Click to see a bigger photo of Turntable Mountain
June 27th, 2010 was our day to head up to the mountains near Silver City, Idaho. We never had plans to visit this active ghost town but we got to see it from the southeast flank of War Eagle Mountain. We were out for some sightseeing, rock hounding and exploring a new portion of Idaho. And we accomplish these goals.
Normally we try to stay on the "roads and trails less traveled" but after most of the snow melts in the Silver City Mountains, the road less traveled is hard to find. SUV's, ATV's, motorcycles and hikers crawl out of the woodwork and descend on this area. That's not to say we had traffic jams or couldn't find solitude because we did but the people of Idaho certainly enjoy getting out into the wilds. Our route took us from "the end of the paved portion of the Silver City Road" to just below Turntable Mountain not far from Hayden Peak.
Rock Hounding Along Our Route
For the most part there wasn't any interesting rocks to be seen until we turned southeast off the Silver City road and headed up Slaughterhouse Gulch. As we slowly made our way up this dirt road, the geology, scenery and rocks all got better. While the vast majority of this road is on pubic land, there is a lot of land with mining claims located on them. So it's more of a "look, but don't collect" area.
Click to see a bigger picture of these cool rocks
Once you get out far enough though, the mining claims peter out and there are places where you can find some quite amazing rocks. Basically you have to get to the southeast of War Eagle Mountain before doing any serious collecting. There are a lot of quartz crystals and amazing looking rocks to be collected. And the best part, these specimens are located right on the surface so little to no digging is required to pocket this "low hanging fruit" as I call it. If you head up into this area I suggest you do some research on where you can and more importantly where you cannot rock hound. I can point you to some good areas if you use my Contact Us form for this website.
Slaughterhouse Road and the other connecting roads we took were in relatively good shape and mostly dry. We encountered about 6 or 7 trucks/SUV's on this dirt road but I certainly wouldn't take my truck in this rough but passable area. Heck, most of the time we keep our speed down to 10 MPH or less and we were on our Arctic Cat ATV.
Scenic Silver City Mountains
These mountains are quite magnificent. Starting in the desert with its sagebrush and canyon scenery along the Owyhee Front gradually leads you into the higher elevations where pines tree become the dominate vegetation. And all this change in less than 20 road miles. There are places where you get a grand view of the entire Snake River Valley and this vista stretches northward into the Boise National Forest. Then there is a place where we were looking southeast towards what I think were the Jarbidge Mountains and into Nevada. When you hear the old statement, on a clear day you can see forever...well on this near cloudless but semi-hazy day, the visibility was likely in the 75-100 mile range.
This was one of the most pleasant ATV trips we have ever had. With temperatures in the Treasure Valley approaching 90 it was a comfortable low to mid-70's for most of the day in the higher elevations. The gravel portion of the Silver City Road was is very good condition and suitable for almost any vehicle. Just be careful out there on the crowded weekend. Motorcycles, and ATV's are sharing the road with you but some people drive like there isn't anyone else on the road. And if you are an ATV'er or motorcyclist, drive responsibly or the life you lose may be your own. Let's just say some people are dumb asses and a select few are "double dumb asses".
Live long and prosper
Thanks for visiting and commenting on this outdoor article.
The Bondyweb.Com author
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