Idaho’s Richest Small Town is a Charming Area Hidden Just Minutes from Boise
Idaho might not have the same glitz and glam that you’ll find in say, New York or California, but there are certainly parts of the state that are known to be dripping in wealth. Where is Idaho’s “richest small town?” The answer might surprise you!
GOBankingRates recently analyzed median income data from the United States Census Bureau to determine the richest “small town” in every state. The only criteria for being considered a “small town” for this list was having between 500-15,000 households. Most of the Idaho towns you’re thinking of meet that criteria.
You probably guessed somewhere in the Wood River Valley, right? Thanks to the resort, Sun Valley, Hailey and Ketchum seem to draw celebrities and big investors. Of the three, Ketchum would be the richest. With about 1,567 households, the average median income there is:
That’s a BIG number, but not big enough to make it the richest small town in the state. So, where else? Maybe Harrison, home of Gozzer Ranch? The exclusive community has drawn the interest of celebrities like Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Alex Rodriguez, the Kardashians and Wayne Gretzky. Not a bad guess, but with 121 households, Harrison wasn’t big enough to be considered for the list. Even if it was, the median income there is $69,063 would’ve put it behind Ketchum.
So who got the title of “Richest Small Town in Idaho?” GOBankingRates didn’t JUST include legally incorporated cities and villages, but also “CDPs.” The abbreviation stands for Census Designated Place. The Census Bureau defines a CDP as:
“A statistical geography representing closely settled, unincorporated communities that are locally recognized and identified by name. The purpose of CDPs is to provide meaningful statistics for well-known, unincorporated communities.”
That includes the four planned communities within unincorporated Ada County: Avimor, Cartwright Ranch, Dry Creek Ranch and Hidden Springs. The very first one of these is Idaho’s richest small town, according to the data analyzed by GOBankingRates.
With a median income of $138,895, Hidden Springs is the richest “small town” in the state. The story behind the community is pretty interesting. Back in the day, there weren’t semi-trucks to drive supplies from Lewiston (Idaho’s first capital city) to the newly settled Boise area. Phillip Schick, a New York man working in Lewiston, volunteered to be part of a team of ox-drawn wagons used to perform the task. According to a magazine published by the Associated General Contractors, Schick set up camp near present-day Veterans Memorial Park.
At some point, his oxen wandered off and when he finally tracked them down, he found himself waist-high in grass in what’s now known as the Dry Creek Valley. Impressed with the potential he saw, he came back about a year later and claimed the first homestead there. His farmhouse is still there and, according to the community’s website, it’s one of the oldest intact farmhouses in the state!
Today, Hidden Springs has approximately 1,016 households, a community clubhouse, two pools, a community barn and farm, its own hiking trails and more. People who live in Hidden Springs might have a Boise zip code, but the area is really its own thing.
The only time we've gotten to spend in Hidden Springs was briefly running through it during the Zeitgeist Half Marathon and leading an impromptu parade through it during COVID...so we wanted to know from residents what makes the community so wonderful When it was selected by Reader’s Digest as “The Nicest Place in Idaho” in 2019, residents and former residents left comments like: