After a brief swing through McCall, Idaho, last summer, we knew a return visit was in the cards! In 2017, we stayed three days. In 2018 … two weeks! That’s how “taken” we were with this place, the mountain version of Goldilocks: not too big/not too small, not too plain/not too fancy, not too boring/not too touristy … JUST RIGHT!
In a bid to secure gainful employment with the McCall Tourism Council, allow me to demonstrate that you really CAN “do it all, in McCall!” At the center of everything is big Payette Lake.
Outdoor recreation is the name of the game here. Mountain biking through lush forests …..
Kayaking the lazy, winding Payette River (up a creek, WITH a paddle!) ….
Hiking up, up, up on beautiful trails …..
(how is it possible that 90% of trails go up, and so few go down?)
BOULDER LAKE LOOP (8.2 mi past not one, not two, but three mountaintop lakes!)
LOWER GOOSE CREEK FALLS (6.2 mi to a thundering waterfall, lunch break optional!)
BEAR BASIN TRAILS (5 mi, don’t forget to stop and smell the (wild)flowers!)
Tired from all that exertion? Time for a soak! Burgdorf Hot Springs has been in operation since 1870, and you can even come here in winter … but it’s gotta be by snowmobile! Take a dip in the large pool (100 degrees) … the two smaller hot tubs (REALLY hot tubs –114 degrees) … or how about a power-scrub in the tub-tub!
If rustic Burgdorf is even a little too civilized for you, seek out Trail Creek Hot Springs … unmarked and about as natural as a hot springs can be! Your inner hippie will approve.
Fourth of July in this area is homespun and patriotic, culminating with gorgeous fireworks reflecting off the water of Payette Lake (assuming you can stay awake until the 10:45 PM start time).
Back at the campground in Ponderosa State Park, the classic camping experience awaits.
Furry friends dropping by for coffee ….
… non-furry friends dropping by for dinner …
(Phoenix friend Joey Julian, who summers in McCall!)
…the world’s best popcorn popper …
(speaking of both the device, and the human)
…breathtaking sunsets just steps away from the campground …
…and interesting neighbors.
Who would think to combine cheetahs, mountain bicycles, and geometrics?
The town of McCall is just a 10 minute walk from Ponderosa, and though just 2,990 full-time residents, that number swells to 12,000 or more during the gorgeous summer months (and seemingly 1,000,000 or more during 4th of July). The beach/marina/boardwalk is the hub of all the action.
Most importantly, McCall’s “Ice Cream Alley” has the best homemade ice cream, and comes through on its promise of “mountain-sized scoops.” This is what we got when we ordered two scoops each!
Diet? What diet!!??
Our final evening in McCall capped off a wonderful two weeks with a Sunset Cruise on “The Idaho.”
Though the cruise went by many gorgeous multi-million dollar “cabins” lining the lake, we’ll take this “simple” house, perched on its own island right in the middle of the water! Yes please!
Though we really did enjoy the three middle-aged ladies who yelled for our attention from the shore and then proceeded to drop their drawers in a perfect trifecta of “full-moons,” the final drop of the sun behind the mountain shores was the best view of the night.
For even more McCall, including a super-cute wild fox, check out our McCall post from last year.
On our way north through Idaho, we stopped outside Twin Falls to visit the world-famous Shoshone Falls. At 212 feet, this waterfall is even taller than Niagara Falls, and gifted us a rainbow to make a wish upon! “I wish Sprinkles would stop farting in the RV.”
Not to mention the world’s saddest sign … “in memory of all who have been lost.” (!!!!!) Did people’s dogs actually fall over the edge? Whaaaaa????!!
Next up, we move from Western Idaho to Eastern Idaho … way, way East, on the Idaho/Wyoming border in the Teton Valley! Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ ….!