America's Scenic Byways

Gold Rush Historic Byway

42.5 miles - Allow 2.5 hours round trip

Rich in scenery, history, and wildlife, the route along Idaho 11 begins in Greer at the junction of US 12 with an easy climb up the Greer Grade, providing a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Clearwater Valley. At the crest of the mountain lie the beautiful rolling fields of grains and grasses cultivated by local farmers. Just down the road is the historic town of Weippe, not far from where members of the Nez Perce Tribe met and fed starving members of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery in 1805.

Minutes later, the scenery changes again, as the vast fields transform into a lush forest thick with wildlife. Nestled among the trees is the town of Pierce, where early pioneers discovered gold in Idaho for the first time. It also boasts the state's inaugural government building, the old Shoshone County Courthouse.

Other attractions include a logging museum, the city library's artifact collection from the adventures of Chinese miners in the area, and five more historical sites featured along the byway.

Twelve miles north of Pierce is the village of Headquarters, marking the end of the Gold Rush Historic Byway and the beginning of the area's other "gold mine" – the majestic and seemingly endless Clearwater National Forest.