This Town Gives You a Glimpse of Historic Idaho

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A woman in a patriotic swim suit soaks in the hot springs with a beautiful view over the mountains in Idaho.

If you’re looking to explore the western United States, exploring the Gem State should definitely be on the itinerary. Speaking of gems, taking the time to visit and experience the small-town gems such as Leadore in Idaho can really give you a feel for the state’s history. 

Leadore is one of those gems. The great thing about small towns is that they tend to preserve their history. Many of the buildings present during the heyday of this small town are still standing. Frozen in time, Leadore has much to teach visitors about the area’s history. 

Where Is Leadore, Idaho? 

Leadore is within the Lemhi Valley of Idaho. Lemhi County is in central Idaho, right at the base of the state’s panhandle. It’s one of two small towns in the county, and it’s actually a little bit bigger than the other town. If you really want to experience small-town life, there’ll be no shortage here. 

About Leadore, Idaho

Leadore, Idaho, is the true definition of a small town with a population of only 106 people. That number is from 2019, but you can be sure not much has changed in the last three years. 

The town of Leadore was founded in 1910. It began as a railroad town when the railway went from Armstead, Mont., into the Lemhi Valley.

It was the Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad, and the railway planned on setting their railway station in the nearby town of Junction. However, Junction land owners refused to sell, and they moved the plans to Leadore. 

What Is Leadore Known For?

Leadore has been known for a couple of things. Mainly, it’s been a railroad town. When Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad came through, Leadore flourished for a while. It was the place for the railroad’s repair shops, and it sat where the railroad connected to the main line. 

They had a post office, a general store, banks, hotels, barber shops, and even a market. When the railroad died out more than 50 years ago, the population and popularity of the place did too.

In 2001, the town funded a replica build of the old railway station, and the building serves as sort of a community center for the locals in Leadore.

Old railroad tracks with rusted freight cars.

Traveler’s Tip: If you like exploring old railroad towns, learn how to spend a day in Ashland, Virginia.

What Is There to Do in Leadore, Idaho? 

You won’t find a vibrant nightlife or jumping city center while visiting Leadore, Idaho, but there are still a few things to get yourself into while you’re there. So you don’t have any trouble finding your way, here are a few suggestions to keep you busy in Leadore, Idaho. 

Eat at the Silver Dollar Bar and Restaurant

You’ll need to eat while you’re in town, and you won’t believe what you’ll see when you go inside the Silver Dollar Bar and Restaurant. Its decoration is quite interesting, and the food has a pretty good reputation. 

You’ll get some good home cooking from the Silver Dollar, and you won’t soon forget the characters you meet along the way. Remember, it’s a sleepy town. If you don’t see anyone right away when you enter the restaurant, just let out a quick holler. 

A couple trying out a small diner with made-to-order burgers and fries served in a red basket.

Shop at the Stage Stop Junction Store and Gas Station

The town’s general store and junction gas station were rebuilt in early 2001, and you don’t want to miss the fancy restoration. It genuinely serves as the small town’s general store, and there’s plenty to be found inside. 

The Stage Stop has pizza, burgers, liquor, beer, gasoline, and a souvenir gift shop. It’s a one-stop shop that will stamp the town of Leadore in your mind forever. For locals, it’s a community center point. 

Visit Leadore City Park

Leadore City Park is where you may want to set up shop if you’re traveling in your RV or wanting to pop a tent. The local government runs the park. The facilities aren’t fancy, but they’ll work for a quick exploratory adventure. 

There are bathrooms, showers, picnic areas, and even a rodeo ring on the campgrounds. There are also plenty of natural adventures available nearby, complimentary of the gorgeous geography of the area. 

Drive to Goldbug Hot Springs

Settle in for a soak with a view at the Goldbug Hot Springs. If you like hiking and connecting with the land, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to explore Elk Trail. 

The round trip is close to 3 miles, so the soak in the middle of your hike will come as a welcome respite. It’s no simple hike, and you’ll encounter a lot of stairsteps to climb. Make sure you wear your hiking boots and eat a good breakfast before seeking out Goldbug Hot Springs. 

Is It Worth Visiting Leadore, Idaho? 

If Leadore, Idaho, is on your travel path, you should definitely stop by for a visit. There might not be enough of a draw to plan a whole vacation around a visit, but it’s an excellent add-on stop. You could also take the time to check out the Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns if you want to get a little more history of the area. 

When will you visit?

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