Caribou Mountain rises 9,800 feet with alpine snowfields feeding Tincup Creek, a tributary to the South Fork of the Snake River. Placer gold discoveries high on the mountain in 1871 led to a gold rush that lasted for two decades. In the 1880s sheep and cattle herds passed back and forth in Tincup Creek to graze on summer pasture and activity that still occurs.
The naming of Tincup Creek is uncertain. One story is that a young girl was kidnapped by Indians and the only thing they wanted in trade back to her parents was a tin cup.
The 1.1 million-acre Caribou National Forest was created in 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt established the national forest system and set aside several million acres of western public domain land as forest reserves. The lands were a legacy for future generations to use and enjoy, providing a sustainable supply of timber, water, grazing, wildlife, fisheries, minerals, and outdoor recreation.
Early forest service efforts led to decreases in forest and range fires, improved range conditions, sustainable timber harvest, and access to the national forests for the public. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), formed in the 1930s to relieve the effects of the Great Depression, built many improvements on the national forests. Tincup and Pine Bar campgrounds in Tincup Canyon were part of this
Numerous forest service trailheads are located in Tincup Canyon. For example, the South Fork of Tincup Creek and the Tincup Mountain trails provide excellent day hikes. The rocks are twisted and faulted Mesozoic sandstone and shale deposits between 260 and 65 million years ago, and deformed as part of the Idaho-Wyoming thrust belt. Cretaceous dinosaur fossils are found in the Wayan Formation. Whether driving or hiking, be on the lookout for a variety of songbirds, bald and golden eagles, beaver, muskrat, porcupine, fox, coyotes, deer, elk, and moose.