Boulder-White Clouds: Idaho’s Newest Wilderness

The Boulder-White Clouds are more than stunning 10,000-foot peaks—collectively, the area represents critical, diverse wildlife habitat during both summer and winter.

The Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness is the crown jewel of Central Idaho. This is where the headwaters of four major river systems originate, where unique critters such as bighorn sheep and the elusive wolverine are found, where there are the highest-elevation salmon runs in North America, as well as rare plants found nowhere else on earth.

The Boulder-White Clouds offer world-class backcountry experiences for the public, including hunting and fishing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, horseback riding and off-road motorized use. As a whole, the Boulder-White Clouds form a large connected drainage that delivers clean water to wildlife, fisheries, and human communities nearby.

Boulder-White Clouds Protected Once and For All!

In the early 1970s, an international mining firm proposed an open-pit mine at the base of iconic Castle Peak. Campaigning against that mine helped propel a young Cecil Andrus to his first term as Idaho governor. Championed by Rep. Mike Simpson over a ten-year period, the legislation protecting the area (HR 1138/S 583) was passed by Congress in August of 2015. The legislation established more than 275,000 acres of wilderness in three units:

  • The Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness (117,000 acres)
  • The White Clouds Wilderness (91,000 acres)
  • The Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness (88,000 acres)

These names honor former Idaho Sen. James McClure (1924-2011) and the Nobel-prize winning author Ernest Hemingway, who is often associated with nearby Ketchum, Idaho.

Get Out and Explore the Boulder-White Clouds!

ICL worked hard and long to keep this area pristine and accessible for future generations. Find great hikes in the Boulder-White Clouds—or join us for our wilderness stewardship program!