Summer Adventures in McCall, Idaho

BY ADAM SAWYER

Due to an extensive inventory of sought-after natural attributes and year-round access to them, McCall, Idaho, has rightfully assumed the mantle of a premier recreation resort town. It resides at the heart of Central Idaho’s expansive Payette National Forest, on the southern banks of the forest’s idyllic namesake lake. The warm, dry and inviting summers of the nearly mile-high town beckon visitors to exploit the region’s top-tier hiking, biking, golf and watersport options. And, of course, commensurate food, drink and lodging are found in abundance—with wondrously distinct differences between inside and outside the town center. 

In-town and on the lake, the Ponderosa State Park affords over 12 miles of multi-use trail, water access and Lakeview Deluxe Cabins outfitted with full kitchens. For even more elegant accommodations, the completely renovated Scandia Inn provides clean, modern rooms a stone’s throw away from the rest of the town’s amenities. These include the expertly crafted beers of McCall Brewing Company and the fresh, upscale and globally influenced cuisine being generated by Rupert’s at Hotel McCall. 

Just out of town, the 3-mile out-and-back hike along the Goose Creek Trail is a local favorite for good reason. The somewhat steep but well-cared-for path provides exercise and forested scenery in equal helpings, with the main course being the veiling Goose Creek Falls at the end of the trail. 

Continuing farther out, Burgdorf Hot Springs is a place and an experience unto itself. Even though the mailing address says McCall, the rustic resort is accessed via a 30-mile drive from the town center that traces the western shore of Payette Lake and the North Fork of the Payette River, deep into the omnipresent beauty of the National Forest. The grounds are home to a handful of unique soaking pools, historic buildings that include rentable cabins, all the peace and quiet you could want and, in the best possible way, very little else. Other than a wood stove and some basic furnishings, guests need to bring everything they will want or need for their stay. 

That includes water, bedding, food, and a way to cook it. It’s backcountry camping with a roof and it’s pretty special. But then again so is all of McCall, inside and out. 

If your McCall trip calls for that extra touch of luxury, Shore Lodge—as the name implies, situated right on the lakeshore—has luxe accommodations, a spa for those moments when nothing but pampering will do, top-tier food and drink, and a staff that can arrange nearly any adventure your heart desires.

Plan your McCall, Idaho adventure at visitmccall.org.