Council Visitor Center
The Council Visitor Center is located at 105 N. Dartmouth in an old Forest Service Building and operated by the Council Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the US Forest Service. It is open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon through 4 PM through Labor Day.
Easily accessible off Dartmouth Street and US Highway 95, the old ranger station is an ideal site to disseminate information to the traveling public.
The ranger station was built on land purchased from the Pacific and Idaho Northern Railroad Company and looks very much as it did when constructed in 1933.
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
The five frame buildings are good examples of structures constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps for the Forest Service between 1933 and 1936. The CCC also landscaped the property with Ponderosa Pine, alder and spruce trees, juniper and dogwood shrubs, and rose bushes along the sidewalks.
Once the district office, the frame construction is covered by shiplap siding and tin roofing with concrete double-hung windows and a centrally located brick chimney. The architecture is distinctive and consistent with the simple frame construction and painted white with green trim.
Places to Visit
A.O. Huntley Historic Barn (National Register of Historic Places)
Adams County possesses one of the largest barns of its period in Idaho. It stands in spacious meadows surrounded by forest at the intersection of the road that leads to Cuprum and the Kleinshmidt Grade. A.O. Huntley operated a ranch starting in the 1880s, later grubstaking miners who went on to discover the
Gold that kicked off the Thunder Mountain gold rush.
With his proceeds, he built this substantial barn as well as a magnificent Queen Anne residence which unfortunately burned to the ground in the 1930s. Privately owned and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the A.O. Huntley barn is a board and batten three-story structure with a steep gambrel roof. Measuring over 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, it sits on a raised concrete foundation and once housed cattle. The two upper floors are open and were used for hay storage with small hay door openings in the gables at each end.
The barn, although sturdy, is in need of repair. The roof is greatly deteriorated and must be re-roofed in the near future if the barn is to survive.
A real adventure in the Council area is entering the Snake River Canyon via the Kleinshmidt Grade.
It is said that the grade has one of the largest elevation drops in the shortest road distance in North America. The 22-mile roadwork was begun in 1890 and completed in 1891.
Albert Kleinshmidt, who had purchased shares in the area mines, planned and built the road to reach from his mines to the ferry on the Snake River, where he was confident boats could be relied upon to transport his ore to the railroad at Old Ferry, near Weiser. Unfortunately, the steamboat “Norma”, built for the purpose, failed to meet the need and along with poor copper prices and economic downturns, mining operations stalled.
Council Valley Museum
The Council Valley Museum is open to the public from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Sundays.
Some of the largest apple and peach orchards in the West were once found in the Council region. Located seven miles south of Council, Mesa was home to one of the largest individually owned and operated apple orchards in the world.
Located on 1,200 acres of rolling hills, the orchard was equipped with two huge cellars and an elaborate irrigation system that brought water over the hills by means of a network of siphons and flumes. During harvest time, the operating crew numbered 600.
One of the most unique features was the electrically operated tramway. As fast as the fruit was packed, it was conveyed a distance of 4 miles over the tram to the railroad. The fragrance of this orchard in bloom is said to have drenched the air for miles. Other fruit growing areas can be found east of Council.
Seven Devils Mountains
The Seven Devils range takes its name from seven serrated peaks, which stand in a semicircle. Displaying their ruggedness, color, grandeur, and depth, the eastern skyline
of Hells Canyon – the deepest canyon in North America -, runs almost 40 miles between the Snake and Little Salmon rivers. Upon the flanks are at least 32
lakes. Located at the bottom of Hell’s Canyon some 7,900 feet below the highest summit He Devil Peak, the Snake River forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon.
The Weiser River Trail
The Weiser River Trail (Rails to Trails) is one of the first long-distance mountain biking trails in Idaho. With wooden trestles, wildlife, and river country, the trail spans desert canyons, farmlands, forests, and meadows. The extensive trail offers a variety of experiences for hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, cross-country skiers, bird watchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The trail extends 84 miles from Weiser to Ricon, near New Meadows.
The trail is operated by the Friends of the Weiser River Trail, a non-profit corporation established in 1997. Its mission is to preserve the integrity of the rail corridor, manage it as a public trail, and conserve the natural habitats along its length.
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