Explore McCall’s forests, lakes, and mountains on foot.
By Ryon Morrin
About 2-3 hours from Eagle, the city of McCall offers countless weekend hikes for beginner-to-advanced hikers. Veteran hiker and McCall Hiking Club member, Billie Jo Premoe, is an expert on McCall’s many treks and trails. Whether you are just getting into hiking or are a seasoned pro, Premoe recommends these three hikes for those looking to explore the beauty of McCall on foot this summer:
Novice: Goose Creek Falls from Last Chance Campground
This hike is highly accessible, making it the perfect trek for beginners. It roughly totals six miles with an elevation gain of 550 ft. Along the way, hikers will see the beautiful forest growth which resides there. In the Spring, you’ll witness the majestic power of rushing water. The falls, at 2.5 miles, cause the creek to plummet sixty feet into a deep canyon pool before continuing downstream. This roar can be heard for quite a distance.
Intermediate: Loop to Louie Lake, up over Twin Peaks and back around to Boulder Lake, leading to Boulder Lake Campground
At seven miles with an elevation gain of 1600 ft, this route provides hikers with more of a challenge. Billie Jo argues that it’s worth the effort though, “Louie Lake, with Jug Mountain looming over it, is spectacular,” she said. “From there, climbers work their way up and over Twin Peaks Saddle and across the ridge to descend to the east end of Boulder Lake. Descending the long hillside to Boulder Lake, hikers are treated to great views to the east of Rapid and Buckhorn peaks.”
According to Billie Jo, the flowers along the hike are amazing. “In the early summer, this area is covered with lupine, a blue carpet with a sweet aroma. Following the south shore of Boulder Lake, adventurers encounter thick forest with varied vegetation. At the west end of the lake, the trail falls rapidly through a rocky terrain which gives way to a more easily travelled trail back to the campground where the loop began is reached once again.”
Advanced: Ridge trail to Loon Lake along the Secech River
With a 1,000-foot elevation and a minimum of 11 miles (you can extend it to 13 if you’re up to the task), this trip is meant for those who’ve worn through the soles of a pair or two of hiking boots. The highlight of this route is the crash site of a B23 Bomber which took place during a snowstorm in 1943. Much of the old war plane remains intact, allowing hikers to witness an untouched relic of the past. Billie Jo recommends seeking out the aircraft in the Fall due to lower water levels on the ford.
From the trail, you can catch breathtaking views of the North and South Loon Mountains, Storm Peak and Victor Peak across the lake. Up close, serene displays of penstemon, lupine, arrow leaf, balsamroot, and various other wildflowers grace the land with their beauty.
Before setting foot on McCall’s many trails, however, Premoe has a few preparation and safety tips for hikers, “Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and a hat to shield you from the Sun’s rays,” she said. Bug spray, lunch, and an extra pair of clean shoes for the return trip are also recommended.
McCall Hiking Club welcomes all who are interested to join the group for a trip. If you would like to join McCall Hiking Club, visit mccallhikingclub.org for more information about planned hikes, as well as other seasonal activities, such as snowshoeing and special dog-friendly trips on the trails.