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With all the adrenaline-inducing single-track and endless scenic hikes in the area, we can sometimes forget about how much we love our urban, multiuse trails. The paved pathways and designated bike routes, the boardwalk, and the lake loop- these are the routes we take daily. The ones that make is possible to take a bike ride as a family, enjoy an evening stroll, or walk downtown for an ice cream cone without having to worry about where to park the car.
And these pathways and connections are expanding. The City of McCall Parks and Recreation Department, guided by the Pathways Master Plan, is working to make both north-south and east-west connections throughout the city. “We finally feel like we have been able to make some big strides in completing some major connections,” says Kurt Wolf, City of McCall Parks and Recreation Director. “Our north-south pathways feel really solid. Now we are trying to infill the east-west connections to tie everything together.”
That all adds up to one impressive amenity and a great way to explore the McCall area on foot or by bike. “One less vehicle downtown or at the grocery store and being able to promote a healthy activity that is fun for the whole family is amazing,” says Wolf.
McCall’s network of pathways make sit easy to see the sights and turn a lazy stroll into an afternoon of adventure. Walk or bike these routes to visit some of McCall’s most iconic locations, take in the scenery, or check out the public art scene.
From the scenic shoreline of Payette Lake to exploring the rich history of this small mountain town, you will be amazed at all McCall has to offer.
1. The “Bearing Wall” at Art Roberts Park (327 E Lake Street)
Start your journey in the company of five curious and casual bears. “The Bearing Wall” was the first piece of public art installed in McCall, and arguably the favorite. This signature sculpture is located at Art Roberts Park overlooking Payette Lake.
2. Legacy Park Fountain (1100 E Lake Street)
Legacy Park is the centerpiece of the McCall community. This spectacular green space is threaded with paths you can stroll or bike. In the summer, the park is buzzing with activity. Swim, play, or lounge at the beach area and grassy fields – and don’t miss the signature fountain! A great stop for a picnic or a cone from Ice Cream Alley.
3. Centennial Park Mosaic Wall (Corner of Railroad and N 3rd Street)
Centennial Park and Centennial Plaza are landmarks established to commemorate the city’s 100th birthday in 2011. The Mosaic Wall at Centennial Park is a combination of colorful tiles and smooth river stones that wind along the sidewalk in a beautiful display of public art.
4. Veteran’s Park (Corner of Lenora and N 3rd Street)
Across the street, at Community Park, you’ll find the Veteran’s Memorial. Follow the pathway to the memorial where McCall’s service members and military veterans are honored.
5. Central Idaho Historical Museum (1001 State Street)
The Central Idaho Historical Museum includes eight buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. A bronze statue representing the Civilian Conservation Corps entitled The Worker is also located here. The Museum lawn is also a great place to see some of McCall’s most famous residents…a herd of mule deer! Please check their website for current tour information: http://cihmuseum.org.
6. Rotary Park – Legend of Sharlie (335 W Lake Street)
Ride to the water’s edge and enjoy the view at Rotary Park. You can take a dip in the lake, picnic under the pines, or frolic on the playground equipment that includes a replica of McCall’s famous lake monster, Sharlie, for the kids to climb on.
Optional Extension | 2 miles (about 15 minutes)
Ride southwest toward Mather Road and turn right to stay on Mather Road. Turn right onto N Mission Street, left onto Stibnite Street, left onto the riverfront/North Valley Rail Trail pathway. Follow until you get to Mission Street. Cross over Mission Street and head down into Riverfront Park along the river.
7. Sheep Bridge (Riverfront Park)
This big red bridge has become a local’s favorite in McCall. Explore the Riverfront Park area or cross the bridge and walk along the natural trails to soak up the day. Foot paths within the River’s Crossing neighborhood across from Riverfront Park are open to the public and offer an easy walking loop to end your iconic tour of McCall.
The natural beauty of McCall is made even more majestic with a series of public art installations throughout the city. From historical legacies like the Civilian Conservation Corps memorial statue to works by the budding future artists of McCall like the Youth Art Installation on Railroad Avenue, this collection of public art is diverse, beautiful, and speaks to the spirit of the city. Follow the Art in the City self-guided bike tour to enjoy 9 of these delightful works of art.
1. “Shortcut” (McCall Public Library)
This jovial bunch of children welcomes visitors to the McCall Public Library and is the perfect first stop on our public art tour. Created by artist Jane Dedecker, the staff at the library have been known to add beach balls, winter scarves, and schoolbooks to the sculpture to celebrate the seasons.
2. Youth Art Installation (Railroad Ave.)
Even retaining walls in McCall are decorated to the nines! This installation was created by art students from the McCall-Donnelly High School Advanced Art Class and provides a welcome pop of color for drivers, pedestrians, and bikers along Railroad Avenue.
3. “Taking Flight” (Corner of Pine and Railroad)
Artist Alisa Looney created this sculpture to represent our deep connection with nature, open skies, and free-flowing rivers. The bright blue steel installation joins a bird taking flight with a person staying grounded, all in a location that takes advantage of beautiful Payette Lake in the background!
4. Big Green Chair (NE corner of Pine St. and Roosevelt Ave.)
This hidden gem is a perfect place to snap a family photo. Find it tucked away under the pines in a little popup park on the corner of Pine and Roosevelt. There are also several picnic tables here where you can stop and enjoy a snack.
5. “Mountain Goats at Play” (Roosevelt Ave.)
Pull up a seat next to three colorful mountain goats in the Alpine Playhouse pedestrian plaza. Artist Matt Babcock’s bright red aluminum installation provides a fun public gathering place to soak in the sunshine. While you are there, check the Alpine Playhouse for the next performance dates!
6. “Going to School” (Brown Park)
Brown Park is an idyllic place to spend an hour or two. Along with playground equipment, benches, and ample green space to enjoy, this site is also where the historic McCall Mill used to be located and has a lovely shoreline path perfect for strolling.
7. “Stalactites” (Legacy Park)
Legacy Park is in the center of it all and features a unique sculpture designed by Zella Bardsley that perfectly frames the view of Payette Lake and Brundage Mountain. While here, enjoy a volleyball court, picnic tables, splash fountain, and an enclosed swimming area.
8. “CCC Worker Memorial” (Central Idaho Historical Museum)
During the Great Depression, more than 25 percent of Americans were suffering from unemployment. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was part of FDR’s New Deal and put America’s young men to work protecting the nation’s natural resources. The CCC accomplished remarkable feats for the environment and agriculture and had a lasting impact on the McCall area. The CCC Worker statue is a monument to their legacy and sits on the lawn of the Central Idaho Historical Museum.
9. “Wings Over McCall” (Deinhard and Hwy 55)
The last stop on our tour, but the first piece of art to welcome you into McCall! “Wings Over McCall” sits at the main intersection of Dienhard and Highway 55, against the backdrop of the McCall airport. This iconic sundial was designed by Ward Hooper.
McCall’s network of pathways gives you a front row seat to some seriously beautiful views. From the golf course to Ponderosa State Park, Payette Lake to shady forests, and more beauty beyond every turn, there is no shortage of natural beauty to see on a ride around town.
It is easy to hop on the trail at any point and make a loop of this route, but for an easy starting point, we like to start this ride on the separated paved pathway in front of Ridley’s Family Market. The path is smooth, wide and a perfect place to kick off your scenic ride.
2. Put a Spring in your Step (or Pedal)
From Ridley’s, head east toward the Payette Lakes Middle School then turn north to connect to the Spring Mountain Ranch paved pathway. This delightful stretch takes you along the outskirts of the city and past thick forested areas, the McCall Golf Course and past meadows and wetlands.
3. Lick Creek Road
Turn west and head toward Ponderosa State Park. This section of the route is a road shared with vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes. At the end of Lick Creek Road, turn north and ride into Ponderosa State Park.
4. Ponderosa State Park
Take the Lakeview Trail at the park entrance to access the Peninsula Trail that follows the western shoreline of the Park. At this point, you can choose to explore the Visitors Center, Amphitheater, Activity Center, and beaches or extend your ride through the Park to see one of the most scenic overlooks in McCall.
Optional Extension: Osprey Point & Narrows Overlook
The trails in the park are dirt single track and the route to the overlook does climb in elevation, but the effort is worth the view! From the Peninsula Trail starting at the Activity Center, ride 3/4 of a mile and connect to the Huckleberry Bay Mountain Bike Trail at the Lily Marsh parking lot. This route will take you another mile to the northernmost point of the park with two stunning overlooks.
5. Lakeside Cruise
When you are ready to head back into town, exit Ponderosa State Park and turn right onto Ruby Street. This turns into McCall Avenue and follows the perimeter of Payette Lake. Continue on to Mill Road, and then turn right onto Pine to put you right at Legacy Park.
6. Explore Downtown McCall
From Legacy Park, pedal through the downtown core and explore the shops and restaurants. If you are looping back to the starting point, meet up with the pathway system next to City Hall on E. Park Street. Ride past the McCall-Donnelly High School and Disc Golf Course until you reach the pathway’s intersection at Deinhard. From here, turn east (left) to get back to Ridley’s.
Optional Extension: North Valley Rail Trail
If you haven’t had enough scenery for one day, extend your ride by continuing straight along the pathway at the Deinhard intersection. The route will take you to Mission Street with a short section of “share the road” riding until a separated paved pathway near the River Ranch community begins. The paved pathway gives way to a natural surface pathway and marks the beginning of the North Valley Rail Trail. Ride the Rail Trail past the Activity Barn up to Heinrich Lane.
To complement the pathways already in place, the City of McCall Parks and Recreation Department has several projects in the works to strengthen the interconnectivity of existing trails and add features to make pathway use more enjoyable.
Flight Path Bike Park | The City of McCall is partnering with the Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association (CIMBA) to develop a flow line and several jump lines adjacent to the existing pathway between Stibnite and Deinhard. “This is a fun one we are planning to start this summer and is a great compliment to the skate park and pump track that are connected to this route,” says Wolf.
Wooley Phase 2 | Will add a paved pathway along Wooley Ave. to connect the end of the Wooley Boardwalk and Davis Ave.
Deinhard Improvements | A short section of paved pathway is planned for Deinhard starting at the intersection of Deinhard and Highway 55 to the Post Office. In addition, a planned development near the McCall Fire Station will include adding a separated pathway along Deinhard starting at Thula Street and connecting with the existing riverfront route that parallels Mission Street.
Lardo Bridge Connection | Engineering is currently underway to build a pathway that connects the Lardo Bridge near Shore Lodge to the Bear Basin connector trail.
Single-track at Spring Mountain Ranch | The Parks department is eyeing a possible single-track line that parallels the Spring Mountain Ranch paved pathway that would utilize log and rock features in the natural landscape.