Welcome to our series “A Simply Awesome Day in...” where we share a full day’s excerpt from one of our family vacation destinations. Today, we offer a fun day from our "McCall, Idaho Itinerary.” Located roughly 2 hours north of Boise, ID, McCall is a beautiful place to spend a summer day, and it's mostly off the radar for those of us living in the eastern U.S.
When I imagine the perfect place to spend a summer, McCall definitely holds a place on the list. It’s a small town centered by a large, glacial lake and offers plenty of amenities and outdoor activities. You can hike and bike, then cool off in the cold, clear, pristine waters of the lake.
From downtown, you can walk to Payette Lake, a grocery store, shops, restaurants, 2 breweries, and a state park. In addition to the obvious water activities, mountain biking is popular here as evidenced by numerous bike rental stores.
McCall’s natural beauty is the focus here, and you’ll find you spend less time on your screen and more time looking at the beauty surrounding you. I can’t wait to return.....
Scenic Chairlift at Brundage Mountain Resort
Take the scenic chairlift up the mountain, explore for a bit, and then return on the lift or walk or bike down. Once atop the mountain, walk about 200 yards to the right to the lookout tower. You’ll have views of Payette Lake, McCall, and on clear days you can see to Oregon.
The kids will enjoy exploring the original Brundage Mountain Lookout Cabin. The trip was fun for everyone, and we would do it again, especially when the kids are older and can bike down.
To bike down from the top, you can take the 6 mile Elk Trail. We saw families taking this ride--they took it slower but it’s doable if you have capable bikers. Here’s a YouTube video of biking the Elk Trail.
Tip: Reserve adult lift ride tickets online and save 20% or look for $3 coupons at local retail stores. With the discount, tickets were $12 adults, $8 kids 7 and older. Free 6 and under. $60 mountain bike package included gear, bike rental, and lift ticket. Note: You can purchase only the adult chairlift tickets online.
Brundage Mountain is open Thursdays through Sundays in the summer PLUS Bonus Days during holiday periods. The chairlift runs 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Check their website to confirm times.
Grab lunch at the resort’s Smoky’s Bar & Grill. It was really good and reasonably priced for the setting. It is open from Noon-5 pm. Enjoy the scenery from their patio.
Note: Open Thursday-Sunday only.
Simply Awesome Tip: The resort has some good swag in their shop.
Directions to Brundage Resort
Located about 20 minutes north of downtown McCall. Take ID 55 N. for approximately 5 miles and turn right on Brundage Rd. Follow signs to the Resort. It is well marked.
McCall Fish Hatchery
On the way back from Brundage, swing by the Fish Hatchery for a quick 30 minute self-guided tour. You’ll learn a lot about salmon migration and see the work they are doing to restore the population. Follow the numbered signs to progress through your tour. Super interesting. Open 8-4 mid-June to mid-September. Admission is free.
Directions: The McCall Fish Hatchery is located within the city limits of McCall - approximately 1/4 mile south of Highway 55 at 300 Mather Road.
Per McCall Chamber of Commerce: “The McCall Fish Hatchery raises about a million young chinook salmon annually, which are released into the South Fork of the Salmon River east of Cascade. The fish from the hatchery migrate to the Pacific Ocean and return as adults weighing about 15 pounds and up. You can see the young fish being raised in the hatchery’s raceways, which are located inside and outside, enabling visitors to see the young fish during any weather.”
Playground and Swim at Browns Park
If your kids still have the wiggles or want to cool off in the lake, head to Browns Park to play and swim. We found it to be much less crowded than Legacy Park and it was just a short walk/bike ride away from Rotary Park.
McCall Brewing Company
McCall Brewing Company is one of 3 breweries in this small resort town. Enjoy good beer and food and a kids menu too. If it’s not too hot, you can dine on their rooftop patio.
See the Full McCall, ID Itinerary
Did you like this simply awesome day in McCall? Too busy to read through a million blogs and guidebooks to figure out what to do on your vacation here?
Simplify your life with our 5 night summer itinerary. Our goal is to help simplify your trip planning by sharing all the details you need for an enjoyable family vacation.
Everything you need to know: where to sleep, eat, and play! This 22 page itinerary includes specific lodging recommendations including cabins on VRBO as well as recommended daily activities:
- Favorite local restaurants
- Kid-friendly craft breweries
- The best beach spots on Payette Lake
- A chairlift ride to the top of a mountain
- Rainy day activities
- A fun, family-friendly hike to an alpine lake
- A scenic family bike ride
- A secret garden
- and much more!