Camas County Idaho Gold


Along Little Smoky Creek in Township 2 and 3 North, Range 14 and 15 East you can find some very rich placers. There were numerous mines in Township 4 and 5, Range 13 and 14 that produced lode gold. The town (not on most maps) lies in the east part of the county on Big and Little Smoky Creeks and was in the Rosetta district which consist of about 150 square miles, with many mines, most of which were abandoned prior to 1900. Total production in the district was around 10,000 ounces.

Big and Little Smoky-Rosetta district

The only gold-producing district in the area now included in Camas County is the Big and Little Smoky-Rosetta district was most active before Camas County was formed, and its production was credited largely to Blaine County, which was originally known as Alturas County, a large area covering many of the present counties.

The Big and Little Smoky-Rosetta district covers about 150 square miles near Carrietown in eastern Camas County. Ores rich in silver, lead, and zinc were discovered in this district in the early 1880’s. For about 10 years mining flourished, then it declined rapidly, and by 1900 most of the properties were abandoned.

From 1917 through 1942 gold production in the district was 8,249 ounces. The total gold production is not known, but the gross value of the ores, estimated at $1,200,000 by Ross, indicates that possibly as much as 10,000 ounces of gold was recovered as a byproduct.

The district is underlain mostly by granitic rock of the Idaho batholith and sedimentary rock of the Wood River Formation of Pennsylvanian age. The ore deposits are in impure quartzite and limestone in the Wood River Formation. Dikes of granophyre and porphyry cut both the granite and sedimentary rocks. Large areas in the southern part of the district are covered by the Challis Volcanics of Tertiary age.

Most of the ore deposits are replacement bodies in shear zones in the sedimentary rocks near the contacts with the granitic rock. A few are in the granitic rock. The dominant ore minerals are galena, sphalerite, pyrite, and tetrahedrite in a gangue of quartz, siderite, and altered country rock.