Great American ATV Adventures: Silver City, Idaho

There are many great places to ride your ATV in the American West, but none much better than Silver City, Idaho. A trip to Silver City truly qualifies as one of the Great American ATV Adventures.

Located just across the Oregon border in Owyhee county, at just a little bit over 6,000 feet above sea level, Silver City is classed as a ghost town. It has escaped the ravages of time and remains almost exactly as it was in the 19th century. The town is isolated and surrounded by the beautiful Owyhee mountains, mysterious and brooding, the stuff of legends and ghost stories. If that's not enough to get you interested, here are four good reasons to take your next ATV ride in Silver City.

1. It's fascinating history. Founded in 1864 after large deposits of gold and silver were discovered nearby, it rapidly grew into one of the largest towns in Idaho, which at the time was still a U.S. territory. Silver City boasted the first newspaper and telegraph office in the territory. Eventually the gold and silver mines petered out, and the town experienced a rapid decline.

It managed to avoid the destruction and vandalism that was the fate of most similar towns in the area, and stands today mostly intact, a relic of the true Old West. The area surrounding the town is littered with abandoned mine shafts and deserted mining camps, and several old cemeteries bear witness to the colorful, and often short, lives of the people who lived there. In 1972 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Excellent ATV riding terrain. Located as it is in the high foothills of the Owyhee Mountains, riders can experience some very challenging terrain. There are hundreds of miles of rough trails in the area and the Owyhee Front ATV Fun Run is only a short drive away. Since the roads are usually closed by snows from November through late May, Silver City is a summer adventure.

3. A chance to strike it rich. There's still some gold and silver to be found, and Silver City is a favorite destination for amateur prospectors, rock hounds and fossil hunters. It's quite possible to find enough to pay for your trip.

4. Awesome natural beauty. From desert plains and high plateaus to rugged mountains, verdant forests and crystal clear streams, the country around Silver City is among the most stunning in America. Be sure to bring your camera.

For these reasons and more, Silver City, Idaho deserves a place on your ATV itinerary. Make sure you're stocked up on all the gear you'll need by visiting an ATV shop, like Monarch Honda, before you go!