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Idaho Birding Trail LogoMale Sage GrouseMountain Bluebird
East Central Region

Custer Motorway Adventure Road

Nearest Town: Challis
Site Size: 46 miles

Highlights: Raptors, Shorebirds, Songbirds, Upland Birds, Waterbirds, Waterfowl

Access: Open June-October. Snow may limit vehicle access. Access free of charge.

Site Location

Directions: From Challis, at mp 246.6 on US 93, turn W onto Main St; go 1 mi; Main St turns into Garden Ck Rd; continue W 4.4 mi; R at fork to FR 070; drive 30 mi; L (S) on FR013 (Yankee Fk Rd) to ID 75 at Sunbeam (mp 202.4).

Description: The Custer Motorway Adventure Road is a 46-mile backcountry tour on gravel and unimproved dirt roads, following a historic wagon road from Challis to the gold mining towns of Custer and Bonanza over an 8,800-foot mountain pass and takes birders into the heart of mountainous conifer forests. The subalpine habitats yield sightings of Spruce Grouse, Great Gray, Boreal, and Northern Saw-whet Owls, Townsend’s Solitaire, American Pipit, and Pine Grosbeak. Species found in mid-elevation conifer forests include Blue Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Hammond’s and Dusky Flycatchers, and Warbling Vireo. Along the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River drainage, it is possible to find up to 8 woodpecker species, particularly in recent burns. Explore the historical mining towns of Custer and Bonanza.

More Information:
USFS (208) 879-4100
Challis Chamber of Commerce (208) 879-2771

Photo Copyright Idaho Travel Council
American Pipit
Photo Copyright Tom Munson
Hairy Woodpecker
Photo Copyright Michael Woodruff
Nothern Saw-whet Owl
Photo Copyright Michael Woodruff

General Services:
ParkingRestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkCampgroundPicnic AreaObservation AreaNo Visitor CenterNo Interpretive Material AvailableNo Boat RampNo ConcessionsHiking TrailsHuntingFishingNo Water SportsOHV/ATVs AllowedHorseback Riding

Handicapped Services:
No ParkingNo RestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkNo CampgroundNo Picnic AreaNo Observation AreaNo Visitor CenterNo Interpretive MaterialsNo Boat RampNo ConcessionsNo Hiking Trails
What do these icons mean?

high elevation mixed conifer Graph illustrating 25% 25%
low elevation mixed conifer Graph illustrating 35% 35%
other Graph illustrating 40% 40%

Best Observation Times
Bird Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec AM/PM
Raptors N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N
Shorebirds N N N N N N N N N N N N
Songbirds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N
Upland Birds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N
Waterbirds N N N N N N N N N N N N
Waterfowl N N N N N N N N N N N N
Target Species for this Site

Select a species from the list to view other sites on the Idaho Birding Trail Sites this species may be observed.

    Accentor and PipitFinches and alliesGrouse and TurkeyHawks and EaglesOwlsThrushesTyrant FlycatchersVireosWoodpeckers


    R - Resident 1 - Abundant, easily found s - Statewide
    M - Migrant 2 - Common, but sometimes difficult to find e - Southeast
    W - Winter 3 - Uncommon or local w - Southwest
    S - Summer 4 - Rare or very local c - Central
    5 - Casual, 3-10 accepted records p - Panhandle (North)
    6 - Accidental, 1-2 accepted records
    7 - Experimental
    (B) - Documented breeding evidence(End) - Threatened or Endangered
    (b) - Circumstantial breeding evidence(Int.) - Introduced species

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