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McCall, Idaho Quick Facts

At-A-Glance
  • Population……………………………………..2,991
  • Elevation………………………………………..5,013 feet
  • Summer Temperature……………………80 ̊(high), 43 ̊(low)
  • Fall Temperature……………………………60 ̊(high), 30 ̊(low)
  • Winter Temperature……………………..30 ̊(high), 13 ̊(low)
  • Spring Temperature………………………50 ̊(high), 35 ̊(low)
  • Average Snowfall (McCall)……………138 inches
  • Average Snowfall (Brundage)……….300 inches
  • # of Hotel Rooms………………………….460
  • # of Vacation Rentals……………………344 (4,429 “pillows”)
  • # of Restaurants……………………………37
  • # of Breweries……………………………….3
Recreation By the Numbers
  • 550 miles of Groomed Snowmobile Trails
  • 100 km of Groomed Nordic Trails
  • 3 Alpine Ski Areas with 2,440 acres of lift-serviced terrain
  • Payette Lake is 5,330 acres and 392 ft. at its deepest point
  • 1,440 miles of rivers and streams
  • 300 Alpine Lakes accessible by hiking or biking
  • 500 miles of Hiking and Biking trails
  • 4 Golf Courses within 20 minutes offering 81 holes of golf

 

History of McCall
This area of Idaho was originally inhabited by the Shoshone, Bannock and Nez Perce Tribes. In the 1880s, Finnish settlers came to the area to homestead. The unique Finnish architecture is still visible today in many barns and homes in the Roseberry area. McCall is named after Tom McCall who, along with his family, settled in the area in 1891. Mining and timber industries drove the area economy until the mid-1970s when the local sawmill closed its doors. Since that time, tourism has become the primary economy with the four-season recreational opportunities bringing visitors year round.

 

Story Ideas

SUMMER & FALL

Hot potato — Vanity Fair and Vogue have both named Idaho one of their top-10 hottest travel destinations. Meanwhile, Travel + Leisure is calling Boise one of the best places to travel in 2018, and Lonely Planet named Idaho’s capitol city one of its 10 favorite U.S. destinations for the year. Only 100 miles north of the city via the breathtakingly beautiful Payette River Scenic Byway, McCall is considered Boise’s backyard playground.

Big fun for the whole family — McCall is a place where the kids will never say, “I’m bored.” Outdoor recreation opportunities are boundless — a hike to Boulder Lake is great for a fun-filled family day, mountain biking trails at Bear Basin have beginner single track, and a standup paddleboard rental is perfect for winding your way up the Payette River near North Beach. McCall also offers golf and mountain bike lessons or kids can be a “Ranger for a Day” at Ponderosa State Park. When it is time to refuel, visit any of our restaurants for a family friendly dining experience.

Affordable escape — Looking for a vacation that won’t break the bank? Try McCall, Idaho, a hidden gem among mountain resort destinations. Travel mid-week for the best lodging rates, pair recreation and accommodations with stay-and-play packages that can garner savings of up to 20 percent, or extend your vacation in McCall with “buy two nights, get one free” specials.

Robust beer scene — McCall has yet to earn the title of “Most Breweries per Capita,” but with three local craft breweries and just under 3,000 residents we are well on our way. Hit the pubs on a tour of our finest brews. Slake your thirst with an “Initial Attack IPA” or Sturgeon Tale Ale” at Broken Horn Brewing Company. Savor Salmon River Brewery’s flagship “Buzz Buzz Porter” or the “ESB: Extra Special Brundage,” named after one of our local ski resorts, in McCall’s historic train depot. Or get a growler of McCall Brewing Company’s “Wobbily Man Smoked Scotch Ale” or “Lemon Ginger Hefeweizen” to go.

Hit the links — You don’t have to be an avid golfer to enjoy a round in McCall, but for those looking for a serious golf getaway we have just the ticket. McCall Municipal Course provides 27 stimulating holes in an affable atmosphere for every level of golfer. Jug Mountain Ranch was ranked one of Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in 2016 along with the prestigious Whitetail Club and its inspiring mountain masterpiece. MeadowCreek Golf Resort in Meadows Valley brings brilliant play and ample friendliness. The area’s five golf courses and combined 99 holes offer plenty of challenges, unbeatable natural beauty, great dining options and affordable greens fees.

Get dirty on the trails — Central Idaho is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the West. The McCall area alone has more than 500 miles of public trails and was named an IMBA Silver Ride Center in 2015. Advanced and beginner riders alike will find exactly what they are looking for in McCall. Lift-serviced trails at Brundage Mountain Resort and Tamarack Resort, sweeping single track, gnarly uphills and technical features will keep you challenged.

Sharlie the lake monster — Payette Lake is the centerpiece of activity in McCall. Whether you are swimming, sailing, waterskiing, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or boating, the lake offers endless activities to keep the family entertained. In addition to providing a perfect place to spend the day, Payette Lake is also home to Sharlie, the resident lake monster. Sightings date back to the early 1900s where reports described a scaly cylindrical body attached to a stumpy cow-like head hurtling through the frigid waters of Payette Lake. Regular sightings of Sharlie have been reported over the years, but no official evidence of Sharlie’s existence has been offered up. Regardless, the residents of McCall need no proof to know she (yes, Sharlie is a she) is real. Her legend continues to grow, adding imagination and mystery to the area folklore as an unofficial symbol of McCall.

Unique eats — McCall has restaurants to satisfy almost every craving or palate, from quick and tasty take-out like handmade sandwiches from Evening Rise Bread Co. to casual fine dining at foodie favorites like Rupert’s at Hotel McCall where Chef Gary Kucy was nominated for a James Beard Award, and at The Narrows at Shore Lodge, which has earned eight consecutive Award of Excellence nods from Wine Spectator, including a Best of Award of Excellence this year. Valley County bistros and eateries source many seasonal ingredients from local ranches and farms, creating delicious fare like morel crepes, buffalo short ribs and huckleberry pie. McCall’s unique eats are nurtured by a mostly local ordinance that dictates no more than 10 percent of its restaurants can be chains.

Soak your troubles away — Rain or shine, soaking in a hot springs is a favorite pastime in McCall. From developed pools to riverside springs, there is no shortage of warm water to find with the area boasting more than 30 mineral-rich springs. Step back in time at Burgdorf Hot Springs, a rustic resort dating back to the 1870s surrounded by the Payette National Forest. Natural mineral water flows into a large, sandy-bottomed pool about five feet deep. You can also enjoy two small “hot pools,” a shallow area for the kids and a bathtub for one overlooking a meadow. Looking for something more adventurous? Try Bernard or Laurel hot springs. Both springs cascade down the rocks into small creeks that require a two-mile hike through the forest to find. Find more hot springs here.

A walk through history — Walking through downtown McCall with an ice cream cone in hand rarely makes us recall this vibrant town started as a 160-acre homestead. Posting a picture to Instagram of a hike to Louis Lake doesn’t automatically trigger memories of dogsled teams battling the elements to deliver a few letters to the backcountry. But beneath the streets of McCall we know today is a rich history that played a vital role in sculpting the culture and amenities we now enjoy. Native American tribes, mountain men, mining, logging and ranching were important staples to McCall’s western legacy. Many remnants of this history are still visible today: Kelly’s Whitewater Park sits on the historic Cascade Mill site, the Roseberry Museum pays homage to Finnish settlers, the Silver Tip Hat Co. in Donnelly is located in the First State Bank building built in 1917, the McCall Train Depot has been transformed into a brewpub and shops, and the beaches of Payette Lake can be seen in the 1939 Spencer Tracy film “Northwest Passage.”

Get crafty — Local McCall, Idaho, artisans pull inspiration from the Gem State’s natural splendor and channel it into amazing pieces of art. Paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, fabrics and tapestries, furniture and more can all be found at our numerous art galleries. The Alpine Playhouse brings the thrill of the stage to life with productions throughout the year and also plays host to the Seven Devil’s Playwright Conference annually. The McCall Arts & Humanities Council’s “Cabin Fever” and “Creative Campus” series offer classes for adults and kids throughout the year to learn everything from photography and ethnic cooking to weaving and dancing.

Fall in McCall — September isn’t just for breaking in new school supplies, it’s the perfect time to enjoy an idyllic Idaho vacation. Set on the shores of Payette Lake, the bustling mountain resort town of McCall offers expansive outdoor recreation opportunities. In the fall, warm sunny days and lack of crowds make the streets feel like your own private Idaho, and lodging packages make a weekend getaway affordable. Try the Foodies Furlough at Shore Lodge starting at $289 per night, the Jug Mountain Ranch golf stay-and-play starting at $164 per night or InIdaho.com’s “buy two nights, get one free” special.

Off the beaten path — If you prefer to take the road less traveled, you have come to the right place. Hundreds of miles of Forest Service roads and established motorized trails in and around McCall can take you just about anywhere. Want to ride your ATV to New Meadows for lunch? You can do it! Want to have the best views of the valley? Head up to any one of the area lookouts for a 360-degree view. Trails range from beginner to expert and wind along rivers and streams, through lush meadows and beneath old-growth forests.

WINTER & SPRING

Seven Winter Wonders — Winter transforms McCall, Idaho, into a powder playground and makes the season a perfect time to vacation here. Experience our Seven Winter Wonders, one for each day of the week: Monday skiing, Tuesday snowmobiling, Wednesday snowshoeing, Thursday family fun, Friday dining, Saturday cross-country skiing, and Sunday relaxation. Lodging packages and stay-and-play deals make a weekend getaway or mid-week adventure affordable. Try Shore Lodge’s spa package starting $199 per person, the Hotel McCall and Brundage Mountain Resort ski-and-play starting at $109 per person, CM Backcountry’s snowmobile rental and lodging package starting at $104.50 per person, or InIdaho’s “buy two nights, get one free” special.

Fun for the whole family — McCall is a place where the kids will never say “I’m bored.” Outdoor recreation opportunities are boundless – a trip to the Activity Barn for snow tubing is great for a fun-filled family day, the Little Ski Hill has a terrain park and wide groomers for kids to test their skills, and the Manchester Ice Rink’s public ice skating is open daily. McCall also offers ski and snowboard lessons at Brundage and Tamarack Resort, or try Nordic skiing with weekly lessons at Bear Basin. When it is time to refuel, visit any of our restaurants for a family friendly dining experience.

Affordable escape — Looking for a vacation that won’t break the bank? Try McCall, Idaho, a hidden gem among mountain resort destinations. Travel mid-week for the best lodging rates, pair recreation and accommodations with stay-and-play packages that can garner savings of up to 20 percent, or extend your vacation in McCall with “buy two nights, get one free” specials.

Robust beer scene — McCall has yet to earn the title of “Most Breweries per Capita,” but with just under 3,000 residents and three local craft breweries, we are well on our way. Hit the pubs on a tour of our finest brews. Sip the “Initial Attack IPA” or Sturgeon Tale Ale” at Broken Horn Brewing Company. Sample Salmon River Brewery’s flagship “Buzz Buzz Porter” and the “ESB: Extra Special Brundage” named after Brundage Mountain Resort in McCall. Or pick up a growler of McCall Brewing Company’s “Wobbily Man Smoked Scotch Ale” or “Lemon Ginger Hefeweizen.”

Fat Bike Fever — Fat bikes have been gaining traction over the last few years in McCall for their ability to grip surfaces a traditional mountain bike cannot traverse, including snow. Groomed trails at Nordic areas like Jug Mountain Ranch and the Activity Barn are a great place test your skills on these fun bikes. In fact, Jug Mountain Ranch was the first resort in Valley County to open up all of its trails to fat biking, and now they boast a network of fat-bike-specific single-track trails. The greater McCall area boasts at least 85km of fat-bike-accessible trails, and the grooming report at mccallnordic.com shows which ski areas allow fat bikes and posts updates on trail conditions.

Hit the slopes — The hunt for a fresh powder stash becomes a full-time job for many in the winter. With an annual snowfall of around 300 inches, the McCall area is home to some of the finest alpine skiing and snowboarding in the Northwest…and an ideal place to find powder. Area ski resorts boast a combined 2,600 skiable acres featuring vertical drops ranging from 1,800 to 2,800 feet. Spend a day cat skiing or boarding and you will have access to more than 20,000 acres of unbelievable snow. As our friends at Brundage Mountain Resort like to say, here you will find the “Best Snow in Idaho!™”

Ride the snow — Riders of all abilities can find open play areas offering gentle slopes, as well as challenging hillsides to tempt even the most adventurous of the “high-markers.” More than 500 miles of groomed trails are maintained throughout Valley County making it nearly impossible to take the same route twice in one winter. Explore terrain independently or try one of the brand-new guided snowmobile tours. Seasoned guides take you to scenic destinations like Clow Point, Granite Lake, Brundage Reservoir, Hazard Lake, Warren, the Brundage Mountain Lookout, and Burgdorf Hot Springs.

Cruise the corduroy — When the sun shines in the winter, powder can play second fiddle to a fresh groomer…a staple for Nordic skiers and something McCall has plenty of. Our five Nordic areas boast close to 100km of combined groomed trails that wind through large stands of Ponderosa pines, across rolling meadows, and up challenging hills. Grooming reports are updated during the winter months at mccallnordic.com. Each year, McCall hosts the ReMastered Nordic Race, which follows the same route as the Masters World Cup hosted in McCall in 2008.

Unique eats — McCall has restaurants to satisfy almost every craving or palate, from quick and tasty take-out like handmade sandwiches from Evening Rise Bread Company to casual fine dining at foodie favorites like Rupert’s at Hotel McCall where Chef Gary Kucy was nominated for a James Beard Award. Several local venues are also getting a facelift this season with Shore Lodge introducing “The Bar” and “The Narrows Steakhouse” in early 2018, Wild River Java building a new, multi-window coffee drive thru, and the addition of a Starbucks in the newly renovated Albertson’s store. Valley County bistros and eateries source many seasonal ingredients from local ranches and farms, creating delicious fare like morel crepes, buffalo short ribs and huckleberry pie.

Adventures in Food — McCall puts a bold spin on dinner. Pairing a rustic setting with elegant fare, the Bear’s Den Dinner After Dark offers an unforgettable adventure for your taste buds. Brundage Mountain has transformed their mid-mountain outpost, the Bear’s Den, into a cozy venue for a spectacular four-course meal after the lifts stop turning. The journey begins by stepping aboard a SnowCat at the base area. The Cat whisks dinner-goers on a short uphill trek to the Bears Den where a warm welcome awaits. Upon arrival, enjoy a complimentary drink (like mulled wine with cardamom-crema) and settle in for a meal featuring seasonal dishes prepared by Executive Chef Devin and team. A wine pairing is included with the meal and there is also a full selection of craft brews, wine, and after-dinner sippers available for purchase. Please visit brundage.com for upcoming public reservation dates.

Soak your troubles away — Snow or shine, soaking in a hot springs is a favorite pastime in McCall. The area boasts more than 30 mineral-rich springs. From developed pools to riverside springs, there is no shortage of warm water to find. We love a trip to Burgdorf, accessible only by snowmobile in the winter. Step back in time at this rustic resort surrounded by the Payette National Forest. Natural mineral water flows into a large, sandy-bottomed pool about five feet deep. You can also enjoy two small “hot pools,” a shallow area for the kids and a bathtub for one overlooking a meadow. Looking for something you can drive to? Try Gold Fork Hot Springs just south of Donnelly. The six pools vary in temperature for your soaking pleasure. Find more hot springs at our Hot Springs page..

A walk through history — Walking through downtown McCall with a cup of coffee in hand rarely makes us recall this vibrant town started as a 160-acre homestead. Posting a picture to Instagram of a snowshoe outing in the Payette National Forest doesn’t automatically trigger memories of dogsled teams battling the elements to deliver a few letters to the backcountry. But beneath the streets of the McCall we know and love today is a rich history that played a vital role in sculpting the culture and amenities we now enjoy. Native American tribes, mountain men, mining, logging and ranching were important staples to McCall’s Western legacy. Many remnants of this history are still visible today: Kelly’s Whitewater Park sits on the historic Cascade Mill site, the Roseberry Museum pays homage to Finnish settlers, the Silver Tip Hat Co. in Donnelly is located in the First State Bank building built in 1917, the McCall Train Depot has been transformed into restaurants and shops, and the beaches of Payette Lake can be seen in the 1939 Spencer Tracy film “Northwest Passage.”