What are some of the best things to do in McCall, Idaho?
After all, when we think about the town of McCall in Idaho, what typically comes to mind?
Well for starters, the town of McCall is a local resort town residing on the western edge of Valley County in Idaho. It is situated on the southern shore of Payette Lake, near the center of the famed Payette National Forest. It’s a bustling town that is slowly growing as the census of 2010 shows that there is a population of about 2,991 people living inside of it.
Fun Fact: The town was named after its founder Tom McCall, who traded a team of horses with Sam Dever for the rights to this land.
The town of McCall was originally known as a logging community but has since changed since the last sawmill closed back in 1977. Since then, this town has become an all-season hub for tourists to visit.
All year-long, this town will be host to a wide range of activities for people to see and do. Especially during the Summer and Winter season where the outdoor recreational activities are at its peak.
From attending the annual Winter Carnival to snowboarding or even relaxing in a hot springs and more, this town has it all.
Which is why if you are wondering exactly what you are able to see or do here in the town of McCall, Idaho, then you are in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in McCall, Idaho.
So if you’re ready, lets get started.
- Things To Do In McCall, Idaho
- Attend The McCall Winter Carnival
- Feed Some Wilk Elk Near Donnelly
- Have Fun At Brundage Mountain Resort
- Explore Around Ponderosa State Park
- Play Some Golf At McCall Golf Club
- Visit The McCall Smokejumper Base
- Play Around Payette Lake
- Relax At The Hot Springs Near Donnelly
- Explore The McCall Fish Hatchery
- Pay A Visit To Charlies Garden
- Check Out Rotary Park
- Eat At Pancake House The Restaurant
- Visit The McCall Farmers Market
- Treat Yourself To A Spa Treatment
- Explore Around Downtown McCall, Idaho
Things To Do In McCall, Idaho
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in McCall, Idaho.
Attend The McCall Winter Carnival
If you’re ever visiting the town of McCall during the late Winter Season, then you might just be able to attend one of the best festivals the state of Idaho has to offer.
Known as the “McCall Winter Carnival“, it is a yearly event that is usually held during the late months of January through early February. It is one of the most popular celebrations in this town as each and every year this amazing event draws around 60,000 visitors from all over the country.
Visitors who attend this carnival will find that there are many exciting events and things for them to see and do. For instance, some of the things they might find here includes stuff like snowbike races, parades, wine tastings, delicious food vendors and more. There is even an amazing fireworks display that is shown over Payette Lake.
But the two most popular events to be held here is definitely the snow sculpture contest as well as a game called snowshoe golf. In the Snow Sculpture Contest, people from all over will come and sculpt their mightiest work of art and try to claim one of the many awards being awarded to the winners. And in the sport of snowshoe golf, it’s basically a game where you play the sport of golf on some snow while wearing snowshoes.
With the town of McCall being famously known for its winter season, this carnival truly is a spectacle to see. Which is why if you are lucky enough to be in the area around the early months of January or February, then this is one event you definitely can’t miss.
Feed Some Wilk Elk Near Donnelly
Do you like animals?
If so, then one of the best things you can ever see or do here in the area of McCall, Idaho is to simply feed some Elk.
Well not exactly in the area of McCall, but more like the area of Donnelly, which is only a short 20 minute drive away from the town of McCall.
It is in this area where you can find a place called Hap & Florence Points. Depending on the amount of snowfall, this place will offer a unique sleigh ride for visitors to experience where they’ll be taken on an hour-long journey to see a heard of elk in their natural habitat.
While taking pictures is encouraged, one of the best things to do however is to definitely feed or pet the wild elk. These elks here are very comfortable with being around other humans and will even approach the sleigh in a calm manner, allowing you to pet them or even feed them with some food.
Do know that if you are interested in doing this type of adventure, that you’ll want to come as early as 15 to 20 minutes prior to your scheduled trip as you’ll need some spare time for check-ins and such. Also you’ll want to dress is a warm clothing as the temperature outdoors will be really cold.
But overall, the entire experience is one that you will never forget.
Have Fun At Brundage Mountain Resort
As you probably know, the area of McCall, Idaho is famously known as being a resort town where people from all over the country or world can come visit for a nice and relaxing vacation.
Not only that, but the area is also one of the best places to see a whole lot of snow especially during the Winter Season. Which means that visitors will be able to do a wide variety of snow related activities here.
And one place which is perfect for this is at a place called “Brundage Mountain Resort“. This resort is located about 10 miles north of the town and features five lifts, 46 named runs, two terrain parks, and plenty of unpatrolled backcountry terrain for some of the best white powder experiences ever.
Visitors who come here can enjoy so many things such as skiing down the slopes or even snowboarding. They also offer various other things too like tubing activities, snowshoeing, and even snowmobile rentals as well. Plus, if you are new to snow related activities, do not worry. They also have a beginner friendly area, which is perfect for those who are wanting to learn and have some fun playing in the snow.
So if you’re looking for some extreme fun and adventures in the snow, then you definitely have to visit the “Brundage Mountain Resort”.
Explore Around Ponderosa State Park
If you want to get away from all the city life and just want to surround yourself with the beauty of nature, then there is no palce better than “Ponderosa State Park”.
Ponderosa State Park is located just north of the town of McCall and is a place that borders three sides of the famous Payette Lake. It spans around 1,515 acres and is a popular place for people from all over to visit for its various recreational activities that it offers.
For instance, hiking is one of the most popular things to do here thanks to its convenient location as well as being surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenic views possible. With the lake sprawling on the side as well as an abundance of wildlife and more, hiking around here will be an experience unlike any other.
Plus, it’s not just hiking that is popular as there are many other things to do here as well. For instance, there are trails where you can go mountain biking on as well as places where you can have a picnic. Not only that, but you can even venture out onto the lake where you can go canoeing, kayaking, swim, fishing, or more.
And during the Winter season, this place transforms into a beautiful place where visitors can even come to snowshoe or even go cross-country skiing.
Whatever the case may be, Ponderosa State Park is one of the best places to visit here in the area of McCall. So if you ever get a chance to visit this city, then this state park should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
Play Some Golf At McCall Golf Club
Lets face it, it wouldn’t be a resort town if there was no golf areas to play at right?
Which is why visitors who come here can be happy to know that there are many areas here which you can play the sport of golf. With one of the most popular places being called the “McCall Golf Club”.
The McCall Golf Club which is located just down the road from Ponderosa State Park is a very popular golfing area to golf at. This golf club contains three nine-hole courses to choose from: Aspen Course, Birch Course, and Cedar Course. Plus, because it is located right next to the state park, occasionally you’ll even find wild animals coming onto the course to join in on the fun.
Also, the best part about this golf club is that they even carry a pro shop inside where you can buy almost any golf related items you can ever imagine. For instance, it is here where you can find the latest golf clubs, balls, tee’s, shirts, pants and more all being sold at reasonable prices.
Or if you are looking for a more famous golfing area, located about ten miles away you can find the Jug Mountain Ranch Golf Course. This golf course is famous for its award-winning 18 hole course which was designed by Don Knott and takes advantages of all the natural landscape in the area.
Regardless of whichever golf club you decide to visit, your golfing needs will definitely be met with satisfaction and joy.
Visit The McCall Smokejumper Base
Have you ever seen a smokejumper before?
Basically they are a specialized group of people (normally firefighters) who will respond quickly to forest fires by jumping out of a plane and parachuting down into the fire’s location.
And here in the town of McCall, Idaho, there is a base here called the “McCall Smokejumper Base“, which is one of the biggest and most active bases in the entire United States.
The base is located on the shores of Payette Lake in the West Central portion of the state. The base is directly adjacent to six National forests which include the: the Boise, Nez Perce/Clearwater, Payette, Sawtooth, Salmon-Challis, and Wallowa-Whitman. These areas present many opportunities for the deployment of Smokejumpers from the aircraft, personnel and equipment.
Best of all is that the McCall jumpers respond to not only the fires that happen in McCall, but also to fires in most of the Western part of the United States.
Visitors who are wanting to visit this base need to come by appointment only and will be led by the current smokejumpers who are working here. Once inside, visitors can learn all about the intense training drills that these smokejumpers must complete as well as how these smokejumpers take care of their gear here at this base.
Overall, it’s a very unique place which you don’t see too often in the United States. Definitely worth a visit.
Play Around Payette Lake
One of the most beautiful places you can ever visit here in the area of McCall, Idaho, is simply the wonders of Payette Lake.
Payette Lake is known to be the centerpiece of activity here in the area of McCall. With each and every year, many locals and tourists alike will descend upon this location for its various amounts of recreational activities.
For example, some of the things visitors can do here includes things like swimming, sailing, waterskiing, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or boating and more. This lake offers an endless amount of activities to keep the entire family entertained for hours on end.
Plus, in the Summer Season on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the McCall Lake Cruises Company offers two hour sunset cruises aboard the beautiful lake. Visitors will be able to set out onto the waters watching the majestic sun go down all while sipping on their favorite summer beverage. There is even a live performance on board depending on the day for a guitarist or even a pianist who will accompany your cruises.
With so many things for people to see and do here, it’s no wonder this lake is the pride and joy of the city. So wear some comfortable clothes, grab some snacks, and enjoy all that this lake has to offer.
Relax At The Hot Springs Near Donnelly
Do you love hot springs?
If so, then you’ll be pleased to know that the area of McCall is actually home to quite a few different hot springs for you to enjoy. Although not all of them are open at the same time. For instance, depending on when you decide to visit the area of McCall, some hot spring facilities may or may only be open during certain seasons.
However one of the most popular hot springs to visit here in this area is one called “Gold Fork Hot Springs“. This amazing hot springs is located about 30 miles south of the city of McCall, and offers a wide range of pools for you to soak your body in.
For instance, visitors who come to Gold Fork Hot Springs will find that this amazing place offers six mineral pools with temperatures ranging between 85 degrees through 110 degrees. Not only that, but there is also a separate pool which kids can use at their own leisure. They also offer suits and tower rental, heated changing rooms, free lockers, and even a geothermal heated sidewalk!
Best of all is that entrance to this amazing thermal pool is actually really affordable. For example, an adult ticket will only cost around $10 dollars a person, while a kids ticket will only cost around $5 dollars a pop. How awesome is that?
Which is why, if you ever find yourself wanting to give your body a nice soothing relaxational soak, then definitely head out down to any one of the hot springs located in McCall.
Explore The McCall Fish Hatchery
One of the most interesting places you can ever visit is a place called the “McCall Fish Hatchery”.
The McCall Fish Hatchery is located within the city limits of McCall, Idaho and was built in 1979 to help rear Chinook Salmon and mitigate fish population loss caused by the construction of the four dams on the Lower Snake River. It is considered to be the first Lower Snake River Compensation Plan Hatchery built in Idaho.
The hatchery also operates a satellite facility located on the South Fork of the Salmon River near Warm Lake, during the summer months. It is there where adult summer Chinook salmon are trapped and spawned at this facility where the eggs are then transported to the McCall hatchery for incubation and subsequent rearing.
Visitors who come to this hatchery are able to explore it in full detail. For instance, this hatchery consists of an incubation area and early rearing room containing 14 rearing containers, two large outside raceways, and a collection basin. Not only that, but the satellite facility will contain a well in the river, a fish ladder, the fish trap, two raceway holding pons, and even a fish spawning area.
This hatchery is a really popular place to visit especially during the Spring and Summer months. It’s open all year round from the morning till 4 in the afternoon every day and allows for self-guided tours or group guided tours which can be arranged by phone.
Whatever the case may be, a trip to this Fish Hatchery will be one of the best things you’ll ever do.
Pay A Visit To Charlies Garden
Do you like gardens?
If so, then you’ll be pleased to know that there is actually a secret garden that not too many people know about called “Charlies Garden”.
Charlie’s Garden is located right between Warren Wagon Road and the shores of Payette Lake, and is one of the most beautiful and interesting gardens you’ll ever see.
This garden has been around for ages however not too many people actually know about this place. It’s privately maintained, but is also open to the public all year round.
This garden which was originally created by landscape designer, Charlie Davidson, has since been passed down to his heirs who are now taking care of this garden. Visitors who come here can roam around and explore all the paths that wind around and throughout the entire botanical oasis as you’ll be able to see many beautiful fountains and plants all with various different colors.
With so many interesting and beautiful plants located here in this garden, visitors will be able to relax in some nice quiet reflection or even take some amazing pictures with this garden as a backdrop.
Definitely something worth visiting if you ever get a chance to visit the city of McCall, Idaho.
Check Out Rotary Park
Sometimes the city life of any particular city can be quite daunting, and even more so when you try to explore it in a more finer detail. It can be quite tiring and stressful exploring all that a city has to offer.
Which is why, sometimes you just want to surround yourself with some peace and quiet.
And here in the area of McCall, Idaho, you can do just that. There is a park called “Rotary Park“, which is located right on the lake and is a great public park for many people to visit.
For instance, this park has all the amenities you would think any park would have, like playground facilities, picnic tables, public restrooms and more. There is also a ton of open green space where you can take your entire family and play a wide range of recreational sports as well.
But the best part has to be the lake. It is here where visitors can come and enjoy a wide range of water recreational activities. Anything from fishing to canoeing or even kayaking can all be done here at your own leisure. Swimming is also allowed here although all swimmers should be warned that they should do this at their own risk. There are no lifeguards watching this area so you have to swim with caution.
Other than that, the Rotary Park is a fantastic place to visit where one can truly be at peace while being surrounded in beautiful nature and scenic views. Definitely one of the best places to visit.
Eat At Pancake House The Restaurant
If you’re ever feeling in the mood for some deliciously good breakfast style foods, then one place you’ll have to visit is one called “Pancake House The Restaurant”.
Pancake House The Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants around the city of McCall. In fact, according to Yelp, they are the highest rated restaurant as well as being the most reviewed restaurant in the entire city of McCall. They specialize in serving up some really delicious breakfast & brunch style foods, burgers, smoothies and more.
Visitors who come here will find that they have a vast menu full of choices for people to choose from. For instance, some of the foods you can find on their menu includes things like: various kinds of salads, various kinds of omelets, various kinds of burgers and sandwiches, various kinds of egg dishes and more. Plus, because they are called the Pancake house, you can definitely expect a full variety of yummy pancakes to eat as well.
The best part about it all is that everything here is made fresh and tastes absolutely delicious. Plus, their pricing for most of the items on the menu are actually really affordable, usually around $10 dollars or less.
Visiting the “Pancake House The Restaurant” is an absolute must if you ever get a chance to visit the city of McCall. It’ll be an experience unlike any other.
Visit The McCall Farmers Market
One of the best things you can ever do when visiting a new city you never been to before, is to simply support the local community.
And here in the area of McCall, Idaho, the best way to support the community is definitely heading down to the local farmers market.
The reason for this is because a farmers market is typically made up of local farmers and vendors who set up shop in an area to try and sell all of their wares. For instance, you can find things like food, cooked foods, kitchen items, household items, handicrafts and more all being sold at any particular farmers market.
And the McCall Famers Market is no different. Although they are only open during the months of June through October or until snow starts falling, they are the best place where you can find so many interesting things. For instance, visitors who come to this farmers market can find things like freshly grown fruits and veggies (lettuce, strawberries, blue berries, corn etc), cooked foods (hot dogs, slushies, smoothies, burgers), handicrafts (soap, towels, spoons etc) and being served by local vendors.
Plus, the best thing about this place is that everything is all really cheap. Not only that, but you know for a fact that the item you are buying is freshly grown or made and is helping a local who needs the money.
So if you happen to be in the town of McCall, Idaho during the months of June through October, then this is a place you should definitely visit.
Treat Yourself To A Spa Treatment
As you know, the area of McCall, Idaho is famously known as being one of the best resort towns in the entire state of Idaho and even Country.
Which is why, one of the best things you can do at a resort is to simply take your body to a spa where you can relax in comfort while your body rejuvenates back to its younger self.
And here in the town of McCall, Idaho, the most popular place to visit is a place called “Unwind Mountain Spa“. Unwind Mountain Spa is located right next to the famous Payette Lake and offers some of the best spa treatments you can ever find in the state of Idaho.
For instance, visitors who come here will find that they offer different types of massages that includes: Thai massage, deep tissue massage, mountain climber, warm lava shell massage and more. They also provide reflexology treatments for the feet as well as facials for the skin. And with additional features like lashes and waxing, this is your one stop spot for all things comfort.
So if you ever want to pamper yourself or your loved ones, then the Unwind Mountain Spa is definitely the place to go. They’ll have you feeling rejuvenated and energized in no time at all.
Explore Around Downtown McCall, Idaho
One of the best things you can simply do when visiting the town of McCall, Idaho is to simply roam around and check out the town in a more finer detail.
After all, the town of McCall is more than just a resort destination where visitors can come and enjoy things like snowboarding, skiing, hot springs, massages and more. In fact, the town of McCall is filled with many other things where you’ll be able to explore such as shops, restaurants, beautiful hotels and more.
Just by roaming around the town, visitors will find that there are a ton of different unique boutique shops, cute cafes, souvenir gift shops, and more all waiting for you to go in and explore. For instance, if you head on down to “McPaw’s Thrift Store“, you might be able to find some treasures like vintage clothing’s, handicrafts, and more all being sold at relatively cheap prices.
There’s also a surprising amount of ice cream shops in the area as well. For instance, “Ice Cream Alley” is a walk-up counter located in an alley on East Lake Street across from Legacy Park. The ice cream here is really cheap at only being about $3.50 a scoop and the portions are enormous.
Plus, there is even a vintage hotel called “Hotel McCall“, which is one of the oldest hotels in the entire area of McCall. It’s still a family owned business and still carries its historic charm by preserving original furniture, antiques, and beautiful paintings all throughout the hotel.
With so many hidden and amazing places here in the town of McCall just waiting for you to explore, it’s no wonder this town is always being recommend as one of the best places to visit in Idaho.
Overall, the town of McCall, Idaho might not be the biggest city out there. But it is a resort town that offers so much in what you can see or do.
So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In McCall, Idaho” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the town of McCall, Idaho, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting the state of Idaho anytime soon, you might be interested in my other Idaho city posts as well:
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~