You’re walking through a meadow nestled between a snow-tipped mountain range. Red cedar, juniper, and white-pine trees start at the sky and travel down immense lengths, continuing forever into glimmering reflections on Payette Lake.
McCall, Idaho is a paradise in the fall season for campers, hikers, foragers, and anyone interested in outdoor adventure. Boise claims the nickname “City of Trees,” but McCall comes a close second with its endless forests.
This Valley County resort town is known for winter snowmobile trips and summer ATV journeys — but the fall season offers unique flavors, temperatures, and activities for every traveler.
Ready to experience all McCall has to offer? We’ll cover packing essentials, sites, and fall activities to keep you busy in the McCall area!
McCall’s fall season is a mixed bag of weather. You’ll experience highs of 70 Fahrenheit in September, so pack a swimsuit! Then again, nights can get chilly with a low of 35 that same month. Then, things get extra weird in October, where snowfall can come as early as the 13th!
Bottom line? Fall in McCall is really summer, fall, and winter combined into three months. But at least you’ll get there past the rainy August month.
So you’re not tempted to pack everything but the kitchen sink, here’s a quick list of what we suggest you pack for your fall trip to McCall:
This 7,600-ft mountain is the backdrop for many remarkable landscape shots of McCall, Idaho. Home to the infamous Brundage Mountain Resort, the mountain offers endless snowshoeing, snowboarding, skiing, and hiking opportunities for your next getaway.
Did you know a glacier formed McCall’s Payette Lake over 10,000 years ago? Today, it’s a 5,000-acre freshwater body forming the base for McCall’s many mountains. Savor its sparkly view on your next hike, or immerse yourself fully through a kayaking trek.
And if you’re not one for paddling? Venture to downtown McCall and hop on one of the many scenic cruises, which run until late September.
Peachy-pink sunsets, tall pines, and turquoise rocks set the backdrop for one of Idaho’s natural wonders, the Gold Fork Hot Springs. You’ll need to drive a short 20 minutes away from McCall to Donnelly but the warm mineral-rich waters are so worth it.
If you really enjoy that hot spring, there are plenty more hot springs near McCall, so you could easily spend your vacation testing the temperatures of them all.
Deep in Payette National Forest, you’ll find a backcountry sanctuary filled with log cabins, Christmas-green trees, and peaceful greenery surrounding the Burgdorf Hot Springs.
Fall is the perfect time for a hike — it’s not too hot or cold, and the fall foliage is simply stunning. McCall has endless hiking trails and parks fit for the family or itching adventurer.
Loon Lake is a near-5-hour trek nestled in Payette National Forest. It’s not a trail for the faint of heart, but a couple of hiking sticks and a cheery attitude will even send your kids bustling through it. You’ll walk through grassy meadows and tranquil forests with gorgeous fall colors until you reach the shimmering lake.
The trail also features a juicy history tidbit. In 1943, the jet plane “Dragon Bomber” crash-landed on a frozen lake, and, miraculously, all eight passengers survived. Think about their 14-day ordeal battling the elements and living off birds and berries. The plane remnants are still there for you to see!
Of course, you’ll also find easier, shorter hiking trails in McCall. If you’re feeling adventurous, pack a tent and sleeping bag and end your hike with a cozy camping sesh. There’s nothing more magical than waking up in McCall, Idaho’s lush forests, with the Columbia Plateau or Seven Devils Mountains peeping through the landscape.
Other notable hiking trails:
Harvesting and gardening aren’t as easy in high-altitude cities like McCall, Idaho. But the fall season sees countless farmers showing their wares on Moonridge drive from June to October. Idaho has tons of produce ready to eat in the fall season — juicy gala apples, heirloom tomatoes with fall colors, plump pumpkins, sweet peaches, hearty potatoes, and more! Stay on the lookout for famous Idaho finger steaks — these organic meat morsels taste heavenly deep fried and battered.
But if you’re only staying for a few days and don’t feel like cooking, the McCall Activity Barn’s Farmers Market always features delicious home-baked goods, ready to eat.
The best part? You’ll take in stunning views of Payette Lake while you browse!
McCall Farmers Market Contributors:
Imagine a succulent rainbow trout filet, seared and seasoned with citrus flavors, garlic, and butter. You can catch the main ingredient of that piece de resistance right here in McCall, Idaho.
With the Payette Lake seeping into the town through the Payette River, there’s no shortage of fishing opportunities in McCall. Fly fishing, bait fishing — whatever floats your boat. But if you’re not much of an angler on your own, the town has many guides that will gladly take you on fishing trips to help you catch your dinner!
Ponderosa State Park has a fishing pier where you can find endless rainbow trout. Sorry, salmon lovers — you just missed the rich summer season for Chinook salmon. But the fall time of year is when the steelhead fish come out to play in Salmon River!
Where to fish:
Have you ever taken in the vastness of Brundage Mountain? While the ski resort of the same name (Brundage Mountain Resort) might sound more familiar, it’s still a fantastic spot for a day trip of mountain biking.
Remember to pack a water bottle and Cliff’s bar before braving the mountain’s infamous single-track, 2.8-mile mountain trail. You’ll work your calves while relishing the incredible Payette Lake views. And if you’re up for a thrill? Try the Hidden Valley mountain biking trail, as you dip down 1,500 feet in a mere 2.3 miles of gorgeous woods and bridges!
Mountain biking trails:
Maybe you’re a golfer, but your partner isn’t. Get them onboard with the bonus sightseeing that comes with every McCall golf course! A September afternoon is warm and sunny, with striking views of sky-high pine trees and the Brundage Mountain.
Where to golf:
Sure, you can pack some of these fall season activities into a day trip — but wouldn’t a few nights give you the freedom to enjoy McCall even more?
Indulge in a luxury resort with an in-unit hot tub, or unwind in a tranquil mountain cabin. You can have it all by booking a McCall vacation home with DoneRight Management.
Explore McCall listings today!
Featured Image Credit: gener200