Copper Basin: A secluded bastion of the Old West

Jason Kauffman wrote a fine story on Copper Basin, a beautiful mountain valley hemmed in between the Pioneer and White Knob Mountains about 20 miles east of Hailey, Idaho.

Copper Basin could be Idaho’s Lamar Valley with similar wildlife, and even better scenery, but it has a big problem . . . cows, lots of them . . . all the way to timberline and right up into the rocks at the end of the alpine tundra.

Story. Copper Basin: A secluded bastion of the Old West. Sun Valley Guide. Summer 2007.

Pronghorn in Copper Basin. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Copper Basin and the Pioneer Mountains. Copyright Ralph Maughan




  1. Eric Avatar

    That seems great. I’m intrigued by the general area. I was recommended doing a “mine tour” in the foothills of the White Knobs -I think- but I opted to do something else over on the other side of the Idaho National Lab which turned out to be great too. The scenery is unique. I didn’t even leave the road (93 and 26) for the most part and it still lingers in my memory a year later. Someday I’ll get back there and do some serious hiking.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan