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Update May 2023:

As of May 1, 2023 Challis Hot Springs will operate as a unit of Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. As many know, Challis Hot Springs is a beautiful historic site and we are incredibly excited to continue to provide camping and soaking access to the state of Idaho and its visitors. 

To address some initial questions:

  • We will honor all existing reservations through the end of the year
  • The music event will go on as planned
  • The state of Idaho has plans to potentially expand camping offerings but those decisions have not yet been finalized

Challis Bison Kill Site

Early inhabitants of the Round Valley acquired bison at the nearby Challis Bison Kill Site. Archaeological excavations in 1970 provided a glimpse into the early use of bison. Several glass beads, many stone tools and points dating to a wide variety of time frames, and the bones of about 30 bison were located during the excavation. Learn more about the history and use of the Challis Bison Kill Site along the short paved pathway at the Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center. More information about the site is found inside the center. 


These two sister cities were once booming with people set on finding their futures in gold. Beginning in 1870, the area attracted gold seekers searching its streams and mountains. Within six years, the mining communities of Custer and Bonanza sprang to life. The 1880s brought rapid growth to the region as the Lucky Boy, General Custer and Montana mines produced abundant ore and the town of Custer reached a population of 600. But the gold eventually played out leaving Custer and Bonanza ghost towns by 1911. Today, restored buildings, the tales of the miners and secluded cemeteries are all that remain.

cabins infront of hill with trees

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge/Sunbeam Dam 

Near Custer and Bonanza is the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, a 988-ton monster barge that searched the gravels of the Yankee Fork for gold as recently as 1952. During its operation it mined 6,330,000 cubic yards of stream gravel, leaving behind 5 miles of dredge tailings and recovering an estimated $1,037,322 in gold and silver at a cost of $1,076,100. Today, interpretive signs describe the beautiful Salmon River and the remnants of Sunbeam Dam, the only dam ever constructed on the Salmon. The dam was built in 1910 to generate electricity for nearby mines. The operation went bankrupt in 1911 and the dam was breached in 1934.

old mine in hillside

Current Conditions

Contact the Park

Address: 24424 Highway 75 | Challis Hot Springs: 5025 Hot Springs Rd
Challis, ID 83226
Phone: (208) 879-5244
Hours of Operation: Day-use locations within state parks are open from 7 am to 10 pm, per Idaho state code 26.01.20 (5). Day-use hours may change based on park manager discretion.

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