Central Idaho is one of the best hiking and mountain biking destinations in the West. The McCall area alone has more than 500 miles of public trails, 300 lakes and 1,400 miles of streams to explore. As Sunset Magazine recently observed, "The region has rolled onto the scene as one of the West's best (and least crowded) pedal-pushing playgrounds."
Right out your door, you'll enjoy 7.8 miles of nonmotorized hiking and biking trails. You can take a morning run, or watch for birds and wildlife on our 152-acre Wildlife Preserve. Elk, fox, moose, herons, sandhill cranes and more are often seen from the trails. Blackhawk offers some of the most scenic real estate in the world.
Ponderosa State Park, set on a hilly peninsula on Payette Lake, offers wide trails and single track routes. You'll see large ponderosa pines, spectacular lake views and, if you're really observant, up to 112 bird species.
The Payette National Forest, with over 2,000 miles of trails, is east and west of town. The Lick Creek Mountains, part of the 300 mile-long Salmon River Range, line the eastern side of Long Valley, and are easy to access from McCall. With a variety of terrain, you can find a trail to fit any destination or skill level.
The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
National Geographic Traveler named The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness as one of the top 50 must-see wild places in America. The 2.3 million-acre wilderness is so vast, so full of scenic beauty, and so unspoiled it's like revisiting the frontier West. Hiking trails (designated wilderness areas are off-limits to mountain biking) are also extensive and varied. You can hike or ride on horseback to mountain ranges, hot springs and lakes on the 1,500 miles of trails found here. But for its size, the region is remarkably easy to access, with 18 airstrips and 28 trailheads that lead into the wilderness from all sides.
Hells Canyon, located directly northwest of McCall, encompasses a 652,000-acre National Recreation Area with a 219,006-acre designated wilderness. Trails typically follow old stock and Forest Service fire routes, and lead to 9,000 foot alpine peaks or descend to the river. The area covers three different geologic regions--from glacially carved lakes, to pine forests, to steep, rocky slopes. The area is great for short day trips or extensive wilderness adventures, but roads to higher elevations are inaccessible for much of the year due to snow. The best time to hike Hells Canyon is June through mid-September or early October.