• Atlanta is a living ghost town tucked away in the Boise National Forest wilderness
• The area is known for a plethora of mineral hot springs
A remote area of rural Idaho, Atlanta is a living ghost town founded in 1864 as a gold and silver mining community when productive mines were discovered.
During an extended period of active mining, the town prospered but once pits were exhausted in the 1930s, the population started to decrease. Practically, Atlanta became a ghost town but it still has a small population. Nowadays this is a ten-acre historic district with ten buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Besides history preservation, the area, nestled at the bases of Sawtooth and Greylock Mountains alongside the Middle Fork of the Boise River, attracts numerous visitors who seek remote outdoor activities, especially during the summer months. You can enjoy camping, hiking, swimming, mountain biking, fishing, nature viewing, snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, and much more.
Services in the town are very limited. Atlanta has a store, but no gas station. Before you head there, make sure to fill up your gas tank. Cell reception is spotty or non-existent in and around the town.
Lodging and Camping
An Atlanta Guard Station cabin, managed by Forest Service, is available for reservation through Recreation.Gov.
Open in 2019, Beaver Lodge offers accommodations in one of five rental cabins and has a full bar and restaurant.
Managed by Boise National Forest, Power Plant Campground and Riverside Campground operates from May to September on first-come, first-serve basis.
Both campgrounds are adjacent to the river.
Directions to Atlanta
Atlanta can be accessed on unpaved forest roads only. With this in mind, a 4WD high clearance vehicle is recommended to navigate the area. Some roads are closed during the winter months.
The only open road in winter is Middle Fork Boise River Road. This rough and narrow road with no guardrails is complicated to drive even in the summer. However, while traveling along the Middle Fork of the Boise River, you will find numerous natural hot springs right on the banks of the river including Twin, Smith Cabins, Loftus Hot Springs, and many others.
From Boise, take Highway 21 and travel north to Mores Creek Lucky Bridge, cross the bridge and turn right onto Spring Shores Road. The road runs along the Arrowrock Reservoir and after 4.5 miles it becomes Middle Fork Boise River Road. Follow on upriver approximately 80 miles to Atlanta. This road is rough and narrow.
The second route is the easiest and the most used but closed in the winter. From Boise, take Highway 21 and travel about 50 miles northeast to Crooked River Road/NF-384. Turn right and travel 13.7 miles on Crooked River/Little Owl Road/NF-384 to North Fork Boise River Road/NF-327. Bear left onto NF-327 and follow 13 miles to Middle Fork Boise River Road/NF-268. Turn left on NF-268 and continue 16 miles along the river to Atlanta.
The third route through Pine and Featherville north to Atlanta is dangerous even in the summer and impassible to any vehicle except a snowmobile in the winter. A driver should navigate through the narrow rough mountain road with hairpin turns and steep cliff drops with no barriers.