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Custer County, Idaho facts for kids

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Custer County
Mill used to process gold and silver ore at Yankee Fork mining operations.
Mill used to process gold and silver ore at Yankee Fork mining operations.
Official seal of Custer County
Map of Idaho highlighting Custer County
Location within the U.S. state of Idaho
Map of the United States highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Idaho
Founded January 8, 1881
Named for General Custer gold mine
Seat Challis
Largest city Challis
 • Total 4,937 sq mi (12,790 km2)
 • Land 4,921 sq mi (12,750 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  0.3%
 • Total 4,249 Decrease
 • Density 0.88/sq mi (0.34/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 2nd
Leatherman peak2 id
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 in the center of the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,368. The county seat is Challis. Established in 1881, the county was named for the General Custer Mine, where gold was discovered five years earlier. Custer County relies on ranching, mining, and tourism as its main resources.


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. 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

  • US 93.svg US 93
  • SH 21
  • SH 75

National protected areas

  • Challis National Forest (part)
  • Sawtooth National Forest (part)
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area (part)
    • Hemingway–Boulders Wilderness (part)
    • Jim McClure–Jerry Peak Wilderness
    • Sawtooth Wilderness (part)
    • White Clouds Wilderness


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,870
1900 2,049 9.6%
1910 3,001 46.5%
1920 3,550 18.3%
1930 3,162 −10.9%
1940 3,549 12.2%
1950 3,318 −6.5%
1960 2,996 −9.7%
1970 2,967 −1.0%
1980 3,385 14.1%
1990 4,133 22.1%
2000 4,342 5.1%
2010 4,368 0.6%
2020 (est.) 4,249 −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,368 people, 1,936 households, and 1,244 families living in the county. The population density was 0.9 inhabitants per square mile (0.35/km2). There were 3,103 housing units at an average density of 0.6 per square mile (0.23/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.4% white, 0.6% American Indian, 0.2% black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.5% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 34.3% were English, 25.6% were German, 19.5% were Irish, and 2.8% were American.

Of the 1,936 households, 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.7% were non-families, and 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.74. The median age was 48.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,910 and the median income for a family was $56,710. Males had a median income of $42,865 versus $27,317 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,625. About 10.1% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.


Grand view canyon1 id
Grand View Canyon (US-93)between Mackay and Challis
Grandview canyon2 id
Grand View Canyon (US-93)


Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Custer (Idaho) para niños

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