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Custer County, Idaho


Custer County, Idaho

Custer County, Idaho
Seal of Custer County, Idaho
Map of Idaho highlighting Custer County
Location in the state of Idaho
Map of the United States highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location in the U.S.
Founded January 8, 1881
Named for General Custer gold mine
Seat Challis
Largest city Challis
 • Total 4,937 sq mi (12,787 km2)
 • Land 4,921 sq mi (12,745 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 0.3%
 • (2010) 4,368
 • Density 0.9/sq mi (0/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Leatherman Peak, 12,228 feet (3,727 m), second highest in Idaho, in the Lost River Range in eastern Custer County

Custer County is a rural mountain county located in the center of the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,368.[1] The county seat is Challis.[2] Established in 1881, the county was named for the General Custer Mine, where gold was discovered five years earlier.


  • Geography 1
    • Adjacent counties 1.1
    • Major highways 1.2
    • National protected areas 1.3
  • Demographics 2
  • Politics 3
  • Communities 4
    • Cities 4.1
    • Unincorporated communities 4.2
    • Ghost towns 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
  • Further reading 8


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,937 square miles (12,790 km2), of which 4,721 square miles (12,230 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (0.3%) is water.[3] It is the third-largest county in Idaho by area.

The Lost River Range, the state's highest mountains, are located in eastern Custer County. The highest is Borah Peak, the highest natural point in Idaho at 12,662 feet (3,859 m). On the western border of the county is Idaho's famous Sawtooth Range; the tallest is Thompson Peak in Custer County, above picturesque Redfish Lake. Twenty miles (32 km) east are the White Cloud Mountains, the tallest of which is Castle Peak at 11,815 feet (3,601 m).

The Salmon River and Big Lost River flow through Custer County.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected areas


As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 4,342 people, 1,770 households, and 1,196 families residing in the county. The population density was 0.88 people per square mile (0.34/km²). There were 2,983 housing units at an average density of 0.60 per square mile (0.23/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.28% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.02% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 4.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.6% were of English, 17.0% German, 10.9% Irish and 9.9% American ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 1,770 households out of which 29.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 4.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 27.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 4.80% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 29.30% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 104.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,174, and the median income for a family was $39,551. Males had a median income of $32,255 versus $21,463 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,783. About 10.70% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.70% of those under age 18 and 12.80% of those age 65 or over.


Custer County is staunchly Republican. In 2008, it supported Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by a margin of 71% to 25%. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the Republican primary caucus in the county on the first ballot.[10]


Grand View Canyon (US-93)between Mackay and Challis
Grand View Canyon (US-93)


Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  10. ^ "Idaho County Map". CNN. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Challis School District #181

Further reading

  • The History of Custer County

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