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Inside Idaho: Why is Bogus Basin… bogus?


In one of our earlier Inside Idaho editions, we told you how Lucky Peak got its name from being one of the hot gold mining spots starting in the late 1800s.

On the other side of the valley, lies a basin that got its name from being a little less “lucky”.

[Inside Idaho’s unique snake that’s called rubber – but isn’t fake]

Bogus Basin – which is now a ski and summer resort in the Boise Foothills – has several legends around con artists selling fool’s gold from the area.

The first legend, according to The North End website, comes from the 1860s when it’s said that a group of miners claimed they dug up over $50,000 worth of gold. After going on a huge shopping spree, it was discovered that the “gold” was actually fool’s gold or iron pyrite and was chemical made.

The second legend comes from the late 1880s when it’s said that gold dust was sprayed on the walls of a cave near Shafer Butte. The crooks then went down to the valley and sold shares of the mine to gullible patrons in a bar. By the time they figured out the cave was bogus – and there in fact was not any gold in the area, the crooks were gone.

While gold was never found in the area, many years later it was identified as a great area to put a ski resort. In 1942, it opened to the public with a 500-foot rope tow and the first chair lift was installed in 1961.

Today, the resort offers more than 2,600 acres of daytime skiable terrain and 165 acres for night skiing and riding. It has seven lifts, three people-mover carpet, and an 800-foot tubing hill. 

To see live webcams and current conditions at Bogus, click here.

Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-winning journalist, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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