If you live in the Boise area and want to get away for a weekend, McCall is often the destination of choice.
We spent a long weekend at the McCall Winter Carnival a couple of weekends ago and had a terrific time. It was good to get away from the phones, appointments, and just relax and walk around the quaint mountain town.
McCall is up in the mountains, at 6,000 feet elevation, and offers a distinct four-season climate that includes a good dose of winter. The town sits on the shore of Payette Lake ~ a gorgeous body of water that is mostly surrounded by public lands.
Winter Carnival is an eclectic mix of ice sculptures (they actually have a contest!), mixed in with what I would call a flea market (I think they had a fancier name), lots of visitors, and Mardi Gras atmosphere.
The carnival is THE event of the year for McCall and a really big deal. We saw license plates from Oregon, California, and Washington and it was apparent that everyone was there to have fun and party!
We stayed in a friend’s newly-remodeled lakefront cabin near downtown and forgot all about our every day routines back in Boise as we lounged around the incredible rock fireplace.
My daughter, Melissa, and her boyfriend Bryan, joined us Friday night and we had a terrific dinner at The Mill (try the prime rib).
Be sure to try the Pancake House at the south end of town for breakfast or lunch, but be prepared for a long wait because this is easily the most popular place in town for those two meals.
They actually close the doors at 2:00 so they can clear people out by their 3:00 closing time!
Not content to just sit around, we rented a snowmobile on Friday and made a 92-mile round-trip excursion up Warren Wagon Road to the old mining town of Warren, where we had bacon cheeseburgers (best ever!).
On the way up the hill, we made the requisite stop at Burgdorff Hot Springs, a funky old mining village of collapsing log buildings that offers a steamy hot spring-fed pool for chilled snowmobilers.
Best of all?
McCall is a leisurely, scenic two-hour drive from Boise.
The scenery in the Payette River canyon is incredible as you make your way through Horseshoe Bend, Cascade, and Donnelly on the way up!