The drive from Lake Cascade Sugarloaf Campground to Ponderosa State Park in McCall is about 30 minutes. We passed through Donnelley which is the “Crossroads to Recreation” (per the sign). Donnelley sits on the northern end of Lake Cascade close to the Tamarack ski resort and close to McCall for all your recreational needs.
It wasn’t long and we were at Ponderosa State Park where we have stayed before. The park encompasses about 1,000 acres along a peninsula on Payette Lake near the town of McCall. There are lots of tall Ponderosa pines and sagebrush flats along with lots of wildlife. In winter the park has a variety of snowshoeing and cross country ski trails. The area has hosted a variety of national and international cross country ski races including the 2008 World Masters and the 2002 Seniors Nationals.
Campground: Ponderosa State Park
Location: McCall, Idaho
Site: 18 – Aspen Peninsula (back-in)
Comments: There are three loops (Chokeberry, Blackberry, and Aspen) in the Peninsula Campground of the state park along with a full hookup RV Group Campground. We were in the Aspen loop. Our site was closest to the hiking trails and the lake which made for easy access for hiking and enjoying the water views. We love this state park. We love the Ponderosa pines, we love the smells, we love the hiking trails, and we love the area! Basically, we are in love with Idaho, I guess that is why we lived there for years!
COVID Awareness: 10 out of 10. We did a drive thru check-in at the kiosk. Employee was wearing a mask and was quick and efficient. We drove straight to out site and did not have to interact with anyone.
Our site was across from a rental cabin (appropriately named Fawn) that was quite quaint and deer would wander through out site daily.
The Visitors Center was about a 20 minute walk from our campsite and has a lovely day use area with beach access.
The Peninsula Trail (1.25 mile) runs along the lakeshore from near the Visitor Center north towards the tip of the peninsula and is for hikers and/or bikers. The southern part of the trail is paved and then turns to gravel as you get further north. We could catch the trail right by our campsite which made for great morning walks before our hikes.
The Lily Marsh Hike is about one mile long and is for hikers only. The trail goes through a variety of up and down terrain and finally to a marsh with lots of bird life.
Osprey Cliff Overlook is on the northern part of the peninsula and can be reached by driving or by hiking. It has a great view over Payette Lake.
There is another campground on the far north part of Payette Lake called the North Beach Unit with large sandy beaches and access to the Payette River for some fine kayaking and/or canoeing.
The town of McCall is about 1 1/2 mile from the state park and is a small resort town full of charm. It sits on the southern end of Payette Lake and has coffee shops, ice cream stores, restaurants, outdoor cafes, parks, and great lake views.
And another breakfast around the campfire. All is well at Ponderosa!!