Rustic Lens

Gold Point Mill – Elk City Idaho

Gold Point Mill is located on Forest Service Road 222 near Elk City Idaho.  It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2000.  The weathered-looking building and beautiful forest landscape make it a photographer’s dream.  I have visited it a couple of times now.  The first time was with two of my kids and we did some exploring and took pictures in 2013.   The second time was this year and I took my DJI Mavic Pro drone to get some aerial pictures and video. It’s amazing to find it in such good condition.  Most of the old ghost town buildings in this area were built very quickly and have not held up well with age.  Gold was first discovered in the area in the 1860’s and the miners were not trying to build lasting buildings.  They just wanted shelter while they mined.  Gold Point Mill was built in 1936 and has held up pretty well.  It’s like being able to step back in time to see how it looked when it was in use.

Old Gold Mill building
Gold Point Mill in 2017

Gold Point Mill was a steam-powered mill in a time when most mills ran on electric motors with diesel generators.  I feel like this makes it all the more nostalgic!

Steam boiler
The steam engine used long belts to transfer the power into the mill.

The log ramp at the top is now gone, but trucks would come from the mines to dump the ore into the mill.  The ore would then get crushed and finally classified to separate the gold out.  The ore flowed through the mill by gravity since it was built on a slope.

industrial steam tank at Gold Point Mill
The landscape is beautiful, but so are the close-ups!

If you are interested in the history, take a look at this very informative National Register of Historic Places Registration Form.

Bonus abandoned house:

At the bottom of the hill is an abandoned house and outbuildings.  Someone even left a snack!  It’s probably still there.

old canned peaches

Do you think that’s oranges or peaches?  Leave me a comment to tell me what you think.

It tasted like peaches……….just kidding!  No way I would touch that.  Here is a shot of the outside of the house.

abandoned house at Gold Point Mill

Check out the Gold Point Mill Gallery to see more of my images of this awesome place!  As always, you can buy prints right from the gallery if you like.

Some things get better with time!

In preparing for this post I looked back in my massive image catalog to find my pictures from 2013.  I was amazed at how badly I had processed them!  Either my skills or my taste has improved greatly in four years.  Here is an example of what I mean.  I processed the image on the right in 2013 and my new version is on the left.

Gold Point Mill

In the 2013 version, I had not corrected the perspective and made the mill look like it was leaning over.  I also went a little crazy with the HDR.  Yipes.  I still wish that I had made this a panorama so there would be more room on the left side.  I guess that’s a good reason to go back!

Here is a short video that I captured with my DJI Mavic Pro drone.

I want to share just one more picture.  These are my two exploring buddies in 2013.  My kids Aaron and Cassie.  Four years have changed them a lot and I cherish all those trips with them and my other kids when I look back!

kids exploring by a river

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If you liked this story, you may also like my post on White Knob Idaho Ghost Town.




Evan Jones

I am a landscape and travel photographer who is drawn to old and rusty stuff as well as beautiful landscapes. I like to explore the backroads of the Northwest United States and anywhere else I can get to. My blog is at


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