Behind the Stories

Watch a promo for “Land of the Lost River Range”

By Outdoor Idaho
November 16, 2018



The Back Side of the Lost River Range

By Bruce Reichert
August 7, 2018

Merriam Lake. Photo by Link Jackson

Merriam Lake. Photo by Link Jackson

The Road Less Traveled -- the unofficial motto of Outdoor Idaho - has recently led us to a part of the state where few ever venture: the backside of central Idaho's rugged Lost River Range.

You've heard of Mt. Borah, at 12,662 feet. Well, seven of the state's nine "12'ers" are in this range. These mountains are the highest in the state… more than 1,000 feet higher than the Sawtooths.

Our show, "Land of the Lost River Range," is scheduled to air December 2nd. We'll of course zero in on the unique geology of the area – known as Basin & Range -- where the 1983 Borah earthquake killed two children and did extensive damage to Custer County. Earthquakes here cause the mountains to rise and the basin to sink, and that was the strongest earthquake in Idaho's recorded history.

We'll also profile the rugged individuals who call Mackay and Challis home; and we'll explore the fascinating Big Lost River, which never quite makes it through the desert basalts. It just sinks into the ground, only to emerge near Hagerman at Thousand Springs.

But it's the back side of the range, far from the towns and Highway 93, that is such an unexpected treat. We were blown away by the rugged beauty of the high mountain lakes and the lush meadows, as well as the many springs and streams in this seemingly arid region. And we can't forget the roads. They require a high clearance and 4-wheel drive; plan on spending several hours traveling the last 20 miles.

In our two days on the back side, we hiked to three lakes: Merriam Lake, Pass Lake, and Lake 10204, at the base of Mt. Borah. Later, when we examined our photos, we saw hikers on the Borah summit; they had hiked to the top of Idaho's highest peak from the other side, the side with the trail.

I figure there are shows that you need to do, and then there are shows that you can't wait to do. "Lost River Country" is one of those.

We'll try not to use the word "unique" too many times to describe this area. But, believe me, the temptation is there.

Pass Lake. Photo by Tim Tower.

Pass Lake. Photo by Tim Tower.

Lake at base of Mt Borah

Lake at base of Mt. Borah. Photo by Bruce Reichert


The Final Ascent. Photo by Dan King

Hiking near Pass Lake and Leatherman Peak.
Photo By Tim Tower

The Final Ascent. 
       Photo by Dan King

The Final Ascent. Photo by Dan King



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