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valley county


Valley County is truly a year-round destination for adventure. Only two hours from Boise and with vast mountains, lakes, and trails right out your doorstep, there are plenty of can't miss activities for everyone! Read on to discover all the ways to have fun in the sun in McCall, Donnelly, Cascade, and the surrounding areas.

Riding in the Forest

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Jug mountain ranch
Ponderosa state park
bear basin trail
brundage mountain resort


Whether you're a novice or advanced rider, there's a trail for everyone in Valley County. McCall was voted by TripAdvisor as one one of the 7 best mountain biking destinations for beginners, with ample free (and beautiful) cross-country trails, as well as plenty of places to rent bikes. If you're looking for more of a thrill, both Brundage Mountain Resort and Tamarack Resort offer lift-serviced downhill biking.

pro tip

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If you're an Idahoan, consider purchasing the Idaho State Parks Passport for $10 per vehicle, which offers unlimited access to all Idaho State Parks.
Rafting Team

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cabarton - north fork payette
salmon river canyons
snake river - hells canyon
kelly's whitewater park


Western Idaho is definitely known for its whitewater! You'll find opportunities for splashy thrills and mild floats on the rivers in and around Valley County. Local outfitters offer half-day, full-day, and multi-day excursions that will take you through beautiful canyons, boasting everything from mild to wild whitewater. Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade offers five in-water features for beginner to advanced paddlers, and rents tubes, kayaks, rafts, and paddleboards.


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tamarack traverse - tamarack resort
payette lake peninsula trail - ponderosa state park
boulder lake hike - mccall
blue lake trail - cascade

hiking + foraging

There are virtually unlimited hiking opportunities in Valley County, many of which are well-maintained yet still off the beaten path. You'll be captivated by the beauty of pristine mountain lakes, craggy mountains, expansive meadows, and deep canyons (not to mention the lack of other visitors!). Many trails become accessible mid-late June, with beautiful wildflowers springing in July, and gorgeous fall colors turning in mid-September. Don't miss the plentiful opportunities for foraging in each season as well, including morel mushrooms in spring and huckleberries in summer!


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explore over 300 alpine lakes
float the north fork of the payette river
rent a boat on payette lake
sup or kayak in lake cascade

lake + river fun

With temperatures often reaching the mid-90s(F), you'll find lots of ways to beat the heat! There are so many activities for water fun in Valley County, and no shortage of options for renting motorized and non-motorized watercraft rentals, including surf/ski/pontoon boats, jet skis, kayaks, and SUPs. Lake Cascade is a reservoir stretching from Cascade to Donnelly and has a surface area of 47 square miles. Payette Lake in McCall is a stunningly clean glacial lake covering 5,330 acres and sits at an elevation of about 5,000 feet. Between the two are great opportunities for relaxing river floats down the Payette River. 

River Fishing

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Lake Cascade
north fork of the payette river
louie lake
salmon river


Between gorgeous alpine lakes, sweeping rivers, and stunning lakes close to town, there's no reason to not pack your tackle box when visiting Valley County! Cascade Lake has 83 miles of shoreline (and plenty of sandy beaches) and is well known for its perch, rainbow trout, kokanee, Coho salmon, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, and tiger muskie. If you want to try your hand at fly fishing or a drift boat, hire a guide and hit the Salmon River for a one- or multi-day excursion fishing for steelhead, bass, or trout. 


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warren ghost town
trail creek hot springs
hells canyon jet boat tour
quartz at crystal mountain

further afield

Valley County is aptly known as the crossroads to recreation, and for good reason! There's a lot to experience and do within a short drive of the area. Whether it's exploring the old mining town of Warren (and learning about the region's stalwart Chinese immigrants throughout history), taking a dip in the healing and relaxing natural hot springs, exploring Hells Canyon by jet boat, or seeing an entire mountain made of quartz, you're sure to see epic scenery and make great memories along the way.