Central Idaho is an old historic gold mining region where several ghost towns can be found along the dirt roads that run through the mountains. The Land Of Yankee Fork State Park encompasses many of the mountain ghost towns, which include Bonanza, Custer and Bayhorse, along with several wild west historic sites that will provide plenty to ponder over while doing the grand tour. Bayhorse Ghost Town definitely is the main attraction, because this destination features a mill site that is remarkably well preserved. A ghost town touring venture in this region can take several days to accomplish and camping is by far the best option for experiencing the environmental conditions that the prospectors overcame in pursuit of the shiny metal.
The Land Of Yankee Fork State Park historic ghost town sites are protected day use areas, while the surrounding National Forests are where camping options can be found. The local camping modes in this area range from primitive dispersed camping to fully developed recreation area campgrounds that are perfect for some quality rest and relaxation. The Big Bayhorse Campground is by far the most appealing, because this developed campground overlooks a small lake in a lush mountain meadow that truly looks like paradise when compared to the nearby rustic primitive camping areas in these steep mountains.
The Big Bayhorse Campground is located just a short drive uphill from Bayhorse Ghost Town in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, but getting there may present challenges that may not be easy to overcome. The dirt roads in these mountains are narrow and the grades are steep, so those who drive large RV campers or haul trailers will likely not be able to access this unique little camping spot. Taking a brief glance at a map can result in ending up in the neighboring Little Bayhorse dispersed camping area, which is even more inaccessible due to steeper grades and very rough dirt road conditions, so it pays to carefully plan the travel route. A 4x4 high ground clearance vehicle is better suited for the Little Bayhorse option, while the main dirt road to Big Bayhorse is much easier to conquer.
Bayhorse Lake is the main attraction at the Big Bayhorse Campground, which is also a day use picnic area. The pine forest mountain top views certainly are what dreams are made of and the wildflowers bloom into late summer, so a hike around the lake is guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes. This campground offers basic facilities, picnic tables and a non-motorized boat launch, but there is no drinking water available. There are no towns or conveniences nearby, so a visitor will need to stock up supplies before starting this camping venture. The Big Bayhorse Campground definitely is family friendly and it is a good place to let the children catch some fresh panfish for dinner. Historic Idaho mining artifacts await to be discovered all over this park, which will certainly captivate visitors of all ages, so be sure to keep this ideal spot in mind when planning a ghost town tour!
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