Camp Lyon was established in 1865 by General Order 36 of the Department of the Pacific which stated that "The force established at these posts will be considered in the filed, no purchase of lumber or other building material will be allowed."
The Camp was built from local timber only, with pole and dirt for the roofs. The Camp buildings sprawled across the valley of the north fork of Jordan Creek in southwestern Idaho Territory, right on the border with Oregon.
The post was established to protect the Owyhee Mine stage route which consisted of two roads: the Overland route through Oregon via Fort Bidwell, and the Humboldt route from Nevada via Camp Winfield Scott. In June of 1865 the all stations on the Humboldt route were abandoned in the face of Indian raids. Troops at Camp Lyon sought to reestablish, then maintain, the stage route.
In 1866 a company of soldiers did battle with 500 Indians just to the south of the camp. The Indians suffered heavy losses, but the soldiers lost only one man and a howitzer. Other incidents occurred, but the Camp was abandoned on April. 13, 1869.
After the soldiers (called "New York wharf rats" by the area's residents) left Camp Lyon the timbers and materials they left behind were salvaged by local ranchers and settlers.