Copper Basin Cabin is a five± acre national forest inholding located in central Idaho’s Copper Basin approximately 40 miles northeast of the resort community of Sun Valley over Trail Creek Pass. With an elevation of approximately 8,000 feet, Copper Basin is a sparsely populated area of immense natural beauty rimmed by the 11,000-foot peaks of the Pioneer and White Knob mountain ranges. Access to the property is from the Copper Basin Road, a seasonal gravel road that passes along the west side of the property, or from the air by utilizing Copper Basin Airport, a 4,700-foot public airstrip lying immediately opposite of Copper Basin Road from the property. The headwaters of the East Fork of the Big Lost River flow through the property, and anglers can find excellent trout fishing nearby downstream as the East Fork increases in size and volume. The property features three comfortable, furnished, one-bedroom/one-bath cabins overlooking the stream. The Salmon-Challis National Forest surrounds the property and provides miles of hiking, horseback riding, big game hunting, ATV riding, and other backcountry recreation. Wildlife in Copper Basin is varied and abundant and includes elk, mule deer, mountain goat, moose, antelope, and upland game birds.
Just the Facts
- 5± acre wilderness retreat surrounded by the Salmon-Challis National Forest
- Stunning scenery reminiscent of Colorado’s North Park and Montana’s Centennial Valley
- Only private residence in the core of Copper Basin
- Three furnished, one-bedroom cabins with easy-to-operate, off-the-grid power system
- Frontage on the upper East Fork Big Lost River
- Copper Basin airfield next to the property and just a brief walk from the cabins
- Miles of hiking and trail riding right from the property
- Excellent big game hunting and wildlife viewing
- Minutes to outstanding trout fishing on the Big Lost River and its tributaries
- An hour’s drive from Ketchum/Sun Valley or a 15-minute flight from Sun Valley’s airport
- Located in Idaho hunt unit 50 and the Pioneer elk zone
- Annual property taxes are approximately $1,500
Surrounded by US Forest Service lands, Copper Basin Cabin is one of only a handful of deeded properties along the East Fork of the Big Lost River and the only private residence in this part of Copper Basin. The only other structures within view of the property are several historic miners’ cabins and a small line cabin and corral used by a local grazing association while tending cattle. The East Fork flows year-round through the northeast edge of the property, and its willow-lined riparian corridor provides habitat for moose, mule deer, beavers, and songbirds. Three one-bedroom cabins are perched above the East Fork and command 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks and mountain ranges. The property is perimeter-fenced with well-maintained jack-pole fencing, and a small set of horse pens and loafing shed are located at the southwest corner of the property. Copper Basin Road parallels the western boundary of the property.
Surrounded by national forest and miles from the nearest private residence, Copper Basin Cabin lies in the heart of one of the northern Rockies’ most spectacular alpine landscapes. The property serves as the ideal basecamp from which to experience the near endless backcountry of central Idaho and is highlighted by ease of access from public roads and by air using the adjacent Copper Basin Airport.
Copper Basin Cabin lies within the upper Lost River drainage approximately 40 miles northeast of the well-known, all-season resort community of Sun Valley and 50 miles northwest of the ranching community of Mackay. Access from Sun Valley is an hour’s drive via Trail Creek Pass and Copper Basin Road (both gravel roads) from May through November. As mountain snowfall begins to accumulate late in the year, Trail Creek Pass and Copper Basin Road close until spring and access to the property is limited to snow machine.
Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, 15 miles south of Sun Valley, is the nearest commercial airport and offers regular air service on Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines. Idaho Falls, approximately two hours southeast of the property, provides alternate commercial air service out of Idaho Falls Regional Airport on Delta and United. Mackay is home to a 4,400’ x 60’ asphalt airstrip capable of accommodating larger twin-engine aircraft.
Of interest to backcountry pilots and those focused on convenient, fly-in access, the property lies immediately adjacent to a public landing strip referred to as Copper Basin Airport. This state-managed, turf runway is 4,700’ x 100’ and features a windsock, perimeter markings, and tie downs. One only has to park the aircraft, walk across Copper Basin Road, and open the front gate to begin enjoying the property and the splendors of Copper Basin.
The Lost River drainage is considered one of Idaho’s most scenic areas and is among the state’s top regions for outdoor recreation. Spanning over 70 miles, the massive Lost River Range flanks the east side of the Lost River Valley and claims seven of Idaho’s ten peaks over 12,000 feet, including Mt. Borah, the state’s highest peak at 12,662 feet. Copper Basin is a glacially-carved, high elevation valley located in the upper part of the drainage. Two formidable mountain ranges, the Pioneers and White Knobs, encircle Copper Basin and extend westward to Sun Valley offering incredible vistas and miles of roadless backcountry to explore. The Big Lost River originates from high mountain tributaries and meanders east and then south, providing irrigation water for farms and ranches around Mackay as well as outstanding trout fishing opportunities along its length.
Sun Valley, Ketchum and the other Wood River Valley communities of Hailey and Bellevue are an easy drive from the property and offer a multiplicity of summer and winter activities, including golf, hiking, fly fishing, mountain bike riding, and world-class downhill and Nordic skiing. One also finds there numerous gourmet restaurants, art galleries, shopping opportunities, and cultural events to enjoy.
Mackay, population 565, lies at the heart of the Lost River Valley and serves as the local service and social center. It is an agriculturally based community, although its roots go back to the mining days in the early 20th century. All general amenities can be found in Mackay, including groceries, fuel, restaurants, and ranch and hardware providers.
The elevation of the property is approximately 7,900 feet. Summer temperatures at this altitude are close to ideal with highs reaching the 80s and then cooling to the mid-40s at night. Winters are cold with snowfall varying depending on annual moisture patterns.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The property boasts three comfortable, ready-to-use cabins each with one bedroom and one bathroom with shower. The main cabin includes a kitchen with propane appliances, living room, dining area, and four-season enclosed porch. The cabins are serviced by a reliable, easy-to-operate, solar-powered electrical system with a backup propane generator. Heating is provided by wall-mounted propane heaters and wood burning stoves. Adjacent to the main cabin is a log storage shed used to house the power system and store tools and ATVs. A well provides water for domestic purposes and to irrigate lawns surrounding the cabins. There is no phone line to the property nor is there cell phone coverage, although one can utilize satellite telephone service as well as satellite internet VoIP for voice communications. The cabins are being offered furnished.
Annual property taxes are approximately $1,500.
Trout fishing is among the most highly pursued activities in the Copper Basin area. From its spring creek-like beginnings to its convergence with the North Fork to become the Big Lost River, the East Fork is a gem of a mid-sized freestone stream that offers a variety of fishing scenarios in a relatively short distance. Rainbows, Snake River fine-spotted cutthroats, and brook trout are the quarry and are found in abundance throughout the East Fork and upper Big Lost. Blue winged olives, green drakes, golden stones, and caddis are standard hatch fare during summer and fall months; however, matching the hatch isn’t required to take fish as, day in and day out, high floating attractor patterns are reliable producers. One finds excellent access to the East Fork across Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands. There is also outstanding access across public lands to the East Fork’s main tributaries, Star Hope and Wildhorse Creeks, as well as to the North Fork and the main stem Big Lost approximately 15 miles northwest of the ranch.
For the upland hunter, chukar partridge are abundant on rocky, south-facing slopes, while blue grouse are common on the higher elevation Forest Service lands. All of Idaho’s big game species can be found within proximity to the ranch.
For the hiker or horseback rider, Copper Basin enjoys some of the state’s most spectacular high country. In addition to unlimited cross-country hiking and riding opportunities, an extensive public lands trail network offers managed access to dozens of rocky peaks and alpine lakes.
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