Hiking

Smith's Ferry, ID


Smith's Ferry Stage

Smith's Ferry Stage
Courtesy Idaho State Historical Society

Before the state of Idaho built the wagon road up the North Fork of the Payette River in 1911, a network of older roads on the ridge west of the river linked communities such as Payette, Emmett, and Horseshoe Bend with settlers living in Long Valley.


This road, reportedly built by loggers working for the Oregon Short Line, descended onto the North Fork of the Payette River at what was later known as Smith's Ferry.

The Idaho Northern Railroad's train depot at Smith's Ferry
The Idaho Northern Railroad's train depot at Smith's Ferry
Courtesy ISHS
Wagon train near Smith's Ferry
Wagon train near the ferry
Courtesy ISHS


In 1887, Clinton Meyers established a ferry on the North Fork to transport livestock en route to summer pasture in Round and Long Valleys across the river.

The ferry was also popular with freighters. Meyers sold the enterprise to Jim Smith in 1891, hence the name Smith's Ferry.

In 1911, the Oregon Shortline began construction on the Idaho Northern Railroad from Emmett to Long Valley.

First train to arrive in Smith's Ferry

Two years later the first train pulled in to Smith's Ferry.

Greeting the first train to arrive in Smith's Ferry, 1913

Courtesy ISHS