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Discover the Ultimate Adventure Paradise: A Guide to McCall, Idaho

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McCall, Idaho, offers year-round outdoor adventures from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and water sports. Nestled in the Payette National Forest, this scenic town is a haven for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Overview of Adventure in McCall, Idaho

Nestled in the heart of Idaho’s stunning Payette National Forest, McCall is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure in a serene and picturesque setting. Known for its year-round recreational opportunities, McCall offers something for every type of adventurer. From the pristine waters of Payette Lake to the powdery slopes of Brundage Mountain, the region is a playground for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

In the summer, McCall transforms into a haven for water sports, hiking, and mountain biking. Payette Lake’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, while the surrounding trails cater to hikers and bikers of all skill levels. Come winter, McCall becomes a snowy wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders to Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort. The area’s abundant snowfall and varied terrain make it a top destination for winter sports.

McCall’s vibrant community is deeply connected to its natural surroundings, fostering a unique local adventure vibe. Whether you’re participating in a community fun run, joining a local ski club, or climbing at one of the area’s gyms, you’ll find a welcoming and enthusiastic community ready to share the adventure.

McCall Idaho

Getting to McCall, Idaho

Reaching McCall, Idaho, is part of the adventure, offering travelers scenic routes through some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. The most common way to get to McCall is by car, making it an ideal destination for a road trip.

If you’re flying in, the nearest major airport is Boise Airport (BOI), located about 100 miles south of McCall. From Boise, you can rent a car and enjoy a picturesque two-hour drive through the mountains. The journey takes you along State Highway 55, known as the “Payette River Scenic Byway,” which offers breathtaking views of the Payette River, lush forests, and rugged mountain terrain.

For those preferring public transportation, the Valley County’s Treasure Valley Transit offers a bus service from Boise to McCall, providing a convenient and affordable option. The service runs several times a week, making it easy to plan your trip.

Once in McCall, getting around is straightforward. The town is compact and walkable, and there are plenty of local services offering rentals for bikes, boats, and other adventure gear. Whether you’re driving or taking public transit, the journey to McCall is a delightful prelude to the adventures that await.

McCall, Idaho’s Local Adventure Vibe

McCall, Idaho, is a tight-knit community with a robust adventure culture that thrives year-round. This small town, known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, boasts numerous clubs and events that cater to outdoor enthusiasts.

In the winter, the McCall Winter Sports Club is a prominent fixture, providing opportunities for both competitive and recreational skiing at nearby Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort. Events like the McCall Winter Carnival, featuring snow sculptures, parades, and ski races, highlight the town’s festive and adventurous spirit.

Runners will find a home in the Payette Lakes Running Club, which organizes regular group runs and events, including the Payette Lake Run. This annual event attracts runners from all over, offering breathtaking courses around the lake.

Mountain biking enthusiasts can join the Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association (CIMBA), which maintains an extensive network of trails and hosts events such as the McCall Enduro, drawing bikers eager to tackle challenging terrain.

Other unique adventure aspects include the vibrant Nordic skiing scene, with clubs like the McCall Nordic and Biathlon Club hosting events and training sessions on beautifully groomed trails. The local culture is also steeped in water sports, with organizations dedicated to kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing on Payette Lake.

Uniquely McCall, Idaho

McCall, Idaho, is a destination like no other, offering unique experiences that set it apart from other adventure hotspots. One of the most distinctive features of McCall is Payette Lake, a stunning glacial lake with crystal-clear waters that provide a perfect setting for a range of water activities. In summer, the lake is bustling with kayakers, paddleboarders, and boaters, while in winter, it transforms into a serene frozen landscape ideal for ice fishing and skating.

Another unique aspect of McCall is its hot springs. The area boasts several natural hot springs, such as Burgdorf Hot Springs, which offers a rustic and relaxing retreat in a picturesque mountain setting. These hot springs are perfect for soaking after a day of adventure, providing a quintessentially Idaho experience.

McCall is also home to the McCall Winter Carnival, a two-week-long festival that features intricate snow sculptures, torchlight parades, and fireworks. This event draws visitors from far and wide, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere in the heart of winter.

The local wildlife is another draw, with the chance to spot animals such as moose, elk, and bald eagles. Ponderosa State Park, located on a peninsula extending into Payette Lake, is a prime spot for wildlife viewing and offers a network of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

The town’s commitment to sustainability and conservation is evident in its many eco-friendly initiatives and outdoor education programs, making it a great destination for environmentally conscious travelers.

Best Bars and Restaurants in McCall, Idaho for Adventure Travelers

After a day of exploring the great outdoors, McCall offers a variety of bars and restaurants where adventure travelers can refuel and relax. Here are some top picks:

The Salmon River Brewery: This local favorite offers a selection of craft beers brewed on-site, paired with hearty pub fare. The outdoor patio provides stunning views of Payette Lake, making it a perfect spot to unwind.

Shore Lodge’s The Narrows Steakhouse: For a more upscale dining experience, The Narrows Steakhouse at Shore Lodge offers gourmet meals with locally sourced ingredients. The panoramic lake views and elegant ambiance make it a great choice for a special night out.

My Father’s Place: This classic drive-in burger joint is a hit with locals and visitors alike. Known for its delicious burgers, milkshakes, and friendly service, it’s an ideal spot for a casual meal.

Steamers Steak & Seafood: Located in the heart of downtown McCall, Steamers is renowned for its fresh seafood and prime steaks. The cozy, rustic atmosphere adds to the dining experience.

Best Places to Stay in McCall, Idaho for Adventure Travelers

When it comes to accommodations, McCall offers a range of options for adventure travelers, all bookable on Here are some top picks:

Shore Lodge: This iconic resort offers luxury accommodations with stunning views of Payette Lake. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities, including a spa, fine dining, and easy access to outdoor activities like boating and skiing.

Hotel McCall: Located in the heart of downtown, Hotel McCall offers charming and comfortable rooms with a historic touch. The hotel features an indoor pool, a cozy library, and is within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

Brundage Bungalows: These rustic yet modern bungalows are perfect for those looking for a more private and cozy stay. Located near Brundage Mountain, they offer easy access to skiing and hiking trails.

Best Western Plus McCall Lodge & Suites: This well-appointed hotel offers spacious rooms and a range of amenities, including an indoor pool and fitness center. It’s a great base for exploring the area’s outdoor attractions.

The Scandia Inn: This boutique inn offers a unique Scandinavian-inspired design with modern comforts. It’s conveniently located near downtown McCall and provides easy access to local attractions.

Best Adventures Near McCall, Idaho

McCall, Idaho, is surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty and thrilling adventures. Here are some of the best adventures near McCall:

Brundage Mountain Resort: Known for its “best powder in Idaho,” Brundage Mountain offers exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities. With over 1,500 acres of lift-served terrain and abundant backcountry access, it’s a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. In the summer, the resort transforms into a mountain biking haven, with miles of scenic trails.

Ponderosa State Park: This beautiful state park, located on a peninsula extending into Payette Lake, offers a variety of outdoor activities. In the summer, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and boating, while winter brings opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The park is also a great spot for wildlife viewing, with frequent sightings of deer, moose, and eagles.

Payette River: The Payette River is famous for its whitewater rafting and kayaking. The river offers a range of rapids, from beginner-friendly sections to challenging Class IV and V rapids, making it a popular destination for adrenaline seekers. Guided rafting trips are available for those looking to experience the thrill of the rapids safely.

Gold Fork Hot Springs: Located just a short drive from McCall, Gold Fork Hot Springs offers a relaxing retreat in a natural setting. The hot springs feature multiple pools with varying temperatures, surrounded by beautiful forested landscapes. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of adventure.

Burgdorf Hot Springs: Another nearby hot spring, Burgdorf Hot Springs, offers a more rustic and historical experience. The hot springs have been in operation since the late 1800s and provide a unique glimpse into the past. The natural hot pools are a great way to relax and soak in the tranquil surroundings.

Tamarack Resort: This year-round resort offers a wide range of activities, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to mountain biking, hiking, and zip-lining in the summer. The resort’s extensive trail system and stunning views make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Jug Mountain Ranch: Jug Mountain Ranch is a premier destination for mountain biking, with an extensive network of trails that cater to all skill levels. The ranch also offers golf, hiking, and Nordic skiing, making it a versatile destination for adventure seekers.

McCall Lake Cruises: For a more leisurely adventure, McCall Lake Cruises offers scenic boat tours on Payette Lake. The cruises provide stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests, and are a great way to experience the beauty of the area from the water.

Fishing on Payette Lake: Payette Lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can catch a variety of fish, including trout, bass, and perch. Fishing charters are available for those looking to explore the best fishing spots on the lake.

Hiking the Loon Lake Trail: This popular hiking trail takes you to the beautiful Loon Lake, where you can explore the remains of a B-23 bomber that crashed during World War II. The hike offers stunning views and a unique historical experience.


McCall, Idaho, is a true gem for adventure travelers, offering a diverse range of outdoor activities in a breathtaking natural setting. Whether you’re skiing down the slopes of Brundage Mountain, rafting the wild rapids of the Payette River, or soaking in the soothing waters of a natural hot spring, McCall has something to offer every adventurer. The town’s friendly community, unique local culture, and excellent amenities make it an ideal destination for those seeking both adventure and relaxation. So pack your gear, hit the road, and discover the endless adventures that await in McCall, Idaho.

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