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Payette Lakes Trail

The bicycle/pedestrian pathway is ready for construction. The design has been completed and approved by the Idaho Department of Transportation for a 2.75-mile section extending out from the city limits on Warren Wagon Road north towards North Beach. Valley County and Payette Lake Trails citizens' committee has co-sponsored that section of bicycle/pedestrian pathway known as the Payette Lake Trail.

The pedestrian/bike path design consists of two general pathway types: one-way segments on each side of the road; and a two-way segment separated from the road. The first 1.75 miles beginning at the city limits will be one-way segments on each side of Warren Wagon Road. The next section following the divided 1.5-mile portion will become a two-way path by crossing the one-way path on the east side of the road to the west side.

Day Hikes Around McCall
Here are 20 of the best day hikes in the McCall area.
Courtesy of Payette National Forest

Twenty Mile Trail Victor Creek Trail Josephine Lake Loon Lake
East Fork Lake Fork Creek Box Lake Snowslide Lake Maki Lake
Duck Lake Hum Lake Secesh To Loon Lake Louie Lake
Boulder Lake Kennally Creek Trail Goose Creek Falls Scribner Lake
Twin Lakes Grass Mountain Lakes Upper Hazard Lake Big Hazard Lake
Trail Difficulty Ratings Explained

Twenty Mile Trail
The trail head is 18 miles north of McCall on Warren Wagon Road. There is a wooden trail head sign on the road. A short dirt road to the right leads to the trail head with a horse unloading ramp, hitching rails and toilet by the large parking area. There is plenty of room to park horse trailers. There is a bulletin board with trail information. This trail is an easy hike for approximately the first 3 miles. After that it begins to climb steeply for another 3 miles into the high lakes area. Trailhead elevation is 5600' and the lakes are at 7800'. This is a good trail to see wildlife, especially deer. The fishing is excellent in the four very scenic Twenty Mile Lakes but it's a recommended overnight trip for many hikers. Much of the area burned in the Blackwell and Corral wildfires of 1994 and is re vegetating nicely. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Victor Creek Trail
The trailhead is three miles past the Twenty Mile Trailhead. There is limited parking right at the trailhead. Although this trail is 12.5 miles long, a short hike of slightly over a mile through heavy timber brings the hiker to a large meadow that offers an impressive view of the mountains on the opposite side of the Payette River. The trail is used as access to several lakes especially Trail Lake and Victor Lake. Much of the area is re vegetating from the 1994 wildfires. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Josephine Lake
Take the Warren Wagon Road past Upper Payette Lake. Drive over Secesh Summit, down about three miles, turn left at the road marked Josephine Lake. The road is very rough three miles to the trailhead for ordinary passenger cars. The trail is a steep one-half mile hike to a small 13-acre lake tucked into a granite cirque. The lake elevation is 7400' with a 120' elevation gain. This is a favorite fly fishing spot. The drainage partly burned in the 1994 fires. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Loon Lake
Travel north on Warren Wagon Road to the Chinook campground a mile beyond where the road last crosses the Secesh River. Enjoy a 5.25-mile trek to beautiful Loon Lake. This is a 10.5-mile round trip hike with only a 200' elevation gain. Many people do this as a long day hike. The trail can be done as a loop, which means you have to ford the Secesh River at the campground. This is best done on the return so you won't be hiking in wet boots or trying to cross cold water barefooted. It is also recommended as an overnight trip leaving plenty of time for fishing and swimming. A pleasant shorter trip is the 3.5-mile walk to the suspension bridge that crosses the Secesh River. Starting elevation is 5676' and the lake elevation is 5800'. Outside the campground there is a horse use area. This area includes an unloading ramp, hitching rails, plenty of room to park horse trailers, and a toilet. This trail is also a very popular mountain bike trail; keep an eye out for them. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

East Fork Lake Creek
This is the alternative trail to Maki Lake mentioned below. Instead of entering the Lake Fork Creek campground and crossing Lake Fork Creek, drive across the first bridge on the main Lick Creek road about 1 mile past the campground turnoff. You will see on the south side of the bridge a large dispersed camping area. You may park there and follow the trail that parallels Lake Fork Creek. This trail is one mile to the trailhead across from the campground. The 2-mile round trip hike is a very pleasant one. If you want to stretch your legs but are not looking for an arduous trip, this is it. It is a rolling stretch of trail with little if any elevation change. There are huckleberries along the trail, interesting rocks to climb on and a few hidden fishing spots--a good place to get the kids started in hiking. The rest of the East Fork trail except the last mile or two before Maki Lake stays near the starting elevation of 5700'. It is used for mountain biking and except for a couple of places where you may have to carry your bike through the rocks it is a good bike trail. It's also a very popular horse-riding trail. People may use the unloading ramp and hitching rails at the Lake Fork Guard Station. A short ride will take you to the trailhead beside the campground. It is necessary to ford the stream. There is limited parking in this area. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Box Lake
This trailhead is 11 miles up Lick Creek Road from McCall. The trail is called Black Lee Trail after the creek it ascends. The starting elevation is 5680' with an elevation gain of 1863' and a 343' drop from a ridge to the lake. This trail is 3.5 miles long and suggested as an overnight hike for many people especially if you plan on fishing and swimming. The trail switchbacks 800 feet in the first mile and continues to be steep for another mile. The trail makes several crossings of a stream as it passes through meadows. After passing through a short meadow the trail again climbs to arrive at the ridge above the lake. Because of the steepness and the loose rock in the trail it is not recommended for young children. It is one of the bigger lakes in the area and the site of a Chuck Yeager TV commercial before the area burned in the Blackwell Fire of 1994. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Snowslide Lake
Follow Lick Creek Road past Lake Fork campground. As you drive along this area observe the 800 foot dome of granite known as Slick Rock on the left. This is a favorite scramble for rock climbers. To get onto the Snowslide trail it is necessary to ford Lake Fork so early spring is not recommended due to high water. The trail to Snowslide Lake is rugged, steep and rocky. It passes through brush, aspen groves and both dry and wet stream crossings. Great granite walls surround part of the lake. Looking towards Lick Creek Road you get the feeling that the lake is perched on the edge the earth. There are several nice camping spots around the lake. Starting elevation at the trailhead is 5910' with the lake at 7175'. If you hike over the pass to Maki Lake the pass elevation is 7890'. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Maki Lake
There are two routes to Maki Lake. There is an apparent trail from Snowslide Lake over the summit of the ridges between Snowslide and Maki but the trail peters out and topo map, compass, and route finding skills are needed to find the lake. The other route to Maki is along the East Fork Lake Fork Trail. To reach this trailhead you ford the river at the north end of Lake Fork campground. The trail is 5 miles to the Maki Lake junction. This is an easily hiked trail despite the distance. There is almost no elevation gain and in most places it is a scenic, easy-to-walk-on trail. At 5 miles there is a sign pointing west to Maki Lake. The last mile is a steep 1000' climb into the lake area. Maki Lake is at an elevation of 7293'. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Duck Lake
This is a short hike of approximately 2 miles round trip. It has little elevation gain and makes an ideal hike for most ages and abilities. To reach the trailhead, drive out Lick Creek Road past Slick Rock and up to Lick Creek Summit. Approximately one and half miles beyond the summit are the trailhead sign and a parking area with hitching rails and unloading ramp. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. You will need to make two stream crossings either hopping from log to rock or by wading. Duck Lake sits in a wooded area with a meadow at the upper end and several campsites at the lower end. Other longer hiking trails lead off from here. Trail 085 goes north from the lake and meets up with the Twenty Mile Trail that then leads back to Warren Wagon Road. This is another mountain bike trip that is very popular. The trail starts at an elevation of 6400' climbs to 7000' and ends up at about 6000'. Duck Lake is at an elevation of 6840'. The area burned and is re vegetating after the 1994 Blackwell Fire. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Hum Lake
The new Hum Lake trailhead takes off from Duck Lake. Both Duck Lake and Hum Lake are at approximately 6800' elevation but to get to Hum Lake it is necessary to climb to almost 7800', cross a saddle and drop down again to 6800'. This nearly 1000' elevation gain (and loss) in 1.5 miles means a steep climb but you are rewarded with great views of both lakes that are usually only seen by mountain goats and other hardy climbers. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Secesh to Loon Lake
This trailhead is just across the road from Ponderosa campground. To get there you drive over Lick Creek Summit and through Lick Creek canyon. With its rock fall, waterfalls, and hanging valleys this canyon is one of the most picturesque drives on the Forest. The trailhead begins by the Secesh Bridge north of Ponderosa Campground. The trail ends at the Chinook Campground off Warren Wagon Road. The total distance from campground to campground is approximately 15 miles. The elevation gain for the full 15 miles is only 1500 feet. Because of the lack of elevation gain this is a pleasant hike for most abilities and you can hike any distance you wish. The trail crosses several small streams as it meanders along the bends and curves of the Secesh River sometimes right along the river and other times 50 feet above it. The trail can be wide enough for 2 people to walk side by side and in other places it hugs the cliffs barely more than a goat's width. Across the river on the west side of the bridge is the Secesh horse camp. There is a hitching rail, loading ramp, and room to park horse trailers. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Louie Lake
To reach the trailhead turn east off Highway 55 at the Elo (Farm-to-Market) Road. Stay on this road until you see a sign for Boulder Lake and turn east again. The Louie Lake trailhead is about 4 miles up the road on the right just before the Boulder Meadows Reservoir. Walk through the trees to Boulder Creek that is crossed on logs. The trail then climbs 300 feet through huckleberry bushes to intersect with the Louie Lake jeep trail at 0.5 mile. Louie Lake is 1 mile further up the trail. Although the trail is a pretty steady uphill walk it is an easily followed trail and does afford some good views of Long Valley far below and some excellent picture taking. Elevation gain is 735'. Louie is a beautiful deep-blue lake with the gray cliffs of Jughandle Mountain overlooking it. The lake contains two small granite islands. The truly ambitious can take off around the southeastern part of the lake to climb Jughandle Mountain itself. Louie Lake has an elevation of 7004' and Jughandle is 8310'. The climb up Jughandle requires expert skills. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Boulder Lake
Boulder Lake is a popular destination for anglers. To get to the trail park your car below Boulder Meadows Reservoir; the trail goes along the north side of Boulder Meadows Reservoir (elevation 6269'). The trail is 2 miles long with an elevation gain of about 700 feet. The trail climbs slowly until just before the lake where you follow a few steep switchbacks amongst the rocks. Boulder (elevation 6973') is a good fishing lake. This trailhead is access for several other good hiking areas for those of you who want a long hike or plan on staying out for several days. Anderson, Maloney, Summit, Rapid, Fogg, and the Kennally Lakes are all accessible from this trail. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Kennally Creek Trail
To reach the trailhead at Kennally Creek campground turn east off Highway 55 onto the graveled and dirt Paddy Flat Road. Drive 14 miles to the campground. The beginning of this trail borders Kennally Creek as it froths over water-beaten boulders. In slightly less than a mile the trail crosses the North Fork of Kennally Creek on a wooden bridge. At 2.5 miles the trail crosses a creek. This is a flat, easy trail and the 2.5 mile trip makes a nice day hike. To hike to the Kennally Lakes or Cougar Lakes is a 15-18 mile steep hike. This is a popular horse trail as is the Needles trail that also takes off from the main Kennally Creek trail. A horse-unloading ramp is just outside the campground. (Trail Difficulty - Moderate)

Goose Creek Falls
(Powerline Trail) Travel west on Highway 55 until you come to the Brundage Mountain turnoff. The Goose Creek Falls Trail sign is three miles up this road. There is usually adequate parking at the trailhead. The trail goes about 100 yards and then crosses an open area recently logged. Goose Creek Canyon and the trail are over a ridge to the west. The trail goes steadily downhill until it reaches Goose Creek Bridge. This bridge takes you across Goose Creek to the junction with Goose Creek Trail #353. From there you turn south (left) and follow the creek downstream for about 300 yards. There has been some limited work done to improve the trail to the falls but the noise of the water from the falls is a good guide to their location. Unlike most trails that gain elevation, Goose Creek Falls Trail starts at 5760' and drops to 5080'. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Twin Lakes
To reach the trailhead take Highway 55 west of town and turn on the Brundage Mountain Road. Take the Goose Lake/Hazard Lake turnoff at the Brundage "Y". Stay on the graveled road going past Goose Lake about a mile. You will see a road to the left. Turn onto that road and drive a short distance to a meadow. You can see a Cattle Association cabin in the meadow. Motorists and hikers are asked to not disturb stock that may be grazing in the area or disturb the cabin residence. The trailhead sign is by a stream. This trail is open to use by two wheeled vehicles. After walking up the trail a short distance you will have to cross the stream. The trail is a 1-mile walk up to the Twin Lakes. The trail climbs steadily but not steeply for an elevation gain of about 400'. The lake is subject to drawdown at the dam so you will want to go early in the summer. The fishing is good and it is a nice place to take a picnic lunch and let the kids scramble around the shores. It is a two-mile round trip. Twin Lakes Trail starts at the elevation of 6721' and the Twin Lakes are 7164'. On the way to Twin Lakes there is a junction where the trail continues west to Granite Mountain and Granite Lookout. The trail from the parking area to Granite Mountain is three miles long. It is a steep, rugged, rocky hike with spectacular panoramic views west into the Little Salmon River Basin and east into the Central Idaho Mountains. The ending elevation is 8478' giving you an elevation gain of 1758'. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Grass Mountain Lakes
This trail begins at the Grass Mountain Lakes Trailhead located on Goose Lake Road approximately seven miles past Goose Lake (20 miles from the junction with Highway 55). It is a nice, easy two-mile hike to the Grass Mountain (Twin) Lakes. The trail goes through the Corral Fire of 1994. Over the saddle to the east, Serene Lake, Coffee Cup Lake, Frog Lake, Disappointment Lake, and Morgan Lake are all nestled-in-the-backcountry lakes that can be accessed from the Grass Mountain Lakes Trail. These lakes offer quality brook trout fishing. The hike to the other lakes is long and a little more difficult but worth the extra effort. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Upper Hazard Lake
There are three Hazard Lakes: Hazard, Upper Hazard and Big Hazard. The Forest Service campground is at Hazard Lake and the trailhead for Upper Hazard Lake is there. The trail to Upper Hazard Lake is 2 miles long and gains about 348' in elevation, starting at 7080' and ending at 7428'. This is a nice hike that passes through several meadows before reaching the lake. This trail is not open to two-wheeled motorized use due to erosion problems in the meadow. Much of the area was old spruce forest that burned in 1994's Corral Fire. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Big Hazard Lake
Drive approximately 27 miles up the Goose Lake/Hazard Lake Road to reach Big Hazard Lake trailhead. This is the largest of the three Hazard Lakes. It is about a 1/2-mile walk through burned and downed timber to reach the lake. The Hazard Fire of 1989 and the Corral Fire of 1994 opened the forest up, and the walk is flat and suitable for most people. The lake itself comes right up to the edge of the forest and there is very little "beach" area. But it is a beautiful, serene lake and it is not uncommon to see people carrying float tubes, canoes or inflatable rafts into the lake to take advantage of the good fishing and quiet beauty. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Scribner Lake
As you follow the Hazard Lake Road around to where it turns right into Road #308 you climb to a point where you can get a grand view looking over Big Hazard Lake and the mountains to the west. It may seem like a long drive another few miles up and over the ridge for the short hike into Scribner Lake but Scribner is a small, but good, fishing lake. The hike climbs through boulders and burned timber for 1/2 mile. (Trail Difficulty - Easy)

Tail Difficulty Ratings