Post Summary: Fun Activities To Do In McCall, Idaho in Winter
“Idaho may not have the highest mountains or the deepest canyons, but you get it all to yourself, and I think that’s what makes this place so special.”
This is how our new friend we met at Hotel McCall described Idaho, as we ate breakfast over the hotel’s inviting spread. We agreed that we love the quietness Idaho brings (there are only 1.6 million people in the entire state!), and Berty and I believe Idaho does not get nearly the credit it deserves!
We love this state – so much so that it’s our third time visiting in the span of a year! Just a few weeks ago, we were honored to be invited back to Idaho again with Visit Southwest Idaho and Brundage Mountain to experience the winter season here in the town of McCall.
This area of Idaho is packed with adventure, sport, and the coziest of winter activities, so we were excited to experience it all. In this post, we’re sharing why you must visit McCall, Idaho during this time of year and all the things this town provides to adventure lovers!
Love Idaho? Read more posts here:
16 Epic Things To Do In Boise Idaho
An Enchanting Day In Idaho Wineries
Craters Of The Moon: Idaho’s Best Kept Secret
11 Stunning Places To See In The Inland Northwest
6 Reasons To Visit McCall, Idaho In The Winter
Thank you SWITA and Brundage Mountain Resort for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions, photos, and comments are our own. We were grateful for the opportunity to explore a new part of Idaho and discover all the awesome things in the area!
1. Ski/Snowboard On Brundage Mountain
Brundage Mountain is one of 18 ski resorts in Idaho, but this one stands out from the rest. It’s known for being family friendly, with lots of trails for any level of skiier.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a little more adventure, they have that too! Six separate ski lifts give visitors access to over 1,900 acres of terrain to explore and over 18,000 (yes, you read that right) acres of epic guided backcountry skiing via Snowcat.
Berty and I got to spend the morning with Michael, a light-hearted and entertaining ski guide who works for Brundage. With his encouragement, I, a solid green-run type of skier, was able to build up the courage to ski down the “Lakeview” bowl for fantastic views of Payette Lake!
Brundage Mountain offers so many gorgeous views of the surrounding area, you will always find something new to see. We easily spent 3 hours of our morning on Brundage and I’m confident when saying it was the most fun I’ve had on a mountain!
2. View The Annual Ice Sculpture Contest
Every winter, McCall, Idaho comes together and holds an ice sculpture contest. Anyone can enter and if you win a place up to 10th place, you could even receive prize money!
The town delivers snow to your site, and you can get a group together to make your own unique creation/ They invite professionals to create sculptures in Depot Park too, so stop by this place near Hotel McCall to see some amazing sculptures.
The town of McCall, Idaho creates an ice sculpture map around town so that you can drive around and see them all. Berty and I spent one morning driving around and finding our favorite ones. The most memorable one for us was the Moose/Idaho Tribute – which naturally won the people’s choice award. We were so impressed with the detail!
3. Enjoy The Annual Winter Carnival
Every winter (usually late January), the town of McCall, Idaho hosts a Winter Carnival to gather people together and celebrate the wide array of activities to do in this area.
There is everything from bingo and trivia nights to ice sculpture contests (like stated above), a full-scale parade and restaurant deals all over town! We were pleased to come during this festive time – the town felt so alive!
Here are just a few things you can enjoy every year when you visit McCall’s Winter Carnival:
- Playing bar games and eating burgers at the Yacht Club
- Talking a walking tour of McCall and the Ice Sculptures
- Trivia Night at Brundage Mountain
- Beer/Wine Spirit Tastings
- Attending The Craft Fair
The town of McCall created an online and printed calendar sharing all the carnival events, locations, and activities going on around the area. You can find more information on the Winter Carnival at this website!
4. Soak It All In At Idaho’s Hot Springs
What better way to end an exciting day on the slopes than with a good soak for your sore muscles! We were impressed with the close proximity of several hot springs in the McCall area – we could count at least four (that we know of!) that were within an hour’s drive of the town!
During our time in McCall, we visited Trail Creek Hot Springs and Gold Fork Hot Springs (see more details about them at this post). In the future, we want to return and visit Burgdorf (accessible only by snowmobile during the winter months), Kirkham Hot Springs, and discover tons of small backcountry soaks along the way.
You can find the perfect one for your trip anywhere in Idaho at this website!
5. Get Cozy At Hotel McCall
Built in 1904 by Pioneer Tom McCall, Hotel McCall has been around since the beginning of the town itself! Located in the center of everything, it’s been able to uphold its historic charm by preserving original furniture, antiques and beautiful paintings throughout the hotel.
Still a family-owned business, Hotel McCall is currently owned by the Carey Family who gives it the warm touches and hospitality that I’m sure has been a long-standing tradition here.
We stayed here during our few days in McCall, Idaho. Our room absolutely exceeded our expectations! We had a large and cozy fireplace, a big desk for working, a luxurious shower (with four shower heads!), and a delicious continental breakfast and coffee served every morning.
We immediately felt at home with all the cozy touches and inviting details. The hotel provides tons of resources at the front desk, including a large and impressive collection of movies to borrow! Next time we are coming to town, we are absolutely staying here again!
Read More: 16 Epic Things To Do In Boise, Idaho
6. Enjoy Brundage Mountain’s “Dinner After Dark”
Sitting in this mid-mountain outpost and sipping wine between courses, Berty and I kept looking at each other, smiling from ear to ear, asking ourselves, “are we dreaming??” To quickly explain, Brundage Mountain Resort hosts an event called “Bear’s Den Dinner After Dark” where a small group of people are escorted up the mountain to an outpost to enjoy an extraordinary meal prepared on-site.
The Bear’s Den Dinner After Dark hosted by Brundage Mountain was a truly unforgettable experience.
We started the evening with 12 couples in the main ski lodge and made the journey up to an alpine mountain outpost in a Snowcat for our meal. Even the ride itself was an experience! It was our first time riding in a Snowcat, and it made the evening feel more special knowing it was an adventure to get there in the first place.
In our cozy hut, we were treated to a four-course meal created by executive chefs, who curated the menu specifically for the evening! Every detail of the dinner was perfect – from the low-light ambiance, the family-style long wooden tables, even down to the rugged lanterns provided for a safe journey to the restrooms outside.
Sitting next to attendees from all over the USA (one couple came from Texas!), people that once were strangers easily became friends by the end of the night.
Here’s a little snapshot of what we were able to enjoy at dinner:
Appetizers: Deconstructed Poke with Ahi Tuna, Avocado, wonton strips, Macadamia nuts, and more.
Soup: Butternut squash soup with Masiman curry and coconut milk.
Main Course: Elk Tenderloin in dark beer, hoisin, and ginger. Sweet potato mash, stir-fry bok choi and veggies.
Dessert: Blackberry Mochi Flambe with passionfruit curd and fresh blackberries. Quite the show!
We’re quickly discovering that McCall, Idaho has a lot to offer, and we can’t keep ourselves away! So much so, we’re already planning a road trip this next month to drive through and check out the places we didn’t have time to see!
Idaho is one of the few places in the world where we feel we can truly relax…it has that certain quietness about it. The kind with sleepy mornings in the mountains, quiet forest walks, and secret hot springs that keep us coming back for more!
Have you ever been to McCall, Idaho in the winter? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
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