Fall could easily claim to be the best season for mountain biking in the McCall area.  The crisp chill in the air, vibrant ground cover and drumming sounds of the alarmed forest grouse make for an enchanted escape through the forest. For local riders, it’s an unspoken agreement that we not take for granted any rides we sneak in before winter. As the days get shorter, so do the after-work miles. If you are looking for a few quick, easy rides to get you out on the trail before the sun sets, try two of our favorites:

The Huckleberry Trail

This trail is suitably rated “Intermediate” as some sections are a little bit technical and others are easy as pie!  It meanders along the shores of Payette Lake and through big Ponderosa pines.  Either direction is fun, but when the sun is setting it’s best to ride the loop clock-wise. Either way, it’s an ascent to the tip of the peninsula.  At the single-track’s highest point, it’s worth another short climb to the overlook at Osprey Point for rewarding views of the lake and surrounding mountains.  Return to the Huckleberry Trail for a fun downhill back to the shore. The east side’s single track is a bit rocky and loose in spots, so you’ll want to be in the back seat. The west side has a few rooty sections to maneuver that are best approached head-on – and such is life.

The Payette Rim Trail

This trail ranks high on the fun meter and is also “Intermediate.” Ride it as an out-and-back from the unofficially-named “Corrals Trailhead” off Bear Basin Road or as a lollipop (a loop accessed via an out-and-back). A lot of this trail is new and will eventually connect to single-track circumnavigating Payette Lake a few hundred feet above the water thanks to a lot of hard work from our local trail builders and dreamers.  The ascent is mellow and smooth for the first bit – an easy spin skirting around some cool looking boulders. After crossing the creek (which is really just a babble at this time of year) it becomes a bit steeper with a few rock gardens.  Don’t forget to breathe and look up – you’ll catch some beautiful views of the lake with a few good lookout spots. Once you get to the Forest Service road & rock cairn, turn around and get some well-deserved super fun, fast and flowy downhill (aside from the few rock gardens of course).

“Pro” Tip #1

It’s a good idea to have good tread on your tires.  At the end of summer they’ll wear down…but this is a great time to find summer tires on sale at local bike shops looking to clear out inventory.  Now is a good time to invest in the rubber that sticks and keeps your wheels from sliding out in the loose dirt. Check out local bike shops in the McCall area here.

“Pro” Tip #2

Get a map!  McCall Parks and Recreation has recently produced a trail map that’s got both of these rides.  It’s only $10 and can be picked up at multiple sports shops and stores in town.  Check it out here.