The Challis area was first inhabited by Indian tribes lured to the area by
abundant hunting and the fertile valley. White men discovered the Challis area in
1822 when Michael Bourdon led his trapping party into the valley in search of
beaver pelts. Other early settlers were traders, cattlemen and ranchers who
stayed within the valley floor.
In 1873 gold was discovered
and with this discovery came
a mining boom that spanned almost three decades. It brought activity to the Yankee Fork
and dotted the surrounding mountainside with campsites and small towns. A few years later, the high level of mining and ranching activity in the area warranted the need for a supply base.
In 1876, Alvah P. Challis
laid out the town of Challis as
a supply depot for these interior mining camps and surrounding cattle ranches.
Although many mining camps eventually became ghost towns,
Challis remained and prospered.
Today Challis is the Custer County seat. It is the site of the headquarters of the Challis National Forest and the Land of the Yankee Fork Idaho State Centennial Park. It is still the economic center of present-day mines, ranches and farms.
We have K-12 schools with good teacher/student ratios. Extracurricular activities include interscholastic athletics (football, wrestling, volleyball, basketball and track), music, debate, FFA and rodeo. Approximately 70% of the students attend college.
The Challis area has many orginazations including Challis Arts Council,
North Custer Historical Society, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion,
Rod & Gun Club, 4-H clubs, little league baseball, senior citizens center,
four sorority chapters, Little Britches Rodeo, etc.
The Challis Messenger is our local newspaper. Their phone number is 208-879-4445,
and an online edition of their newspaper is available.
The Challis Area Health Center has x-ray and laboratory facilities as well as an emergency room capable of treating and stabilizing acute trauma cases until they can be transported for more extensive treatment either by ambulance or Life Flight helicopter. Specialists who regularly visit the clinic provide additional medical services.
There are nine or more church denominations in the Challis area.
Cable television is available in the city. Many residents in the county have satellite receivers. Also, several radio stations are available. Challis also has a public access channel available to cable subscribers, Channel 23. Programming is provided by the local schools.
There are two veterinary clinics, both of which provide excellent services.