|This near ghost town’s beginning, like many other isolated Idaho settlements, originated with the search for mining riches. In 1862, James Warren led Matthew Bledsoe and several other prospectors from Florence through the Salmon River Canyon to the meadows surrounding this area. Upon discovering gold, a rush of miners moved in, and the mining camp was informally dubbed “Warren’s Diggings” after its founder. During its heyday, Warren supported a population of nearly 2,000 inhabitants and the settlement was a popular destination for Chinese miners who arrived in the area during the 1870s and 1880s. When early white miners to the area realized that their claims were fading, they decided to make a profit off the unsuspecting Chinese laborers. It is reported that some Chinese workers paid up to $8,000 for a single claim.
Since the town was so remote and supply lines were often limited, the cost of living in the area was extremely high. One boarding house owner in the 1860s charged $3 per meal, a steep price during that time. Due to rising costs and dwindling luck with claims, many Warren settlers left in search of better prospects. Despite some spotty mining successes over the last century, Warren has never again attained its initial popularity. Today, the town at the end of Forest Road 21 boasts a few historic buildings, including an old hotel, an examiner’s office, and a saloon.