S. 93A at a point 9 miles north

of MACKAY. The other road is 22.5 miles long from the Copper Basin
Ranger Station to the j unction with U. S. 93A.

Copper Basin is underlain mainly by glacial deposits put down

during at least two episodes. It is one of the best areas in central
Idaho to observe the effects of glaciation. All the larger streams
that enter the basin have cirques at their heads and many have moraines
along valley sides and at canyon mouths. In the high country west of
the basin, glacial sculpture is impressive. Peaks and ridges are in-
tricately carved and have wide areas of bare rock that contrast with the
forested slopes below.

23.2-18.0 Boundary of the Challis National Forest, at a point close to the road-
fork to Wildhorse Creek and Copper Basin. The rocks at the mouth of
the East Fork of the Big Lost River belong to the Challis Volcanics
but on the northeast side of that stream a short distance above Us
mouth, cliffs afford excellent exposures of contorted Carboniferous
sedimentary rocks.

24.1-17.1 The Twin Bridges Airfield is northwest of the road. The broad alluvial
flat is in part built by detritus brought down by water from melting
glaCiers, which once extended to about 2 miles from the site of the air-

25.7-15.5 Cross Lake Creek. The floor of the valley of the Big Lost River
is terraced.

27.9-13.3 Cross Garden CreekG Harry Canyon enters the river from the south-
east.. The river valley has narrowed somewhato The hills on both
sides are composed of Carboniferous sedimentary rocks u in part con-

28.4-12.8 Cros s Burnt Creek. Conglomerate in the Carboniferous rocks is well

exposed northwe st of the highway.

30.2-11.0 Cross Pinto Creek. The hills on both sides but especially to the

south, have had their ends facetted by the river. They are com-
posed of Carboniferous sedimentary rocks.

30.6-10.6 The river valley widens. Hills of White Knob Limestone are visible
to the northeast.

33.7-7.5 Hill of White Knob Limestone northwest of the road, with a cultivated
field at its base. The road is well within the broad, rolling
Thousand Springs Valley.

36.4-4.8 The highway passes between two hills composed of White Knob Lime-
stone. There are terraces east and west of here, crossed by the road.
West of these two hills a road branches off north. This road continues
northwest across hilly country to the East Fork of the Salmon River
and the Livingston mine.

39.0-2.2 Cross the old highway between Mackay and Challis, which now serves
only for access to ranches in the valley. It was abandoned as a
through route because frost heave and percolation of water from
Thousand Springs made it difficult to maintain .

41.2-0.0 Junction with U. S. 93A, near the Elkhorn Ranch u 16 miles from Mackay
and 37 miles from Challis.

< MAP NO.4

(See figure 2 for explanation of symbols)

SCALE 1: 250000

4 2 0 4 8 12 MILES


The stretch of U. S. Highway 93 between Stanley and Challis follows the
canyon of the Salmon River. This rocky and rather steep-sided valley \",as a major
obstacle to pioneer road builders. After its difficulties were mastered it became
a direct route from mines in the Yankee Fork and Bayhorse districts to the supply
centers of Challis and Mackay; but the first roads to the mines were built through
the hills and, where possible, avoided the canyon of the Salmon. As recently as
1925 the road along the river was narrow, locally rough, and full of curves to avoid
the excessive rock work that would otherwise have been required. All this is a thing
of the past. The highway has been widened, straightened, and paved so that travel
along it is easy and rapid. The scenery along the valley and the fishing in the river
are now readily accessible and accommodations for travelers are being established
in response to the increased use of the highway.

Much of this stretch of highway traverses the eastern part of the Idaho batho-
lith and the numerous rock cuts along it afford opportunities to see the character of
and variations in the batholith. The batholithic rock is dominantly of intermediate
composition (granodiorite to quartz monzonite), uniform in general but variable in
detail. Some of it contains large pink potassium-feldspar phenocrysts that give the
rock a striking appearance. These roughly rectangular crystals probably formed
late in the history of the rock. They may be among the effects of fluids that circulated
through the rock after it consolidated but while it remained hot.

Dikes of various kinds cut the main body of the batholith in the vicinity but
the highway here presents few opportunities to see them.

East of the batholith the highway passes through Paleozoic sedimentary rocks
of Ordovician and Carboniferous age. These rocks range from soft, fissile argillite
to resistant quartzite and the exposures borQering the highway furnish an opportunity
to see how even the more resistant of these rocks can be intricately crump led when
conditions are right. The Challis Volcanics once covered the entire area and filled
old topographic depres sions, a fact which can be seen from vantage points along the
highway and along some of the roads that branch from it, but which would be easily
overlooked by one who merely drove rapidly along the highway. Large areas are
still covered by the volcanics. Clastic rocks within the formation contain tree trunks
and leaves that testify to a climate 40 million or more years ago more humid than that
of the present date.

Before Challis volcanism took place the region was subjected to such a long
period of erosion that the topography was worn down greatly. Earth movements I

perhaps accompanied by changes in climate, preceded the eruptions and erosion

carved the rough topography over which the volcanic rocks were spread. During and
after the volcanism, erosion and weathering continued with various interruptions re-
lated to earth movements. The stretch of the valley of the Salmon River from Stanley

to Challis, was incorporated into that valley fairly late in the development of the
regional drainage pattern. Although glaciers aided greatly in carving the present
topography, their effects can scarcely be realized from the highway Side roads

lead close to vantage points from which glacial features are visible but it is still
necessary to hike or ride beyond the roads in order to appreciate these features.

The area served by the highway has long been famous for its mines and
mineral deposits of several kinds In spite of all the prospecting that has been

carried on for some eighty years D new deposits and new metals are still being
discovered. Most of the mineral deposits--in sheer zones and replacement
bodies in Paleozoic rocks--contain a fairly simple assemblage of metalljc miner-
als in a gangue of quartz and commonly siderite. They have been mined. mainly

for lead and silver. Exceptionally some are valued mainly for their silver content.

Certain of these have tetrahedrite boulangerite and other antimony minerals. Zinc,

molybdenum and tungsten are present in significant proportions locallyo Near some
of the mining areas fluorspar was explored during and after World War II (Anderson,
1954), and some shipments have been made. Some of the lodes north of the highway
are in the Challis Volcanics (Ross, 1927; Anderson, 1949). As is common in deposits
in such rocks, these are primarily mined for precious metals u although other metals
are present. The metallic minerals include selenides pyrite galena! chalcopyrite

enargite, and others in a gangue that is mainly fine-grained quartz. Recently uran-
ium deposits have been found in and under basal parts of the formation (Kern, 1959).

0.0-58.6 Post office at STANLEY (population 35). Stanley is located on a terrace.

It is a supply point for stockmen, miners and vacationers. This settle-

ment is the original Stanley but it is locally termed Upper Stanley to dis-
tinguish it from another settlement which is about a mile and a half down
the Salmon River and was first established as a result of disagreements
among the residents of the vicinity and is now commonly referred to as
Lower Stanley.

0.3-58.3 Y-junction leading to U. S. 93 on the outskirts of Stanley. Road to the

west leads to Cascade and various points in the Salmon River Mountains.

0.6-58.0 Junction with U. S. 93 going east. At this junction through travelers

continue on U. S. 93 without having to go into Stanley half a mile away.

0.8-57.8 Cross Valley Creek. This stream is about half as large as the Salmon
River here, but nevertheless drains an impressively large and flat-
floored valley rather similar to that of the Salmon River south of Stanley.
Possibly these two valleys were once one, occupied by a single stream
that may have flowed northward into the region now drained by tributaries
of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River or that may have found some other
route to reach the ocean. The divide at the head of Valley Creek so gentle

as to be almost imperceptible, may have formed when the main Salmon

River east of Stanley extended itself head~Nard so as to capture the drainage
of the broad valleys north and south of the town. It seems certain that


(See figure 2 for explanation of symbols)

SCALE 1 : 2 50 000
= - - - = - - - !f



drainage changes have taken place in postglacial times but further

studies are needed before one can be sure how nearly correct these
suggestions are.

1.1-57.5 Pass Valley Creek (Stanley) Ranger Station on the west.

1.3-57.3 Terrace cut in granitic rock borders the highway The cut here may

have formed during headwardextension of the Salmon River into the

valleys near Stanley.

1. 7-56.9 Enter Lower STANLEY. Here the Salmon River flows in a narrow, steep
valley cutin the rock s of the Idaho ba tholi th.

3.8-54.8 Terrace gravel is visible high above the river.

5.4-53.2 Cross Copper Creek. The road up it leads to a fluorite deposit.

5,8-52.8 Big Casino Creek enters the river from the south. Known fluorspar
deposi ts along the two Casino Creeks were explored during World
War II. A bridge across the river at the mouth of Big Casino Creek
gives access to the deposits.

6.5-52.1 Pass Riverside Campground. The valley of the Salmon River continues
to be narrow but patches of modern flood plains are present at intervals.
Most of these are utilized as campsites by fishermen but few facilities
are provided.

8.3-50.3 Dike of coarse granophyre exposed along the highway. This dike is
one of many that cut the batholith here and farther north. They were
introduced some 50 million years ago.

8.9-49.7 Campground at the mouth of Basin Creek north of the highway.

Road up Basin Creek, beyond the campground, leads to recently
developed uranium prospects.

9.2-49.4 Plentiful aplitic dikes. These are related to the Idaho batholith
and are therefore about laO million years old.

10.0-48.6 Rough Creek enters the river from the south. Nearby an old bridge

crosses the river. Some years ago placer mining was conducted along
this part of the valley of the Salmon River.

10.6-48.0 Cross Lower Harden Creek. In the area north of the Salmon River
between Lower Harden Creek and Basin Creek, recent prospecting by
several mining companies has revealed depOSits containing uranium.
A maze of roads leads from the highway to these prospects. Most
of the prospects are in sedimentary rocks that here constitute the

basal unit of the Challis Volcanics. These rocks are composed

largely of detritus eroded from the granitic rocks of the batholith
but include tuffaceous material and some lignitic layers Cobbles

and boulders in the sedimentary rocks are mainly composed of

granitic rocks u similar to those on which they rest, but a few are
derived from old sedimentary rocks I probably remnants of the
Wood River Formation, patches of which are exposed not far aV\rayo
The metallic minerals include uraninite (and its alteration products) 8

marcasite and bornite These minerals are disseminated in small u


ill-defined masses in the sedimentary rocks. They are in part be-

neath impervious sedimentary layers The carbonaceous material

in the rocks may have aided in precipitating the uranium.

Sunbeam Hot Springs. The stone bathhouse to the south of the high-
way was a welcome convenience for early travelers and residents u
but for some years has been little used. An analysiS made in 1925
showed that the water contained only 320 parts per million of total
solids, less than many water supplies used for drinking. By that
date the springs were no longer used.

1289-45 87 The remains of the Sunbeam Dam that formerly stretched across the
Salmon River are visible to the south of the highway, The dam was
constructed to supply water and power for the Sunbeam mine in the
Yankee Fork district north of here but there has been little activity
at that mine for years. Little use was ever made of the water im-
pounded by the dam.

13 6-45.0
0 Sunbeam store and campground. The Yankee Fork of the Salmon River
joins the main river just east of the store. A road leads north up the
Yankee Fork to the well known mining district of the same name A 0

road that branches from it gives access to the Loon Creek mining dis-
trict a copper and gold camp now inactive. The Loon Creek area is

somewhat less than 30 miles from Sunbeam. This road is one of

those that furnish access to ~ishing and hunting areas in the drain-
age basin of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River part of which is in

the Idaho Primitive Area. A toll road, much used in the early days,
linked the Yankee Fork district with Challis, over the mountains 0

A road that approximates the route of the toll road was made passable
some years ago and constitutes an alternative route to Challis for
those who have the time and inclination to take it. The distance
from Sunbeam to Challis by this road is 43. 3 miles somewhat

shorter than the distance along the highway, but the time required
for the trip would be grea ter .

The prinCipal towns in the Yankee Fork district were BONANZA,

8 miles north from Sunbeam store I and CUSTER, 2 miles beyond
Bonanza. Both are now almost uninhabited. There is a Forest Ranger
Station at Bonanza.

The Yankee Fork mining district is mainly in the Challis Volcanics

and contains both lode and placer mines. The deposits were valued
primarily for their silver content. Gold was also recovered but
much of the are contained 85 ounces of silver to one of gold. Lead
and copper are present but were so difficult to recover under the
conditions of boom-day operations that the amounts shipped were
small. Possibly enough of these metals remains in the district to
be of commercial interest under suitable market circumstances 0

Placer mining began about 1870 but at that time its principal value
lay in the fact that it led to the discovery of rich lodes. The total
production was probably over $12,000 ,000 largely obtained prior

to 1900. More than 70 properties have been operated but most of

the are came from the General Custer and Charles Dickens mines.
The Lucky Boy mine was another notable producer. Ore sent to the
railhead at Mackay by pack train in the early days was valued at
$500.00 to $3,000.00 a ton but doubtless was carefully hand sorted.
The smelters at Clayton and Bayhorse I both started in 1880, fur-
nished a nearby market for some of the are. The General Custer mill
treated much of the are of the district until it shut down 1n 1905. This
old mill has now been thoroughly dismantled in recovering amalgam
from odd corners and from cracks between timbers.

Placer mining was resumed about 1926 and was carried on actively
from 1930 to about 1945, with the aid of dredges and similar equip-
ment. A dredge is still in place near Bonanza but has not been operated
or maintained for a long time. The dredge tailings line the lower reaches
of Yankee Fork.

Upstream from the dredge is still a favorite fishing locality.

The Silver Creek summer homes area is about 4 miles up the Yankee
Fork from the Sunbeam store.

15.6-43.0 A bridge across the Salmon River is to the south of the present high-
way. Until a few years ago the highway passed over this bridge and
followed the opposite side of the river for about 905 miles. Placing
the present highway along the north side of the river necessitated
much rock work but eliminated the grades and curves of the old route I
which still is in use although relatively unimproved. The old route
furnishes access to the resort and hot springs at Robinson Bar a mile

and a half from the bridge to forest camps between the resort and the

river, and to prospects south of the river. The water from the springs,
with 296 parts per million of total solids, is satisfactory for drink-
ing and other uses.

The high gravel terrace for which the resort of Robinson Bar
named was placer -mined in the early days and since then there
have been revivals of mining on it and on similar terraces downstream.

The terraces are in the bights of entrenched meanders of the river.

These meanders are thought to have formed at a time when the river
was flowing more leisurely than at present. Uplift--perhaps coinci-
dent with a climatic change--rejuvenated the river increased its

gradient, and caused it to cut its present inner gorge.

17.7-40.9 The terrace at Robinson Bar, with its old placer diggings 0 is visible
across the river.. Warm Spring Creek enters the river from the south.

18.2-40.4 Terrace gravel is well exposed on the south side of the river.

18.7-39.9 Dumps of placer workings are visible on the south side of the river ..

19.1-39.5 Terraces with noticeably large cobbles are visible e

21.0-37.6 The gravel terraces along the river have been placer mined from
near here upstream.

21.5-37.1 A gasoline station, cafe, and rental cabins south of the highway .

22.1-36.5 The highway crosses the eastern border of the Idaho batholith and
enters somewhat deformed and metamorphosed sedimentary rocks
of the Milligen Formation. At the contact the granitic rock is
somewhat fine-grained and tongues of it cut the sedimentary rocks .
The changes in the character of the sedimentary rocks are much less
marked here than they are farther south where development in these
rocks of nearly white metamorphic silicates has so changed them
that the name White Cloud Peaks given to mountains so composed
bespeaks their appearance. The contact between the batholith and
the rocks it invades in this area, is free from the complex gneissic
border zone so conspicuous in other areas mostly where the in-

vaded rocks belong to the Belt Series 0

22.7-35.9 Metamorphic rocks exposed near mouth of Beaver Creek which enters
the river from the south.

23.4-35.2 Gra vel to the north.

24.0-34.6 Slate Creek enters the river from the south. Roads accessible from
the old highway south of the river lead up this creek and its
branches and reach several mining properties.

24.9-33.7 A rock-cut terrace capped with gravel on the north contains steep
beds of Milligen Formation. Similar terraces are nearby.

26. 7 - 31. 9 Thompson Creek on the north. Road up the creek leads to several
mining properties including some. reported to contain tungsten.

26.9-31. 7 Challis National Forest boundary.

28.6-30.0 .Clayton Ranger Station with a campground nearby on the north.


Between the mouth of Slate Creek and here, alluvium is plentiful

in the river flood plain and on high-level terraces. The bedrock
near the highway belongs to the Milligen Formation. The originally
clayey beds of this unit are not resistant to mountain building
pressures, andare intricately crumpled, as can be seen in highway
cuts along here. The Challis Volcanics especially the tuffaceous

beds in it, are· abundant south of the highway but visible only
here and there.

28.2-30.4 Saturday Mountain to the north of the river. This is the type locality
of the Saturday Mountain Formation but its lower slopes close to the
river are composed of beds of the Milligen Formation.

30.8-27.8 Bridge crosses the river to the north leading to a road up Squaw Creek
where a number of mines are situated. The principal one is the Red
Bird mine once operated by the Ford Motor Company. The production

in lead and silver is not accurately known but may aggregate a million
dollars. This mine is in the Saturday Mountain Formation which crosses
the river between Squaw Creek ~nd the Clayton Ranger Station. The lode
approximately follows contorted bedding in argillaceous and carbonaceous
dolomite, locally brecciated. Most of the ore that has been mined was
thoroughly oxidized, but near creek level the proportion of unoxidized
galena increases.

The Saturday Mountain Formation is roughly 400 million years

old. The shaly parts of it particularly abundant here contain

graptolites. Those interested will find these fossils plentifully pre-

served in an outcrop on the west side of Squaw Creek close to the
road up Bruno Creek and about 4 mile s from the highway.

31.2-27.4 A road leads east to Sullivan Hot Springs and Sullivan Creek. Cross
the Salmon River. Dolomite beds of the Saturday Mountain Formation
are well exposed nearby.

31.4-27.2 Cross Sullivan Creek. East of here terrace gravel is plentiful.

33. 7-24.9 The river is in a steep-sided gorge cut in the resistant Kinnikinic
. Quartzite which here has some lenses of dolomitic limestone with
poor fossils. Although the formation is older than, and underlies
the Saturday Mountain Formation, in this vicinity the relations are

obscured by the large amount of deformation the rocks have suffered.

33.9-24.7 At the west border of Clayton a road branches off the highway to the
north and leads up Kinnikinic Creek, the stream for which the Kinni-
kinic Quartzite was named. The Clayton silver mine which has been

one of the most active mines in the Bayhorse mining district since the
1930's, is on Kinnikinic Creek a couple of miles from the highway.

34.1-24.5 Post office CLAYTON (population about 350). Clayton was an important
center of early mining activity because of a smelter which operated,
with some interruptions, from 1880 to 1902 with a brief reopening in
1912. The highway now follows the north side of the Salmon River e

The Ramshorn Slate here underlies the Kinnikinic Quartzite and shares
in the deformation that all the early Paleozoic rocks in the vicinity
have been subjected to. Poverty Flat, which tops the mountain north
of the highway at nearly 4,000 feet above the river, is dotted with
old prospect holes. This flat is one of the best known remnants of
old erosion surfaces in the region.

35. 3-23. 3 The bridge across the river, to the south of the present highway, con-
nects with the segment of former highway on the south side of the river.
The present highway affords exposures of irregular intrusive bodies of
metamorphosed gabbro in the Ramshorn Slate.

37.1-21.5 Spud Creek enters the river from the south. Mines and prospects in
early Paleozoic rocks are reached from the old highway on the south
side of the river. Various components of the Challis Volcanics are
exposed near Spud Creek.

38.2-20.4 Cross the Salmon River. The old highway on the south side of the
river branches off the present highway.

38.3-20.3 Cross the East Fork of the Salmon River. A road extends about 25 miles
up the East Fork, with various branches. The bottom lands along the
lower reaches of the East Fork are cultivated, mostly for forage crops.
Lower Paleozoic rocks are exposed near the mouth of the East Fork.
Most of the area drained by the East Fork is underlain by components
of the Challis Volcanics, including tuffaceous beds; several varieties
of rhyolitic rocks; basalt flows; and along the upper reaches rocks of

latitic and andesitic composition, mostly low in the Challis Volcanics.

Various mining properties are situated in the drainage basin of the

East Fork. The best known of these is the Livingston mine on Boulder
Creek. The Livingston camp and mill are 23 miles by road from the
mouth of the East Fork and the mine is 4 miles farther w'est Since the

main ore body was discovered in 1925, the mine has had several short

periods of development. The gross value of the ore produced exceeds


The Livingston mine is in the Milligen Formation cut by dikes that

are at least in part very fine-grained. The argillaceous rock is crumpled
and lime silicates have developed in it as a result of emanations from
the nearby Idaho ba tholi th. The principal ore body in much of which the

dominant metallic mineral was jamesonite, roughly parallels the bedding.

The ore body was surrounded by a sheath containing abundant sphalerite.
This ore body was largely mined out some years ago. In other parts of
the mine, galena, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, and pyrrhotite are
mingled with subordinate jamesonite. The Livingston and nearby mines
have resemblances to the Triumph mine near Ketchum. Like that mine,
they present problems in ore dres sing.

The metamorphosed sedimentary rocks west and southwest of the

Livingston, near the Idaho batholith, contain molybdenum deposits that
have been prospected at various times but none has evolved into a large
mine. The mo~ntains o! the area have been widely glaciated, in part in
older stages than are common in central Idaho.

The principal branches of the road along the East Fork of the Salmon
River are the Spar Canyon road and the Walker Way. The Spar Canyon
road starts to the northeast 6 miles from the junction with U. S. 93 along
the Salmon River. An unimproved cutoff road to Mackay it is about 14

miles long and reaches U. S. 93A, 19 miles from Challis and 35.3 miles
from Mackay. Although this road saves 18 miles to Mackay I little time
is gained because of the quality of the road, especially in damp weather.
It affords an excellent opportunity to view varied components of the
Challis Volcanics. A log of this road is given on pages 97 -98.

The Walker Way, constructed as a short cut between the Livingston

mine and Mackay, starts 7 miles up the East Fork from the junction with
U. S. 93. If one uses this road, which is roughly 25 miles long, and
the old highway in the Thousand Springs area, the distance from the
Livingston mill to Mackay is about 66 miles. Those who desire to take
this road should seek local advice. Grades are moderate but the road
may be rough in places and may be open only during the summer months.

39.2-19.4 Junction with road up East Fork. Terrace gravel in roadcuts at intervals
in the mile north of the junction.

40.5-18. 1 Contorted Kinnikinic Quartzite exposed to the east.

41. 1-17.5 Flows and tuff of the Challis Volcanics are well exposed to the
west across the river from the highway. The river flood plain is

44. 1-14.5 Rock-cut terraces on west side of river. Intricately contorted Kinni-
kinic Quartzite sticks through the cover of Challis Volcanics.

44.9-13.7 Coarse terrace gravel, exposed in roadcuts 0

45. 5-13. 1 Tunnel Rock a popular fishing spot to the wes to

I Cafe and a
campground are a short distance downstream.

45.9-12. 7 Faint road branches off the highway to the southeaste Once a
much-used toll road from Mackay most of it is now impassable

except perhaps, with four-wheel drive vehicles. It traverses the

Germer Tuffaceous Member of the Challis Volcanics which contains

fossil leaves and silicified wood. Fossil tree trunks in position of

growth are plentiful a couple of miles off the highway near the old
road but many of them have been broken and parts carried off by "rock
hounds" .

46.5-12. 1 The highway passes around a bluff of andesitic lava north of a ranch.
There is a campground south of the bluff. North of this point the river
valley opens out for about a mile in soft tuffaceous rocks cut by ba-
saltic dikes. There are 3 or 4 sets of river terraces. The river gravel
is crossbedded downstream. Some of the river deposits are very fine
and silty sugge sting that they were deposited by a more mature stream

les s tumultuous than the present river. This inference accords with

observations near Robinson Bar, that meanders formed by a rather slug-

gish stream had been incised as a result of rejuvenation. Thus, some
thousands of years ago, the stream that occupied the part of the valley
of the Salmon River described here had reached a rather mature stage of
development when some change in conditions increased the cutting
power of the river.

47.6 .... 11.0 Bridge crosses the river leading to a road to the west of Bayhorse
Creek to the old town of BAYHORSE and various mines, and also to a
segment of the old highway along the west side of the river. The pres-
ent highway continues on the east side of the river o

Numerous mines and prospects center around Bayhorse where the


slag dumps and kilns of the old smelter, built in 1880, are still visible.
The mines include the Beardsley McGregor, Riverview Nameless
I 6 I

Ramshorn, and others. All have been relatively inactive in recent years
but several once yielded good ore, in part rich in silver. Mining began
in the 1870's. Records are incomplete but the gross production from
mines along Bayhorse Creek probably exceeds $9,000 ,000. Selected ore
containing 700 to as much as 3,000 ounces of silver to the ton has been
shipped and the mines also have yielded lead and copper.

The Ramshorn mine, about 6 miles up Bayhorse Creek has about 6.5

miles of underground workings and is the largest individual producer

along the creek. The prqperty explores several veins that together
may constitute a complex, linked vein system in the Ramshorn Slate.
The ore shoots are narrow commonly less than a couple of feet in

width The principal ore minerals are tetrahedrite and galena, in a


siderite gangue.

Deposi ts close to Ba yhor~e are replacements containing galena,

sphalerite and other sulphides in silicified dolomite. The Beardsley

and Excelsior mines were both on an ore body reported to have been
100 to 200 feet long, one to 20 feet wide, and to have been followed
to a depth of 500 feet where it expanded into a mass 50 feet wide and
400 feet long. The other deposits along Bayhorse Creek resemble one
or the other of the two vari~ties illustrated by the Ramshorn and

The general ge91ogy along Bayhorse Creek is of interest. This

locality is the only one in south-central Idaho in which rocks of
supposed Cambrian age are known . These are the Garden Creek
Phyllite and Bayhorse Dolomite and record a restricted invasion of
sea water somewhat less than half a billion years ago. The dolomite
contains indistinct structures that may be remains of primitive marine
plants. The phyllite and dolomite and the slate that overlies them,
are bent into a fan-shaped anticline so pinched in at the bottom that
to a casual observer it might be mistaken fora syncline.

48.0-10.6 Contorted soft beds in the Kinnikinic Quartzite are visible along here.

48.7-9.9 Highway cut in river terrace.


49.5-9.1 Ramshorn Slate is exposed across the river to the west. The old highway
was on that side of the river and can still be used.

50.2-8.4 Cross the Salmon River. Contorted and faulted carbonate beds in
the Kinnikinic Quartzite are conspicuous near the bridge. A short
distance upstream (north) the hi9hway enters a gorge cut by the
river in typical Kinnikinic Quartzite. The river in the gorge is
marked by rapids and terrace gravel is absent. This gorge a major

obstacle to the pioneer road builders has hindered highway con-


struction until' recently.

51.5-7.1 North of the gorge cross steep depositional contact between quartz-

i te and Challis Volcanics.


52.8-5.8 Highway cut exposes thick gravel in a terrace upstream from the gorge.
Gravel terraces are conspicuous dpwnstream, An expanse of travertine
formed in an ancient lake,' caps the bench to the east, 900 feet above
the Salmon River but the outcrop is not visible from the highway.

53.3-5.3 Dike with conspicuous joints in.!andesitic lava.

53. 7-4.9 Western end of a very thick andesitic lava flow.

55.1-3.5 Thick flow exposed in bluffs on the west.

55.8-2.8 Junction with U. S. 93A from Mackay. This highway enters U. S. 93

from the southeast. It affords a good means of access to towns in
the Snake River Plain I and to Salt Lake City I Utah, and other points.
See maps no. 6 and no. 7.

56.3-2. 3 A fan emerges from the mountains to the north.

58.1-0.5 The road from Challis enters the highway from the west. There are
motels west of the highway just south 'of the junction. The headquarters
of the Challis National Forest are to the east of the highway. Through
travelers continue north without entering Challis. The broad valley
through which the highway passes is Round Valley cut in soft parts of

the Challis Volcanics anq floored by deposits made by the Salmon River
and its tributaries.

58.6-0.0 Post office at CHALLIS (population 732). Challis, the county seat of
Custer County, is a supply pOint for ,miners and stockmen in the sur-
rounding region. It is also a maj or, center .for U. S. Fores t Service
activities and a starting point for people int~rested in hunting fish~

ing and camping. The town is believed to have been named for
A. P. Challis, an Englishman, who organized the construction of a fort
there in 1876, at a time when Indian raids were threatening.



The pa.rt of U. S. Highway 93 from Challis to the boundary between Idaho

and Montana follows the Salmon River for most of the distance Along the river

it has a gentle grade0 The sharp curves that formerly necessitated caution u have
been eliminated as far as possible so that automobile travel is now easy. In
times of exceptional high water in the spring of the year there may be brief in-
terruptions because of landslides across the right--of~\\Ta.yo At North Fork the high-
way turns away from the main river put even here grades are mostly gentle. The
switchbacks by which the highway climbs to Lost Trail Pass at the state boundary
are no\v well engineered and present no difficult Yo Major brarK~h roads leave the
highway at Salmons North Fork q and Gibbonsville. The one at Salmon gives easy
access to the valleys of the Lemhi River and Birch Creek and roads leading from it
give access to Montana at several places. The road from North Fork down the main
Salmon River may be rouoh in places but is easily traveled; it goes through such a
scenic canyon as to be well v/orth taking for those who have the time and inclination.
Those who are interested in the Idaho batholith will find that the cliffs along this
road furnish excellent opportunities for study. The road that leads past the old
mining town of Gibbonsville; and its branches, afford scenic vistas of the Beaver-
head Mountains. Though not an improved highway, this road should be easily
traversed by anyone accustomed to mountain driving. It is an alternative route to

The main highway north of Challis furnishes access to varied mining districts,
which include mines and prospects that are or recently have been in course of develop-
ment for such metals as tungsten, copper, gold silver, lead cobalt and rare metals,
t I I

in geologically diverse deposits (UmplebYI 1913; Ross, 1925; Anderson , 1954 1956,1

1957 u 1959; Lorain and Metzger, 1939; Callaghan and Lemmon! 1941; Gray, 1928;
Kaiser, 1959)"

Because much of the area tributary to the Salmon River below Challis has
been studied thus far only in reconnaissance informati.on concerning the bedrock

and drai!1age chang2s is incomplete ..

The mountains bordering the valley of the Salmon Ri vor are composed largely
of sedimentary rocks of the Belt Series deposited more than half a billion years

ago in extremely shallow seas. Remnants of marine rocks deposited 350 to 450
million yoars ago are present here and there. The n)gion travt~rsed by the river was
once covered almost completely by the Challis Volcanics I including sedimentary
rocks associated with the volcanics. The sedimentary beds are now in the course
of .study and several subdivisions of them are being recognized (Anderson, 1956,
1957'1 1959).

The mountatns of the area preserve remnants of ancient erosion surfaces,

mostly with far gentler topography than that of the present; but features of this
kind are not v/ell seen from the highway Similarly;, appreciation of the glacial

history requires sidetripse However, the complexity of the history of the valley of
the Salmon River forces itself on the attention of travelers. The river is a compound
and superimposed stream as is evident from its marked changes in direction, the
alternation of open valleys and narrow gorges along its course and the fact that it

cuts across the ends of several intermontane valleys disproportional in size to the
streams tha t now occupy them. The Challis Volcanics were laid down on a surface
whose topography differed significantly from the present one. Where the volcanics
are now at river level the cross section of the river valley is broader and gentler
than where the river is incised in old rocks. Where the river no~,v cuts the volcanic
rocks, the topography commonly permits some farming.

O. 0-105.3 Post office at CHALLIS (population 732). Challis is the county seat of
Custer County and a supply point for miners and stockmen in the sur-
rounding region. It is also a major center for U. S. Forest Service ac-
tivities and a starting point for people interested in fishing hunting

and camping. The town is believed to have been named for A. P. Challis,
an Englishman who organized the construction of a fort at the site in

1876, at a time when Indian raids were threatening.

0.5-104.8 Junction of the road down the main street of Challis with U. S. 93 op-

posite the office of the Superintendent of the Challis National Forest.

The highway here is in Round Valley.

The valley floored by alluvium is rimmed mainly by Challis Vol-


canics although old Paleozoic rocks extend to the valley rim on the east.
The latter weather in smooth slopes that contrast with the cliffs in the
volcanic rocks. The light-colored rocks in hills bordering Round Valley
are tuff; those that weather dark red mainly are of rhyolitic composition
and are flows or welded tuff. Lava flows of basic composition are pres-
ent in places. The Salmon River flows along the eastern border of the
valley below the cliffs. The river here has sloughs and marshy areas in
contrast to the narrow, turbulent stream in the area between Challis and
Stanley. The entrenched meanders in the mountains upstream have no
counterparts in Round Valley. If the ancestral, mature river that formed
the meanders cros sed Round Valley, the record of its meandering has not
been pre served.

Roads west and nortb Test of Challis 8 constructed largely by the

U. S. Forest Service pE. letrate far into the neighboring mountains.

These roads are narrow,' linding and not intended for general use;

some however would present no problem to experienced mountain


drivers. They afford exceptional opportunity to see exposures of the

Challis Volcanics.

1. 3-104. 0 Challis airport to the west.


4.2-101.1 A road joins the highway from the west. A segment of the old highway
from Challis to Salmon, it is still a commonly used route through the
cultivated part of Round Valley with connections to roads and trails in
the mountains to the westo

607-9806 The highway passes close to the Salmon River, here bordered by bluffs
of dark basaltic lava e This spot on the highway (McNabbs Point) was
formerly referred to locally as Deadman s Turn or by similar names be-

cause of numerous accidents at a sharp blind turn on the old narrow


highway; the new highway does away with this danger. At one time,
the bluffs were considered a possible site for a dam that would have
converted much of Round Valley into a reservoir As the lava of the

bluffs is underlain by permeable tuff the site was not a good one from
a geologie standpoint. This site is one of many that was once con-
sidered possible dam-sites to provide fuller use of the water of the
Salmon River for irrigation and power.

708-97.5 West of the highway is one of a number of masses of old, quartzite

that project through the Challis Volcanics. These belon<) to hills on
the pre-Challis surface that are in process of being resurrected by

8. 7-96. 6 The Morgan Creek road leaves the highway to the northwest immediately
before Morgan Creek is reached by the highway. The Morgan Creek road I
which has several branches I is an important artery into the mountains
and gives access to Forney and Cobalt and thence to the road down
Panther Creek to the Salmon River below Shoup. Forney is about 31 miles
from the start of the Morgan Creek road and Cobalt is 4 miles farther on.
The Salmon River is 22.8 miles northwest of COBALT. During both World
Wars cobalt and nickel were sought west of Panther Creek, and for a time
after World War II, cobalt concentrates were trucked to the railroad at
Mackay over the Morgan Creek road. Much earlier the road was used in
an unsuccessful attempt to mine opals in the Challis Volcanics, and
also gave access to small silver and gold mines 0

At the point where the Morgan Creek road leaves the highway the
bedrock is tuff belonging to the Challis Volcanics; but about a mile
up Morgan Creek the road and creek are in a precipitous gorge cut in
a buried hill of Kinnikinic Quartzite Ancestral Morgan Creek must

have had an established channel before the hill of old rock was laid
bare Otherwise the quartzite obstruction would have deflected the

course of the stream.

12.9-92.4 Cross Sheep Creek Immediately downstream the highway passes through

a half-mile gorge cut by the river in deformed Kinnikinic Quartzite Note


the rock-cut terraces west of the river.


13.5-91.8 At northeast end of the main quartzite gorge the valley widens but
in the vicinity quartzite sticks through the volcanics in several

15.9-89.4 The downstream end of the broad Pahsimeroi Valleyo The river has not
cut into its flood plain here. Gravel is plentiful. Some of the fields
are on terraces.

17 . 8-87 .5 ELLIS I a store and filling station close to the southern bank of the
Pahsimeroi River. The main road along the Pahsimeroi Valley joins
U. S. 93 here. The boundary between Custer and Lemhi counties is
in the channel of the Pahsimeroi River. The road up the Pahsimeroi
Valley passes southeast through a ranching community which centers
around May, about 11 miles from Ellis, and continues up the valley
another 12 miles to Patterson. The Pahsimeroi Valley and areas to the
southeast are beyond the areas shown on the road maps. Near Patterson I
which in 1959 was the end of the paved part of the road, there are several
tungsten mines highly productive during and for several years after World
War II but recently inactive. Beyond Patterson to the south the main

road continues over a very low divide and down the valley of the Little
Lost River, with various branches to ranches. At Howe it connects with
roads along the northern border of the Snake River Plain. There is also
a connecting road across the Lost River Range through Double Spring Pass
joining U. S. 93A close to Dickey.

The Pahsimeroi Valley is deeply underlain by coarse alluvium which


hampers irrigation. Forage crops are grown. The ranches are mainly oc-
cupied with stock raising. There are some dairy herds. The part of the
Lost River Range on the west side of the valley largely comprises intri-
cately deformed Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, covered locally by remnants
of a formerly extensive. cover of Challis Volcanics which, however may
I 8

never have covered the crest of the range. The valley is bordered on the
west by the Lemhi Range, which at its margin consists largely of the old
rocks of the Belt Series with small masses of granitic rocks and minor
amounts of Challis Volcanics.

Small but typical exposure of the rocks of the Belt Series is close
to Ellis at the edge of U. S. 93. Down the Salmon River from Ellis there
are terraces of coarse gravel close to the highway.

18. 1-87.2 A fairly wide part of the river valley.

20.3-85.0 A narrow gorge in the quartzite of a hill in process of being uncovered

from beneath a blanket of Challis Volcanics. This quartzite probabiy be-
long s to the Belt Serie s .

21.3-84.0 The river valley north of the gorge widens abruptly in Challis Volcanics,
which rock predominates downstream almost to Second Creek, 21 miles
down river.

26.7-78.6 There are several terraces along here.

28. 7-76.6 Cross McKim Creek. Below here exposures of the Belt Series are
visible near the river. There are patches of flood plain, in part
cultivated, downstream from here. Some terraces remain.

32.0-73.3 Ringle Creek enters the river from the west. Upstream from here
the river has patches of flood plain with dissected gravel terraces
above them.

34.6-70.7 Cabin Creek on the west with a patch of flood plain at its mouth. For
several miles downstream the Salmon flows in sharply-curved, incised
meanders, with patches of flood plain at most bends. Some of these
patches have been cultivated.

34.9-70.4 Iron Creek enters the river from the west.

3q. 4-69.9 Cross Warm Spring Creek. There is a distinct meander in the river

38.5-66.8 Deer Creek enters the river from the west. The highway crosses
Lime Creek, a small, inconspicuous stream, of interest because its
headwaters extend into a fairly large, area in which rocks of
Paleozoic age rest on the Belt Series. The Paleozoic rocks are quartz-
ite and dolomite believed to be representative of the Kinnikinic Quartz-
ite and Saturday Mountain Formation respectively. This part of the
Lemhi Range has been studied in preliminary reconnaissance only. The
western border of the Paleozoic rocks in only about a mile from the high-
way but it would be necessary to climb on foot in order to see them.

40.0-65.3 Cross Whiting Creek. A bridge crosses the river to the west, lead-
ing to the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek. Road up Rattlesnake Creek
goes to the Twin Peaks guest ranch and the Twin Peaks mine of the
Idaho Consolidated Mines, Inc., which has over 4,000 feet of work-
ings. The deposit is under development for its content of lead,
copper, silver and cobalt. The portal is in Kinnikinic Quartzite
but the mine is largely if not entirely in rocks of the Belt Series.

41.3-64.0 Cross Second Creek with contact between the Challis Volcanics
and the Belt Series immediately downstream.

42.9 - 62 .4 Cros s Briney Creek. The Belt Serie s is cpntorted.


44.4-60.9 A patch of cultivated flood plain.

46. 7-58.6 Lake Creek enters the river from the west. Access is to be had from
this point to Williams Lake, a fishing spot, a couple of miles awayo
A trailer park is provided here. The river flood plain is wide here.

46.9 ... 58.4 Cros s Twelve-mile Creek The river valley widens notably down-

stream from here although valley sides remain steep ..

49.1-56.2 Cross Ten-mile Creek. The Challis Volcanics are now near river level.

49.6-55.7 A house to the west. Patches of flood plain border the river and high-level
gravel is presentG

52.0 ... 53.3 The rocks of the Belt Series are stained reddish and have been crumpled.
Landslides are conspicuous. There are patches of flood plain along the
river. Williams Creek, cut in Challis Volcanics, enters the river from
the west.

52.3-53.0 A house with cultivated fields to the west. The river is cut 10 to 20
feet into its flood plain and coarse gravel well above flood plain level
records choking of the river at some past date.

52.8-52.5 Rocks of the Belt Series are exposed.

53. 7 ... 51. 6 Road leaves the highway on the west and crosses the river to the mining
town of Cobalt nearly 30 miles away. The mines and settlements served
by this road are beyond the area shown on Map 5. COBALT was built to
furnish residence facilities for workers at the Blackbird cobalt and copper
mine. The Blackbird mine is not operating now and the town is being
abandoned. A road to the Leesburg mining district branches off roughly
7 miles from Cobalt, and a road along Panther Creek close to Cobalt
gives access to mining properties and to the Salmon River to the north
and Challis to the south. Leesburg, 23 miles away, was an active min-
ing center soon after the close of the Civil War but is now largely de-
~erted though old log cabins remain. The district has yielded perhaps
as much as $5,000,000 from its placers and also has some lode de-
posits. The highway is now well within the broad cultivated valley
around Salmon and houses are fairly numerous from here to Salmon.

54. 7-50.6 Road to the east leads to Salmon Hot Springs, 4 miles away, a resort
with a restaurant and swimming pool. The resort is in sedimentary
rocks related to the Challis Volcanics.

58.8-46.5 Junction between U. S. 93 and Idaho 28.


59.1-46.2 The Herndon Hotel is to the north of the highwayo

59 ~ 3-46.0 The post office at SALMON (population 2,944L Salmong the county
seat of Lemhi County, is the center of a growing agricultural com-
munity that includes the valley of the Lemhi River and long stretches
of the valley of the Salmon River both above .and below the cityo It
is also a supply point for mining properties throughout the surround-
ing mountains A lumber mill caters to the needs of a growing lumber


The Lewis and Clark expedition entered the valley of the Lemhi River
in August, 1805, but Clark in a reconnaissance found the canyon of the
Salmon River impassable for some distance downstream from the site of
North Fork, and the expedition detoured through Montana to Lolo Pass,
much farther north Clark probably descended the Salmon to below the

site of Shoup before deciding that travel by this route was impracticable

The difficulties presented are so formidable that even today there is no

road into western Idaho along this canyon. The route followed by the
Lewis and Clark expedition was down the main river from the site of
Salmon to that of North Fork and thence up the North Fork of the Salmon
and over the Beaverhead Mountains into Montana. It should be noted 0
however, that the route of the expedition was across hills and moun-
tains some distance from the rivers and the party descended to the
vicinity of the present highway only for purposes of camping at night;
in country without trails ridges afford better routes of travel than

streams do. The trip from Salmon to the Montana line which now re-

quires a few hours, took nearly five days even after the route had been
decided on as a result of Clark s reconnaissance. The members of the

expedition are the first white men to have left a record of having seen
any part of the route of U. S. 93 in Idaho (Coues, 1893 p. 521-582L

It may be that trapper$ accomplished this feat even earlier but did not
write books about their travels. An expedition sent by the Hudson Bay
Company defeated a band of Piegan Indians near the Lemhi River in 1823.
This skirmish seems to have been the first trouble with Indians in the
region, for the Lewis and Clark expedition found them friendlyo In 1824
a party of Hudson Bay trappers worked along the Lemhi and Salmon rivers.
In 1831 an American trapping party led by Captain B. L. E. Bonneville
spent the winter on Carmen Creek, some 5 miles north of the site of
Salmon. In 1835 a missionary party led by Rev. Samuel Parker enroute to
Walla Walla Washington , passed through under the guidance of Nez

Perce Indians.

About 1855 Mormons built a fort and established a settlement near

the Lemhi River about a dozen miles southeast of the site of Salmon
but trouble with Indians forced them to leave 3 years later. Although
prospectors from this settlement are reported to have found copper de-
posi ts in the northern part of the Lemhi Range mining did not begin

in earnest until after the Civil War. Prospecting was so vigorous that
most of the deposits now known were discovered betvveen 1866 and 1880 ..
As usual early miners were interested mainly in placers. The gross pro-
duction of Lemhi County has been estimated to exceed $20 gOOOO 000 and
much of this must have been shipped through Salmon.

In 1877 Chief Joseph led his Nez Perce Indians northwest up the Lemhi
River and must have passed near Salmon.. The Gilmore and Pittsburg
Railroad was completed in 1910 between Salmon and Armstead o Montana e
This railroad built by people interested in mines near Gilmore 6 stimulated

mining along its route for a time. However, it had difficulties of various
kinds and sometime in the late 1930's its tracks were torn up and all op-
erations ceased.

The hilly and terraced uplands that radiate from Salmon up and down
the Salmon River and its tributary, the Lemhi River are striking features

of the topography of south-central Idaho. They result from comparatively

recent erosion in the soft rocks that underlie the valleys. These rocks
occupy depressions formed perhaps as much as 50 million years ago The 0

depressions are floored and bordered by the far older rocks of the Belt
Series, which have been invaded here and there by granitic rocks at

least in part related to the Idaho bathol~th. The Challis Volcanics which

once covered much or all of the area--both the mountains and the valleys--
are now so extensively eroded that their original distribution is obscured.
They reached into the larg~ depressions that existed before volcanism be-
gan, but did not pile up there sufficiently to obliterate these topographic
features. The volcanic rocks are in part lava flows but here are largely
tuffaceous, recording extrusive acti vi ty . Some sediments are intercalated
in the volcanic rocks. Late in Challis time the remaining lowlands, prob-
ably intensified by structural disturbances related to the volcanism wereQ

occupied by sedimentary rocks; products of streams and lakes. These

rocks include some beds of lignitic coal that until fairly recently provided
a convenient fuel supply for Salmon. Deposition was not continuous The 0

disturbances of the earth' s crust that aided in forming the depressions the
sedimentary rocks collected in, resumed intermittently. The interference
with and changes in drainage that inevitably accompanied and followed the
widespread volcanism necessarily had effects that persisted after most of
the volcanic rocks had cooled. These various factors resulted in differ-
ences among the sedimentary rocks of the valleys that can be recognized
and mapped. As a result formal names have been proposed by Anderson
(1956, 1957 1959) for certain subdivisions of these rocks . While these

sedimentary rocks which are in part tuffaceous may be younger than much

of the lava, they interfinger with lava and whatever age differences exist

are slight. They are regarded as components of the Challis Volcanics.

After these sedimentary rocks had been deposited the region con-

tinued to be subject to erosion and presumably also to crustal movements.


A few million years ago stability was maintained long enough so that
the regional topography became more subdued than it now is. Exten-
st ve remnants of nearly level expanses then formed, can still be seen
on the crests of the present mountains, a fact that is difficult to real-
ize from the highway. These bits of rolling country near the summits
of the present mountains have been taken advantage of in the con-
struction of roads in the high country.

Still later changes in drainage have altered the topography. The

present Salmon River flows north and then west through the mountains
and finally empties into the Snake River along the western boundary of
the state but the drainage changes that brought this about occurred
less than a million years ago, perhaps much less than this. The
route followed by the modern river is a circuitous one. Perhaps at one
time the valleys around Salmon, or some of them, drained southeast
and their water joined the Snake River in its upper reaches instead of
near its mouth as is the case today.

59.5-45.8 Bridge across the Salmon River at the western edge of the prtncipal
business district. West of the Salmon River the hills here occupied
by residences are carved in the Tertiary sedimentary rocks commented

on above. The coal mine that once contributed to the town's comfort
is near the border of the built-up area of the city.

62. 7-42.6 Highway has been passing over gently folded soft sedimentary rocks.
The mountains to the west are carved on rocks of the Belt Series.
The spurs that extend valleyward have ends facetted by the Salmon

63.3-42.0 The Stormy Peak road branches to the west to the Queen of the Hills
mine and other mining properties. It was once one of the principal
roads to Leesburg but parts of it are now suitable only for vehicles
with four-wheel drive. It connects with Forest Service roads mostly

on the crests of the mountains west of the river valley.

64. 3-41. 0 Post office and store at CARMEN.

67.9-37.4 BIG FLAT a small settlement with a road that branches to the east

to ranches. The bluff beyond here exposes rock of the Belt Series
overlain by Tertiary sedimentary rocks.

71.2-34. 1 The highway swings around a bluff composed of the Belt Series
overlain by Tertiary sedimentary rocks.

72.1-33.2 Bluff to the west across the river exposes a sharp fold in the Belt

72. 7~32. 6 Bluff is composed of the Belt Series with younger sedimentary rocks
resting on an irregular erosion surface carved on the old rocks before
those of Tertiary age were laid down.

74.3-31.0 Bluff of Belt rocks.

74.8-30.5 Salmon National Forest Boundary.

78.7-26.6 Cross Wagonhammer Creek at a -s-pring and campground. Bluff of the

. Belt Series downstream has been artificially stripped here to prevent
landslides that would block the highway. A historical marker indi-
cates that Captain WilHam Clark in h,is reconnaissance of the Salmon
River passed here August 22 and 25, 1805.

79.6-25. 7 Bluff of the Belt Series, one of several along the highway that
show irregular topography beneath the Tertiary sediments.

80.5-24.8 Post office at NORTH FORK (population 20). Settlement includes stores,
restaurants and filling stations.

80.6-24.7 U. S. 93 swings to the north here up the North Fork of the Salmon River.
A road forks off the highway to the west and continues down the main
Salmon River for about 40 miles. Because this road crosses the border
of the Idaho batholith and gives access to SHOUP and to mining and
other properties near the river a separate log, without map is furnished

fo r it (p. 7 7).

The valley of the North Fork of the Salmon River has a moderate-
sized flood plain, in part cultivated. The bordering hills have smooth,
not strikingly steep slopes and are composed of dark, argillaceous
quartzite that Anderson has correlated with the Lemhi quartzite (a cor-
relation that cannot be regarded as established by available evidence) I
a component of the Belt Series. He has mapped several faults in these
rocks near North Fork and there are presumably others farther north but
geologic mapping ha s not been detailed enough to detect them in this
timbered country.

81,5-23.8 The highway crosses the North Fork of the Salmon River.

83.8-21.5 Pa tches of Challis Volcanics crop out at the bases of the hills on both
side s of the valley.

85.0-20.3 Road turns off the highway to the west up Hull Creek. It continues up
Spruce Hill Creek to a resort 2.6 miles away then connects with lumber

roads still farther west. The rocks along this road are mostly dark argilla-
ceous quartzite.

86. 1-19.2 Hughes Creek enters the North Fork on the "NesL The rr~ai::1 rock along
and near Hughes Creek belongs to the Belt Series. l'Juch of it is light-
colored impure quartzite, locally slightly reddish. Probably most is
similar to the unit immediately to the ~)oufb that Anderson correlates
with the Swauger Quartzite. This correlation also must be regarded as
tentative Q There are small patch6S (If Cha1.Li[:; Volcanics nf=ar the
North Fork of the Salmon and along tributaries of Haghes Creek. There
are also dikes of sorne'what similar age as the v()lcanics The valley

of Hughes Creek is gravel-choked. It:;~ Ho::;,d plaLl has been dredged

for gold for 3 miles from its mouth and ther~J ar~3 excdvatio:r;.s for placer
farther ups tream I including some on terrac.;:~ 5 \tveE above the flood plain.

86.8-18.5 Hughes Creek Rar:ger Station.

88.0-17.3 Cross Sheep Creek. The North Fork has deposited gravel in flood
plains and terraces along this stretch of its valley and this has been
placer-mined. The mountains have smooth u tirrbered slopes and are
mainly composed cf rocks of the Belt Series.

89.0-16.3 Cross Brown Gulch 0 Evidence of former placer activity continues.

89.8-15.5 Pass Lick Creek. Road, 3.5 miles lenq up Lick Creek to the east

leads to inactive mines. A short distance upstream on the North Fork

from here dredge tailing s are visible.

90.1-15.2 A restaurant q vilth a gasoline station, is 0:1 the easL

90. 7-14.6 Votler Creek on the west. Road up the creEk passes the Granite Moun-
tain Lookout on the summit of Granite Mountairl g 1.5 miles from the
highwaYI and connects with lumbering roads farther west, and with the
road to thE~ northwest up Hughes Creek 0 Thr~ rock of Granite Mountain
is a sm;~ill fine-grained Tertiary intrusive body not correctly termed a

granite. Technically it is latite porphyry.

91.4-13.9 Road through GIBBONSVILLE branches off the highway to the
The post office is 0.8 mile from the high'Nay j unction at th.e mouth of
Anderson Creek and the main part of the old tovvn clusters around it.
This town of about 200 inhabitants 'ilva~; formerly a gold--mining center:
placers were discovered in 1877 and lod-:- deposits ;30on thereafter e
While mining has continued intermittently much of the activity

ceased early in the present century. The total gold production may
have been $20000 6000. The mountains are composed of somewhat
varied and, in part, noticeably mf~ta.morphosed rocks of the Belt
Series cut by dikes.

The road past Gibbonsville (to the (:~;ast) ascE~nds the valley of
Dahlonega Cref.::~k \",here evidence of former placer operations is

plentiful, then continues with switchbacks to Big Hole Pass, 9. 7

miles from U. S. 93, at the crest of the Beaverhead Mountains 0'

The road is graded and, except in winter u easily traversed by any-

one accustomed to mountain driving. This road and its branches
afford access to scenic vantage points and to various prospects K

some of which are being worked From Big Hole Pass the road con-

tinues into Montana crossing the ranch country of the Big Hole

basin and connecting v\Tith roads to Butte and other towns.

91.5-13.8 Outskirts of GIBBONSVILLE on U. So 930

97.4-7.9 Road to the east passes a ranch and continues up Pierce Creek a
few miles to inactive placer and lode mines in metamorphosed
rocks of the Belt Series.

100.0-5.3 An exposure of stratified rocks of the Belt Series.

100.5-4.8 Cross North Fork of the Salmon River. Monument notes that Lewis
and Clark went up there Sept. 3 1805. A bench mark shows that

the altitude is 5 790 feet above sea level. The valley of the North

Fork upstream is so rough and brushy as to present formidable ob-

stacles to passage by men or horses. The expedition appears to
have ascended ridges to the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains 8

rather than to have battled its way up the streamway. The present
highway ascends Moose Creek.

101.5-3.8 Highway cuts afford good exposures of micaceous rocks of the Belt
Series cut by granitic stringers. The old sedimentary rocks have
been changed by impregnation from the nearby granitic mass. Here
and in nearby mountains Tertiary dikes are plentiful. The main
granitic mass is entered about half a mile uphill from here.

103.9-1.4 Schist is exposed in highway cuts in this vicinity along the contact be-
tween the granitic body and a zone of metamorphism and impregnation
in the Belt Series adjacent to the intrusive mass.

105.3-0.0 Lost Trail Pass at the boundary between Idaho and Montana. The alti-
tude of the pass is 6 995 feet. The highway rises in well-engineered

switchbacks for 18205 feet in 4.8 miles. Side road leads west a short
distance to a ski lodge open only during the ski season. A branch of

the side road skirts the lodge and continues 2 . .5 miles out the range
crest from Lost Trail Pass to a point where striking views of the

scenery in Montana can be had. A trail continues far beyond this. The
Lewis and Clark expedition probably crossed the mountain crest some-
where along here rather than through Lost Trail Pass At the pass a

road branches to the northeast into the Big Hole basin, past the
Big Hole Battlefield National Monument, and connects with high-
ways in Montana. In 1960 a highway was under construction that
will provide a better means of reaching the Big Hole basin. Roads
that branch from this, extend several miles southeast along the
crest of the Beaverhead Mountains.

The highway cuts along the ascent from the North Fork of the
Salmon River furnish exposures of a complex variety of rocks. For
about a mile after leaving the North Fork, rocks of the Belt Series
are dominant.

The road from the town of North Fork down the main Salmon River, although
not paved, has a water grade and is easily traversed by anyone accustomed to moun-
tain driving and willing to endure a somewhat rough roadbed. It offers scenic views
and an opportunity to observe the geologic effects produced by the Idaho batholith
in contact with rocks of the Belt Series.

The area traversed by this road has, except for a few localities that contain
mineral deposits, received only hasty reconnaissance study by geologists. So many
details are lacking that no geologic strip map is furnished here. In brief, the molten
rock of the batholith forcefully invaded the old sedimentary rocks and, in addition,
more tenuous material from the batholith invaded and reacted with the sedimentary
rocks in such a way that large parts of the invaded rocks became gneisses so nearly
granitic in aspect that it is difficult to distinguish between them and the products of
forceful intrusion of mol ten rock. There are all sorts of grada tions and local differences
among the rocks along the contact and much further study will be required before these
features are adequately understood. Pegmatitic and aplitic dikes are subordinate
features of the complex. Variations in the rocks persist throughout much of the can-
yon of the Salmon River all the way from North Fork to Riggins in western Idaho, and
it seems probable that this area represents a low part of the roof of the batholith
that reaches from the eastern to the western margin of that great mass. Along the
eastern border of the batholith the complex extends both north and south from the
canyon of the Salmon River., To the south it stretches some 15 miles in an irregular
area. To the north it reaches far into Montana in a narrow border of the batholith.

The border zone complex is cut by dikes, largely granophyric and latitic,
that belong to the aggregate of Tertiary intrusions that stretches diagonally across
Idaho and, in diminished volume, extends northeast into Montana. Only a few of
the Tertiary rocks are visible in roadcuts below North Fork but they are well dis-
pIa yed on mountain slopes near Shoup.

0.0-45.8 NORTH FORK post office. The highway down the Salmon River forks to
the west off U. S. 93, O. 1 mile north of the post office.

O. 1-45. 7 Narrow canyon of the river cut in rocks of the Belt Series.

2. 1-43. 7 Island in the flood plain of the river.

3.6-42. 2 Deadwater Spring Forest Camp on the southeast.

4.3-41.5 Cross Buster Gulch. Gravel terraces are conspicuous.

4. 6-41 .2 Mill and working s of the Salmon River Uranium Mines are on the
slope north of the highway opposite Dump Creek, which was formerly

placer mined.

4.9-40.9 Porphyritic gneiss for a short distance followed by a recurrence of

metamorphosed sedimentary rocks.

5.2-40.6 Approximate border of rocks of granitoid and gneissic appearance be-

longing to the border zone of the Idaho batholith. The contact is re-
garded as gradational because the quartzitic and argillaceous rocks
of the Belt Series near the contact contain large feldspar crystals
and are phyllitic. Also pegmatite cuts the Belt Series a bit farther
east. The idea has been advanced that the contact is a thrust but
this seems doubtful.

7 • 2 - 38. 6 Rather coarse gneis sic granitic rock, without prominent phenocrys ts I

is exposed.

10.5-35.3 Indianola Forest Ranger Station at the mouth of Indian Creek. Road
north up Indian Creek goes 4 miles tp the site of Ulysses, a former min-
ing town then branches to prospects and to lumbering sites. The rock

in the vicinity is granitoid. Continu~ng southwest, the highway crosses

Squaw Creek.

10.8-35.0 East Boulder Creek enters the river from the southeast. The rock along
the highway is granitic gneiss renpered pink by the abundant microcline

11.9 -33.9 Saw Log Gulch enters the Salmon River from the south. The rock along
here is clearly of sedimentary origin but in most exposures both up-
and downstream from here the rock is mainly granitized.

14.0-31.8 Ranch to the southeast on a patch of flood plain.

14.6-31.2 Gneiss has steep sheeting and seems clearly derived from sedimentary rock.

16.1-29.7 Ranch on a small flood plain south of the highway.

16.9-28.9 Cross Spring Creek at a ranch. This stretch of the river has entrenched
meanders at most of which, patches of flood plains exist. The fans

at the mouths of tributary streams especially those south of the river


are cut into and some have entrenched gullies in them. Downstream
from Spring Creek the rock is porphyritic granitic gneiss with aplite

18.4-27.4 Post office at SHOUP north of the highway. The formerly bustling min-

ing town of Shoup consists largely of log cabins some of which are still

occupied. A store and filling station are in operation. Mine working s

dot the slopes on both sides of the river but the principal mines are north
of town. Lodes in this area discovered in 1882 yielded up to 1910
Photo 11. Canyon of the Salmon River at Pine Creek below Shoup.

C. P. Ross photo

Photo 12. Thousand Springs Valley and the Lost River Range.
Borah Peak, the highest mountain in Idaho is slightly
left of the center of the picture.
C. P. Ross photo

about $750,000, largely in gold. During the principal period of

activity the road did not quite reach Shoup. Supplies were floated
down the river. While the lodes were worked initially for the gold
content, in later revivals copper was sought.

18.5-27.3 Cross Boulder Creek. The gneiss here has large feldspar pheno-

18.8-27.0 Old mine and mill across the river.

19.3-26.5 Large inoperative ore-dressing mill on the right.

20.0-25.8 Cross the Salmon River. Pine Creek empties into the river near
the south end of the highway bridge. The rock here a nd for 3
miles downstream is more massive and less gneissic than much
of tha t farther up the river.

20.8-25.0 Little Sheepeater Creek enters the river from the northwest.
The gneiss here is laminated.

24.1-21.7 Gneiss is laminated.

24.2-21.6 Gneiss and granitic rock has dark inclusions apparently fragments
of incompletely absorbed sedimentary rock.

25.7-20.1 Laminated gneiss may have been derived from a bedded sedimentary
rock although the original sedimentary grains have been obliterated.

26.9-18.9 Junction with road up Panther Creek to southeast. Town of CO.BALT

is 22.8 miles along the road; and U. S. 93, near CHALLIS I is 65
miles away. This road and its branches give access to minesI

ranches, and hunting and fishing areas.

27.0-18.8 Outpost Restaurant.

27.8-18.0 Cross Salmon River. Immediately upstream is a small body of dark

injection gneiss a term used to designate a rock that has retained

lamination and other characteristics of a sedimentary rock although

permeated and intruded by much material of igneous origin. A
short distance down the river on the southwest shore there is a house
that uses a small Pelton wheel for power.

28.4-17.4 The rocks here are of distinctly granitoid appearance so the in-
jection gneiss mentioned above is a small mass.

28.9-16.9 Vertically laminated inj ection gneiss.


30. 7-15. 1 Gneiss is conspicuously laminated.

32.0-13.8 Cable leads to a house across the river. The rocks along here are
of sedimentary derivation.

33.4-12.4 Indian pictographs, in red paint, on the north side of the highway.
Aplitic dikes are plentiful in the originally sedimentary rocks.

33.7-12.1 Ebenezer Bar Forest Camp.

34.9-10.9 Terraces are conspicuous. The rock here has granitic texture
but is laminated and even phyllitic farther down the river.

37.5-8.3 Long Tom Forest Camp is on a terrace. Downstream the rock is

striking 1y lamina ted.

38.3-7.5 Mouth of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River on the south in an
area of injection gneiss. Forest Camp below.

Middle Fork (about 70 miles long) of the Salmon River heads at

an almost imperceptible divide against the head of Valley Creek I

a major tributary of ~e Sa~mon River that joins the main stream at

Stanley. From the head of Valley Creek the distance traveled by
wa ter down the main Salmon River to the mouth of the Middle Fork
is roughly 200 miles.

38.9-6.9 Stoddard Trail is reached by an elaborate new pack bridge that

crosses the river here, leading southwest to the Stoddard Lookout
20 mile s away. The rock is inj ected gneis s .

42.2-3.6 Cross Kitchen Creek. A placer sluice downstream on the far side
of the ri verbelow here.

45.8-0.0 Road's end.


. '"
'" I

~ \
( )


/ '""",

(See figure 2 for explanation of symbols)

SCALE 1: 250000

4E==c==2E==c==0E===========4c===========8E===========312 MILES


93A, 20, AND~. MAP NO.6.

U. So Highway 93A branches off U S. Highway 93 in Shoshone and con-


tinues acros s the S nake River Plain to Arco. From here I a s indicated on the log
below U. S. Highway 93A goes northward through intermontane valleys to rejoin
U. So Highway 93 near Challis The stretch of highway described in the pres-

ent log has gentle grades and few curves of consequence Most of it is through

sparsely-settled, barren country. The rock close to the highway is almost all ba-
saltic and most of it belongs to the upper part of the Snake River Basalt, erupted
much less than a million years ago. Some of it, especially in and near the Craters
of the Moon National Monument, may be only a few thousand years old The moun-

tains bordered by the northern part of the highway contain older volcanic rocks rest-
ing on deformed sedimentary rocks, mostly of Carboniferous age, the Copper Basin
Formation somewhat more than 200 million years old. There is little opportunity to
see the older rocks from the stretch of highway logged here. They have not re-
cei ved detailed study. Along the border of the Snake River Plain the volcanic rocks
are of at least two kinds: one kind is the Challis Volcanics; the other confined

to outlying hills, is somewhat younger and on the whole, more silicic than the
Challis Volcanics 0 Both but especially the silicic rocks tend to dip toward the

Snake River Plain, with many variations in attitude presumably related to faulting.
East of Carey some hills are composed of basalt intermediate in age between the
silicic rocks and the basaltic flows that predominate between Shoshone and Carey.

0.0-82.0 Junction of U. So 93A with U. S. 93 immediately north of the tracks of

the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad in SHOSHONE. The post
office in Shoshone is O. 1 mile west of the highway junction. U. S. 20
and 26 are coincident with U. S. 93A as far as Arco.

3.3-78.7 Along here the rock is basalt and the gentle swells that are visible to
the east are lava domes I the sites of past eruptions. Fresh lava is
vi sible to the north.

8.6-73.4 Road leaves the highway to the north. Here the basalt underlies a
gently rolling topography.

9.4-72.6 Lava tunnels are prominent to the southwest of the highway on a

small lava dome.

16.2-65.8 Cros s the main street of RICHFIELD I an agricultural center (population

329) .

22.5-59.5 Pagari siding is to the southeast of the highway.

24.6-57.4 A ranch to the northwest of the highway. The Little Wood River is close
to the highway on the east. To the northwest the surface of the basalt
is rough and irregular with many lava tunnels. This lava is recent but
its boundaries have not been mapped.

29.5-52.5 Cross boundary between Lincoln and Blaine counties.

31. 7-50.3 Road forks off the highway to the north. This road joins State
Highway 23.J' 6 miles to the northwest, and was formerly a link
in the main route to Picabo and Hailey.

32. 7-49.3 Cross Silver Creek. The Picabo Hills composed mainly of young

silicic volcanic rocks which dip southward, are visible to the


34.7-47.3 The Little Wood River is southeast of the highway and the border
of a comparatively recent lava flow is across the river.

38.8-43.2 Idaho 23 branches off U. S. 93A to the west bound for BELLEVUE
(22.4 miles) and HAILEY (27.4 miles). This highway crosses the
Picabo Hills composed mainly of silicic volcanic rocks some of

which are exposed in roadcu ts and a quarry near the highway.

Lowlands in the hills are floored with young basalt.

38.9-43.1 U. S. 93A crosses the Little Wood River south of Carey.

39.3-42. 7 Post office at CAREY (population about 100). This town is the
cen ter of a ranching area.

39.8-42.2 A main road leaves the highway to the west on the way to the
Little Wood River Reservoir (about 10 miles) and MULDOON

(about 20 miles). This road connects with one to Bellevue.

41.6-40.4 Highway passes through the Carey Wild Life Management area,
which includes Carey Lake, commonly more of a marsh than a
lake. The Challis Volcanics and the basalt in hills north of
here dip about 10 0 south. This basalt is thought to belong low
in the Snake River Ba sal t.

46.6-35.4 The Fish Creek road leaves the highway to the north. Fairly recent
basalt flows extend up the valley of Fish Creek to just beyond the
Fish Creek Reservoir, about 6 miles from U. S. 93A. This young
basalt has not been mapped separately from the rest of the Snake
River Basalt of the vicinity, but future studies will distinguish it.
At the valley mouth the hills to the west are composed of the Challis
Volcanics and those to the east comprise mainly Paleozoic sedimentary

50.0-32.0 Highway reaches the end of one of several ridges of sedimentary rock
of the Copper Basin Formation. The basalt south of the highway is
fresh in appearance and is probably a flow younger than most in the
vicini ty perhaps about the age of the flow in the valley of Fish Creek.

Like the latter its boundary has not been mapped ~


51.2-30.8 Cross isolated bit of Copper Basin Formation surrounded by basalt.

52.4-29.6 One of the spurs from the mountains reaches the north side of the
highwaYe Like others, it consists of quartzose sedimentary rocks.
Immediately northeast of the spur is an undrained area that was
formed by a basalt flow, which, when erupted interfered "(Nith

drainage from the mountains composed of the Copper Basin Forma-

tion. This £loV17 is about as young as those in the Craters of the
Moon, farther east, and rests on somewhat older lava. The early
route of the highway followed fairly closely the basalt border

swinging up valleys and back to the south around spurs of the Copper
Basin Formation. Sections of the old, winding unimproved highway
are still visible all along the mountain front; parts of it that reach
ranches in the valleys remain in use. The present paved highway is
comparatively straight. Locally it cuts across rough-surfaced very
young lava, an alignment that necessitated numerous cuts and fills,
impractical to the early road builders.

56.0-26.0 Highway here passes over a low spur of old sedimentary rocks.

56.6-25.4 Highway swings back across the lava.

57.5-24.5 Cross boundary between Blaine and Butte counties.

57.7-24.3 Roadcuts expose Copper Basin Formation.

58. 3-23. 7 Highway follows border of fresh lava.

62. 1-19.9 Boundary of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters are
visible in the distance.

64.2-17.8 The entrance to headquarters of the Craters of the Moon National

Monument. The highway is on young basalt but much of that within
the monument is even younger. Roads lead from headquarters past
several of the craters and back to headquarters. The well-maintained
road loop is 8.5 miles long and is a quick means of viewing out-

standing features of the monument.

The young volcanic rocks cover about 180 square miles in this
vicinity 80 square miles of which are included in the monument.

Mos t of the vents in the monument are in an area a mile or two wide
and 13 miles long that has been called the Great Rift Zone. In this
small area there are 55 cones from which lava has erupted and 14
fissures bordered by spatter cones. Twenty-seven distinct cinder
cones and numerous other partly buried cones lie along the rift zone.
Most of the cinder cones are asymmetric an effect of prevailing

southwest winds during eruption. Light pumaceous material from the


cone s drifted several mile s . Many of the cinder cone s were produced by
fire fountains along fissures, and their craters are linked together in

The lava flows have exceedingly rough surfaces and are covered with
jagged fragments of lava and transported crags of cinders. The monu-
ment contains at least 39 separate lava flows. They are all of basaltic
composi tion rich in olivine and magnetite but some are of the rough
variety called aa and others have the smoother ropy surfaces of pa-

hoehoe lava. One contains inclusions of gneissic hypersthene-quartz

diorite brought up from below. The flows support very little vegetation,
a fact that helps to distinguish them from older flows such as are abund-
ant throughoUt the Snake River Plain. There are a number of areas scat-
tered over that plain of lava approximately as young as that in the monu-
ment but the others are less spectacular in their roughness and in the
abundance of visible well preserved centers of eruption. No means has
"been found for dating the eruptions but consideration of various bits of
evidence has led to the conclusion that the last eruption occurred more
than 250 years ago but perhaps not more than 1,000 years ago. The
oldest of the exposed assemblage is probably several thousand years
f 1 old, possibly as much as 10,000 years.
1 l
66. 0-1!6. 0 Pass boundary of the Craters of the Moon National Monument. The
basalt here is not quite as young as most of that in the main part of
the monument.

70.4-11.6 Pass margin of the relatively recent flows. The lava is old enough so
that some grass and sagebrush have taken root whereas the youngest
flows are almost devoid of soil or vegetation. North of here the high-
way is built across somewhat older basalt but even this is near the top
of the Snake River Basalt. This basalt has numerous lava tunnels in it.

75.9-6.1 Silt covers the basalt here.

77.0-5.0 Road joins the highway at an acute angle from the west. The Soelberg
ranch and airfield are at this junction. The road that enters here is a
part of the former State Highway that once connected Carey arfcr Arco.
This end of it still serves as a means of access to the Lava Creek min ....
ing district, now largely inactive and to farms near the former post

office of MARTIN which burned down in 1958. The La va Creek mining


district contains various metals, including silver gold lead, zinc,


copper, tin and tungsten but is principally known for the oxidized

silver ore shipped in 1883 to 1887. Later revivals have been aimed
mainly at utilizing the sulphides. The total yield has been somewhat
less than $500 ,000. Much of the are was in lodes in the Challis Vol-
Idaho Dept . of Commerce and Development photo

Photo 13 . Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Photo 14. Big Owl Cavern in Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Near the Soelberg ranch the highway traverses basalt of the kind
that characterizes most of the upper part of the Snake River Basalt,
older than that associated with the Craters of the Moon. The basalt
is covered with enough silty soil so that dry farming i$ carried on.

78.3-3.7 Here the fairly youthful lava flowrthat l::!.locks the valley of the Big
Lost River farther north extends south to the highway.

80.5-1.5 One of the early sites of Arco was at or south of here. The original
settlement wa$ called Junction when built in 1879, because it was the
junction of two stage lines but the name was not accepted for a post
office and was changed to Area.

81.0-1.0 Road to west goes to a favored fishing spot on Big Lost River.

82.0-0.0 Highway junction immediately south of the raHroad. U" S" 93A
turns west to Mackay and U. S. 20 and 26 turn southeast to Blackfoot
and Idaho Falls. The post office of Arco is on U. S. 20, 0.1 mile
from the junction.

ARGO (population' 1,562) is a supply point for a large area and has
motels hotels and stores.

(See figure 2 for explanation of s ymbols)

SCA LE 1 : 250000
4 2 o 4 8 12 MILES
[ r ~fo"~="'~==--clJ


p 86 blank



-- -- -
From the beginning of active mining, the route up the valley of the Big Lost
River and north to the vicinity of Challis has been a major means of access to a
large part of the mountains of central Idaho. At first, travel was on foot and by pack
train but roads for freight wagons and stage coaches came early and a branch railroad
was built to Mackay soon after the main railroad line, then the Oregon Short Line,
reached the Snake River Plain. In the 1870' s a settlement existed near the site of
Arco, at the southern end of the stretch of highway here described. This settlement
moved several times but was established in its present location when the branch rail-
road from Blackfoot to Mackay reached it in 1901.

The part of U. So Highway 93A north of Arco follows intermontane valleys with
only minor interruptions For most of the distance to Challis driving is easy although

some caution is desirable in farming areas, particularly between Arco and Mackay.
North of Mackay the present highway follows essentially the route of the old wagon
freight road. Attempts to better that route have served to demonstrate the road sense
of the oldtimers. A high water table under tha re~atively low and undissected parts of
the valley west of the Lost River Range, known as the Thousand Springs Valley, re-
sults in expensive maintenance, mainly from frost heave as highway engineers in the

1920's and 1930's learned by bitter experience. Part of the old highway, west of the
present one, is still in use (although unpaved) and with its branches, furnishes ac-
cess to ranches and to a State Fish Hatchery. A road that leaves U. S. Highway 93AIJ
16 miles north of Mackay crosses the Pioneer Range and connects with the main part
of U. S. Highway 93 at Ketchum. A log of this road is given on pages 45-50. CloSe to
the old stage stop at Dickey, 50 miles from Mackay, a gravelled road goes east up
Willow Creek and over Double Springs Pass into the valley of Pahsimeroi RiveL

Beyond the junction with the road to Ketchum the highway passes over fans at
the foot of the Lost River Range and skirts the swampy Thousand Springs area before
starting the long, gradual ascent to Willow Creek Summit. Drifting snow on the sum-
mit may present problems at times during winter months. From the summit the high-
way descends to Antelope Flat. That broad, silty expanse is crisscrossed with old
roads, some of which are still passable but most traffic now follows the paved highway
to the junction with U. S. Highway 93 near Challis. Beyond Antelope Flat the high-
way passes through the short, sombre gorge called Grand View Canyon and through
Little Antelope Flat down Warm Springs Creek and across the Salmon River into Round
Valley to Challis_

The area between Arco and Challis has many features of geologic interest,
some of which can be seen even as one drives along the highway. The Lost River
Range contains one of the most complete assemblages of Paleozoic rocks to be
found anywhere in central Idaho (Ross, 1937 I 1947). A small amount of Precambrian
strata is followed upward by Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian and Carboniferous beds.
Permian rocks are probably also present, but fossils that are definitely of that age
have not yet been reported. The mountains west of the northern part of the highway'

also contain varied Paleozoic rocks. The parts of the Pioneer and White Knob moun-
tains, southwest of the highway, which expose no old rocks contain Carboniferous

and Permian strata that interfinger and grade into each other so intricately as to be
difficult to distinguish from each other. Recent, unpublished work here 8 which has
brought out this fact, shows that the rocks record a transition from conditions close
to a Paleozoic shore to the west and clear, less fluctuating seas to the east and

Parts of the Lost River Range to the northeast and large areas of the mountains
southwest of the highway are covered by the Challi s Volcanics. From near Mackay
southwest for a long distance there is a complex of granitic bodies and dikes of fine-
grained rocks largely quartz latite that locally cut the Challis Volcanics. These in-

trusive rocks are probably the source of the volcanics and also of the varied ore de-
posi ts near Mackay.

The Paleozoic sedimentary rocks are strongly folded and broken by both normal
and thrust faults, produced during several mountain-building episodes. Highway travel-
ers can appreciate the complexity of the structure from the many cliffed exposures from
Arco northwestward, but in the southeastern part of the Lost River Range details have
not yet been worked out. Some of the normal faults cross the mountains and project out
into the intermontane valleys. The major passes through the Lost River Range are ap-
proximately controlled by faults much of the movement on which took place before

Challis volcanism so that the relations between faults and present topography are ob-

The mountain ranges and intermontane valleys in this part of Idaho originated
some, 60 to 90 million years ago, although the present topographic details were carved
during and after the comparatively recent glaciation. Existing topographic forms are
combinations of many factors, notably the folding and faulting just mentionede Re-
current deformation and regional climatic changes accompanied by widespread drain-

age changes have all modified the topography. Many conflicting ideas have been

. advanced as to these changes ~ In pre-Challis time, and possibly in a few instances

later than this, major streams crossed the mountains but their direction of flow dates

structural relations, and other features are still matters of speculation.

At some time after Challis volcanism had ceased--perhaps not much more than
10 million years ago--the region was free from disturbances of all sorts for a long
enough time so that the topography became much more subdued than it now is. The
mountains were not obliterated but there were broad areas of gentle slopes and wide
valleys, remnants of which remain here and there but few hints of these would be seen
by one whose acquaintance with the region was limited to highway travel. Since
that period of rest, climate conditions have fluctuated on a moderate scale.

The late Tertiary and younger alluvium in neighboring parts of Idaho are flexed
and in places even steeply folded although evidence of similar deformation along

the valley of the Big Lost River is extremely slight. Comparably recent deformation
there was mainly confined to broad arching which may wellt however have contributed

to drainage changes. The great basaltic eruptions in the Snake River Plain did not
extend much north of Arco but they influenced drainage beyond there. Actual dam-
ming of the Big Lost River by lava was probably short lived; however the older ba-

salt at depth was so permeable that river water maintained itself at the surface only
a short distance below the basalt dams, a circumstance to which the Big and Little
Lost rivers owe their names 0

The part of the valley of the Big Lost River from near the Mackay Dam to below
Moore, has a deep alluvial fill which rests on an irregular bedrock floor The irregu-

larities have been inferred from unpublished geophysical surveys. They may result
from normal faults at various angles to the mountain fronts. Near Mackay, faults in
the mountains are nearly at right angles to the intermontane valley. Here and there,
as at Pass Creek, faults that may lie at small angles to the front of the Lost River
Range are old and have only subordinate and indirect influence on the present topography.
The southwestern flank of the Lost River Range throughout its extent is bor-
dered by gravel fans. These are striking examples of the topographic forms that result
from rapid erosion in high mountains that have relatively large annual precipitation, and
from the dumping of the abundant debris therefrom when the streams emerge on the gentle
slopes of the bordering semi-arid valleys. Few streams from the mountains maintain
channels across the fans. The loads they carry from the mountains are spread out. Be-
yond the fans the central parts of the intermontane valleys are floored with silt and sand,
which under favorable circumstances can be cultivated. In the Thousand Spring area,
bedrock may everywhere be at shallow depths, as is suggested by rather numerous hills
of White Knob Limestone that stick through the valley fill. Here ground water is so close
to the surface that marshy land is widespread. Farther northwest in Antelope Flat the
groundwater table appears to be at a greater depth. Here the surface of the ground is dry
and dusty.

0.0-82. 7 Post office at ARCO (population 1,562) The town is a supply point for the

surrounding area and the county seat of Butte County. The National Reactor
Testing Station is on the Snake River Plain to the east and some of its per-
sonnel live in Arcoo

0.1-82.6 Main Street of Arco, which carries U. S. 93A from the southwest, comes in
on the south. The hills to the north are composed of contorted White Knob
Limestone The idle quarries visible in them were excavated for excep-

tionally pure limestone for use in sugar refining.

1.6-81. 1 Highway swings around the border of a mass of fairly young basalt that
spreads across the valley of the river; when erupted, this basalt acted as a
partial dam. This flow is the same one that extends southward to U S. 0

93A, which is 3.3 miles via highway from Arco. At present the Big Lost
River skirts the basalt on the easL

2.1-8006 Highwaypasses the Lost River Flying Service airfield and leaves off the
basalt flow.

6.8-7509 Highway makes a right angle turn, confusing to those not familiar with ito
Irrigated farms are plentiful in this part of the valley of the Big Lost River I
supplied mainly with water from the river. The alluvial fill is widespread

and probably deep Q

9.4-73.3 Post office at MOORE (population 358) is to the west of highway.

10.8-71.9 Cross a canal and a road. Hills to the west are composed of contorted
Whi te Knob Lime stone 0

12.9-69.8 Road to the west and southwest up Antelope Creek. A branch of this road leads
into Copper Basin to the north and there are also branch roads leading
south into the Lava Creek mining district. Some lumbering is in progress
around the headwaters of Antelope Creek. The creek and its tributaries
have fishing spots much frequented by fishermen in seasono

15.5-67.2 DARLINGTON, a small settlement with a restaurant, store and filling sta-
tion, serving a ranching area. Road to the west connects with a road up
Antelope Creek. Road to the east goes to Ramshorn Canyon which is in the
southern part of the Lost River Range. South of Ramshorn Canyon the rocks
are all Late Paleozoic. To the north the rocks range in age from Ordovician
to Mississippian or younger. Nearly all of the rocks in the southern part
of the Lost River Range are sedimentary and most are limestone. The strong
and intricate deformation they have suffered is obvious even from the highway.

15.6-67 . 1 Boundary between Butte and Custer counties.

19.5-63.2 Highway passes a chapel at the end of a ridge of contorted limestone that
projects into the valley from the west.

20.1-62.6 Pass LESLIE, a railroad station and small settlement.

26.1-56.6 Pass trailer park to the southwest of the highway. Terraces along the river
are prominent. The irregular topography conspicuous near the border of the
mountains east of here records an old landslide.

28.4-54.3 Main street in MACKAY (population 652). The post office is O. 1 mile to the
east. Mackay, once a boisterous mining town, is railhead and supply
point for agriculture and mining in a broad region and, in season a mecca

for fishermen, Although copper and other deposits have been known since
about 1880, and some mining continues, the most active mining was in
1900 to 1930. The aggregate production from about 50 properties, may be
nearly $10,000 ,000. The town provides motels, a hotel and stores.

The mineral deposits are southwest of town in the Alder Creek min-
ing district and center around a granitic stock cut by a complex south-
west-trending dike zone. The intrusive rocks cut White Knob Limestone
and also the Challis Volcanics, which latter are in part in fault contact
with the limestone. Most of the mineral deposits are in or closely as-
sociated with zones of contact metamorphic silicate minerals which are

mainly in the limestone but extend into the igneous rocks 0

28.6-5401 U. So Forest Service Ranger Station, near the northernmost moteL

30.0-52.7 The bluff across the Lost River is limestone, mantled by Challis Volcanics.

31.4-51.3 Road leaves the highway to the north at the base of a bluff of White Knob
Limestone. West, across the river,is White Knob Limestone covered by
a remnant of Challis Volcanics. The prominent peak in the Lost River
Range to the northeast is Mount McCaleb (altitude II, 599 ft 0) composed
of White Knob Limestone. The lower forested slopes of the range are com-
posed of Grand View Dolomite, Jefferson Dolomite Three Forks Lime-

stone (all of Devonian age) and Milligen argillite (Mississippian) in as-

cending order, with the argillite in the ill-defined bench below the cliffs
of White Knob Limestone. If any faults are buried in the alluvium at the
mountain front proof is lacking.

There are camp sites on private ground in this vicinityo

32.3-50.4 Road to the west goes to Mackay Dam an earth dam with a right abut-

ment of White Knob Limestone, but resting on alluvial gravel. Such a

dam is not perfectly water-tight but this one stores irrigation water for
the valley of the Big Lost River from Mackay southward and, in season,
its reservoir is dotted with fishing boats Much of the leakage under the

dam is recovered downstream as surface water and in wells. The hills

west of the reservoir contain exposures of light-colored tuff. An attempt
many years ago, to mine this tuff as a source of aluminum was seemingly

33.2-49.5 Road leaves the highway to the southwest to a fishing spot on the shore
of the reservoir.

34.8-47.9 Highway passes across long ribs of the dissected and terraced fans from
the Lost River Mountains. The gravel of the fans is visible in the road-
cuts. In the graveled highway of 20 and more years ago the sharp

curves and roller coaster effect resulting from this topography led to ac-
cidents but on the present alignment the danger has been removed Be-

yonq Mackay the main valley is somewhat constricted and uneven. The
lower areas, particularly the river flood plain, are cultivated for forage
crops, including hay.

Devonian strata are well exposed on the lower slopes of the moun-
tains to the northeast. White spots high in the mountains are marble
areas where White Knob Limestone has been recrystallized by small
masses of lamprophyre.

37.8-44.9 Forks with old graveled highway to west and the present paved high-
way proceeds straight northwest. Stay on pavement, which follows
route of the original freight road. Road on left to the Fish Hatchery
and also to the "Burma Road," which leads over hills composed of
Challis Volcanics to Copper Basin, a favorite fishing area.

39.3-43.4 Unimproved road to northeast leads to Lone Cedar Creek. North of

this road fork the smooth, lower slopes of the mountains are largely
composed of a fault complex in varied rocks of the Swauger Quartzite,
part of Belt Series (Precambrian). This is the only area on the south-
west side of the Lost River Range where the Belt Series is exposed. The
nearly white rocks on slopes above the fault complex belong to the Kinni-
kinic Quartzite (Ordovician). Immediately above these and almost at the
range crest is a thick breccia along a zone of thrust faulting. A major
normal fault passes through Leatherman Pass, the prominent gap in the
range crest. This gap, which has long been used as a sheepdriveway
to reach the grazing areas on the northeast flanks of the range is one

of the few places where the mountains can be crossed. At the pass f

where the rocks' o'n the southeast are of Mississippian age, while those
on the opposite side of the gap are of lower Paleozoic (largely Ordo-
vician) age the throw of the fault is large.

41.4-41.3 Sawmill Gulch. This is an example of embanked gulches:. deep cuts

ha ve been made in the alluvial fans and gravel banks line the cuts to
heights of several feet above the fan surface. The cuts have been made
by streams from the mountains and the bordering gravel banks were formed
by flood water carrying loads of debris too great to be confined within
the eroded channel cuts. Violent storms in the high country send water
and debris downward that channels at lower levels cannot accommodate.
Note that most channels of mountain streams die out on the fans before
reaching Big Lost River or its tributarie s in the main valley. The ponds
and marshes of Thousand Springs Valley, which are mainly fed from under-
ground sources rather than directly from surface streams drain sluggishly

toward the Big Lost River. Much of the drainage from this valley how-

ever, is underground with the water contributing to the Big Lost River
farther south.

42. 1-40.6 Vance Canyon I another embanked gulch, on the right.

43.9-38.8 Elkhorn Creek and, to the west Elkhorn Ranch, one of the older
stock ranches in the area. The channel of the lower part of Elkhorn
Creek is a particularly good example of an embanked gulch. An un-
improved side road permits access to it.

44.2-38.5 Road forks. Graveled road to west goes up the valley of Big Lost River
and continues over the Pioneer Mountains to Sun Valley and Ketchum
(see road log p. 45-50). Continue on the paved road. The prominent

mountain northwest of Elkhorn Creek has exposures of Kinnikinic Quartz-

ite, Saturday Mountain Formation, (both Ordovician) Laketown Dolomite
(Silurian) and Jefferson Dolomite (Devonian), successively upward to
its crest.

There is a fault close to the creekc

46. 0- 36. 7 Whiskey Spring, one of the s tops on the wagon freight road. The build-
ings here may date in part, from the time when the freight station was


50.2-32.5 Old Dickey, an old established ranch, formerly a main stop for stages
and freight wagons bound for Challis Cross Willow Creek.

50.6-32. 1 Graveled road to northeast asoends the valley of Willow Creek and
crosses the Lost River Range over Double Springs Pass and continues
to PATTERSON (population 24 in 1960), MAY, and other points. This
pass is low and underlain in part by young detritus If a fault exists

under the detritus, the offset on it is so small it has escaped detection.

The pass may be the site of a former stream that cut completely through
mountains According to some geologists this stream was the ancestor

of one that included the upper reaches of the present Big Lost River and
carried water from there into Montana. The radical difference in the
position of the Continental Divide required by this hypothesis may be
possible. but is unlikely. The part of the Lost River Range northwest
of the pass is the Pahsimeroi Range. The hills at the mountain border
(east) of the road are composed of Donkey Fanglomerate (late Tertiary).
Those to the left of the road show talus slopes of argillite belonging to
the Milligen Formation with cliffed e~po"sures of White Knob Limestone'

58.2-24.5 Willow Creek Summit (elevation 7,165 ft.) about 8 miles from the stream

that gives it the name, a fact that may confuse travelers. The highway
cuts exposed White Knob Limestone and most of the hills that include the
low pass are made of this rock. At the place where the hills abut
against the Lost River Range a minor thrust fault appears to be present
but no major fault. Folding is complex. Looking southeast from
Willow Creek Summit, one can view Borah Peak and its surroundings.
This peak, which rises 12,655 feet above the sea, is the highest
measured peak in Idaho. The top of Borah Peak is a slab of Laketown
Dolomite thrust-faulted over a tight :syncline in Devonian beds I ren-
dered conspicuous from a distance by the yellow dolomitic quartzite
beds in the Jefferson Dolomite.

60.4-22.3 Base of the grade from Willow Creek Summit (altitude 6,628 ftq) G

Enter Altelope Flat, a wide I poorly terraced basin much of which is

covered by a few inches of moving water: a particularly fine example

of sheet flooding 1 on those extremely rare occasions when a cloud-

burst occurs in a strategic place in a tributary canyon. The steep
range front on the northeast is a dip slope in Paleozoic strata.

63.7-19.0 Road fork. Graveled road to the west. The Spar Canyon road is a cut-
off to points along the East Fork of the Salmon River and to places along
the Salmon River near Clayton and farther west and north. It is used
mainly by local people. A log of this road is given on pages 97-98.
Antelope Flat is so nearly level that roads can be made across it with
li ttle effort and several of these are shown on the strip map. One I

which left the present highway right-of-way about 2 miles south of

this road fork, passed east of Lone Pine Peak and was a section
of one of the early stage routes to Challis. This road is now aban-
doned and almost obliterated. Much of it traversed fine silt on which
maintenance was difficult.

Lone Pine Peak to the northwest consists largely of Laketown

Dolomite. The pass at its southern end,through which the Spar Canyon
road runs i exposes coarse conglomerate in the Challis Volcanics.

66.5-16.2 Mesa to the west is composed of tilted calcic flows in the Challis

66.9-15.8 Large, well-kept ranch. West of here well-crystallized zeolites

and some fossil wood have been found in tuffaceous beds of the
Challis Volcanics.

68.3-14.4 Southern entrance to Grand View Canyon. This canyon is traversed

by Warm Spring Creek, a feeble stream whose ancestor originated
on a surface composed of Challis Volcanics. The volcanics covered
and concealed a previously formed hill composed of Paleozoic rocks,
mainl y the Grand View Dolomite to the south and the Jefferson Dolo-
mite farther north, both of Devonian age. As the stream cut down it
encountered the buried dolomite hill and maintained its course, cutting
a canyon into the resistant rock instead of skirting the hill in the softer
tuff and lava where, under today's conditions, erosion would have been
much easier. At present the highway follows the stream through the
canyon, affording excellent exposures of the Grand View and Jefferson

69.5-13.2 Northern end of Grand View Canyon. Enter Little Antelope Flat which

is underlain almost entirely by Challis Volcanics.

70.2-12.5 Small outcrops of Devonian dolomite observable to the southwest


across Warm Spring Creek, contain fossil fish remains. These out-
crops are defaced by calcareous hot spring deposits and partly covered
by tuff.

74.3-8.4 Flood plain prominent to the west. For the next 5 miles the land near
the highway has been cultivated, mostly for hay. This area is part of
Bradbury Flat.

75. 3-7 .4 Flood plain narrows and Warm Spring Creek cuts through a gorge in the
Challis Volcanics.

78.3-4.4 The hills to the west are capped by a fairly flat-lying mass of traver-
tine, not visible from the highway. The travertine was laid down in a
lake, presumably late in Challis time 0

79.9-2.8 Bridge across the Salmon River, at about southern border of Round
Valley. Altitude close to river bank is 4,995 feet above sea level.

The main route of U. S. 93 comes in from the southwest. The

prominent cliffs to the west are unusually thick andesitic flows in
the Challis Volcanics. Just northwest of the junction the road passes
over a terrace on the far side of the flood plain of the Salmon River.

82.2-0.5 Road to the west to the town of Challis. Two motels are west of the
highway just before the fork. To the east of the road fork is the office
of the superintendent of the Challis National Forest, and numerous re-
lated buildings. To the east across the Salmon River are conspicuous
cliffs of nearly white tuff, overlain by reddish flows of rhyolite. Be-
yond the cliffs, the Pahsimeroi Range is carved mainly in early
Paleozoic rocks. Round Valley is carved in tuff of Challis Volcanics,
covered by later terrace and flood plain deposits. The main highway
continues straight ahead. Those ~ho wish to go to Challis, turn

82.7-0.0 Post Office at CHALLIS (population 732). The hills close to town, de-
faced by the numerals of successive high school classes, are com-
posed of tuff overlain by rhyolite. The quarry in the tuff has long been
used as a source of material for masonry buildings in Challis. The
old toll road to the Yankee Fork mining district started in Challis and
went up Garden Creek and thence over the hills to the mines. The
boom days in the Yankee Fork district were in the last 30 years of the
nineteenth century at which time the toll road from Challis was in
acti ve use. The rocky canyons of the Salmon River were major ob-
stacles to the early road builders and interfered with access to the
district by that route. Early in the present century, however I a
road was in use along the river. In recent years the old toll road
from Challis has been made passable, but anyone planning to use it
should inquire locally a s to its condition.

A log from Challis to Salmon and beyond is given on pages 63-75

and one from Challis to Stanley is on pages 51-62.
P 96 blank


This road connects Antelope Flat with the East Fork of Salmon River and is a
cut-off between Mackay and localities along the Salmon River below Stanley, as
well as between those along the East Fork of the Salmon River and mining and hunt-
ing spots north of the main river. It is rough but easily traveled in dry weather. It
affords good exposures of the Challis Volcanics, particularly the Germer Tuffaceous
Member of that unit. Hills of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, particularly the Laketown
Dolomite, project through the cover of volcanic rocks and interbedded sedimentary de-

The log below starts in Antelope Flat at the point where the Spar Canyon high-
way leaves U. S. Highway 93A to the northwest and continues to the old smelter town
of Clayton on U. S. Highway 93. The turnoff on Antelope Flat is 19.0 miles from Chal-
lis and 35.3 miles from Mackay.

0.0-23.0 The Spar Canyon road leaves U. S.93Ato the northwest in Antelope Flat,
a silt-floored basin that is drained by Warm Spring Creek, a feeble
stream that has little or no water in its upper reaches much of the year.
Sharp rain showers in neighboring mountains can, under exceptional
circumstances, flood the flat with a sheet of water from a few inches to
locally a few feet in depth. The entire sheet of water is in eddying mo-
tion, seeking exit by way of Warm Spring Creek. The channel of this
creek, which is constricted in Grand View Canyon, is unable to handle
such sudden influxes of water. The moving, widespread sheet of water
has only slight ability to erode. The silt is thin, except in the center
of the basin, and any gullies that may be formed cut into old, somewhat
cemented gravel.

1.4-21.6 Cross one of the various old-time stage roads from Mackay. This road
is now mainly used by sheepherders and prospectors. Its northern part
is almost, if not entirely, impassable to automobiles of any kind.

1. 7-21. 3 The highway turns northwest on alluvium at the border of the mountains.

3.4-19.6 Coarse conglomerate belonging to the Germer Tuffaceous Member of

the Challis Volcanics crops out along the highway for nearly half a mile.

5. 1-17.9 Summit at the head of Spar Canyon. The mountain to the north is Lone
Pine Peak, composed mainly of Laketown Dolomite (Silurian). The
highway is on loose slide rock covering beds of the Germer Member of
the Challis Volcanics.

7 . 0-16. 0 Cros s a road. Its northern branch cros ses Bradshaw Ba sin and originally
extended to the Salmon River and the mining town of Bayhorse. Its mid-
dle part is not now passable. Near the Salmon River the road passes
near abundant exposures of petrified wood. Some of the petrified trees,

a couple of miles from U. S. 93 ( are still in the positions in which

they grew before they were smothered by an ash shower, perhaps some
40 million years ago.

7.4-15.6 A faint road leaves the highway to the south leading to Corral Basin and
other points to the south. This road and its branches mainly cross the
Germer Tuffaceous Member.

Somewhat over a mile southeast of the highway the road crosses a

body of augite syenite that has been intruded approximately along the
bedding of the tuff. This faintly pinkish rock is of somewhat unusual
compOsition, for the most abundant constituents are augite and sana-
dine, two minerals that are not commonly found together in a rather
coarse intrusive rock.

8. 1-14.9 The highway enters a narrow gorge half a mile long cut in hills of Lake-
town Dolomite. The gorge contains conglomerate like that encountered
at the mountain border. It is thus an ancient topographic feature I

resurrected in the course of removal of the tuff that buried the hills.
A fault along the west side of the dolomite hills may have aided in the
resurrection. Beyond the gorge the highway traverses beds of the
Germer Member with some basalt flows in them. The volcanic rocks are
locally covered by loose gravel.

12. 6-10.4 Gorge about 0.8 mile long cut in the Laketown Dolomite. Beyond the
gorge the rocks are mainly basaltic lava with some tuff. To the south
a stretch of the modern stream channel about 600 feet long is floored
with porous travertine. This portion of the normally dry channel is
covered by water from a small spring. At an earlier day the spring was
probably warm and deposited the travertine. Similar travertine is also
present here and there above the present channel.

13.8-9.2 Junction with road running north up East Fork of Salmon River.

15.9 .... 7. 1 The hills east of the valley consist largely of contorted Kinnikinic

18.8-4.2 Junction with U. S. 93.

23.0-0.0 Post office at Clayton.