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Pets allowed
Yes
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
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Ponderosa State Park occupies a peninsula at the center of Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho. This picturesque mountain lake and its shore are a prime destination for various forms of recreation. From mountain biking to motor boating and everything in between, this park is sure to appease any adventurer. 

The Columbia Plateau lava flow formed the basalt that makes up the peninsula, and 15,000 years ago glaciers carved through this valley forming the basin the lake now fills. The lava flow formed a dam holding the natural Payette Lake. Rugged granite mountains surround this pristine lake. The aptly named park is covered in ponderosas. These tall trees swarm right up to the lakeshore. 

It's easy to see why this is a popular place. In addition to the 162 full-hookup campsites, there are six deluxe cabins and a winter-time yurt available for reservation. Boaters will find a convenient, double-wide ramp with bilateral docks as well as a few other docks near the campground and day use areas. There are several buoyed swim areas with signs indicating that there is not a lifeguard on duty and that dogs are not allowed in the swim areas. For the land lovers, there are plenty of paved walking paths/trails, mountain biking trails, volleyball courts and horseshoe rings. 

A highlight of the park is the viewpoint located at the north end of the peninsula. One can walk, drive or bike to this viewpoint. Be sure to check out the lily marsh on the way. The exposed basalt mound, rising approximately 300 feet above the lake, provides unobstructed panoramic views of Payette Lake and the surrounding peaks. A blanket of wildflowers covers the hilltop in the summer time. 

This park also arguably boasts the best beach in all of Idaho. Located at a separate park unit, North Beach lies at the northernmost point of the lake. One can travel by boat or car. The parking lot is approximately 500 feet from the beach across a marshland. Well-constructed boardwalks provide convenient access over the marsh to the beach. This marsh also provides ideal wildlife viewing opportunities. Osprey, moose, bear and deer have all been known to visit the area. Pale sand stretches across the beach from each end of the lake allowing boaters to beach themselves. Short trees provide adequate shade. The clear water is constantly inviting. 

It's easy to see why this place is a premiere destination with updated, well-maintained facilities and friendly, dedicated staff. McCall is close by, but with all of the outdoor recreation that is offered, visitors can fill their days with endless activities in the park.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Sweeping views. All season access. Wildflowers. Abundant swimming and water activities.

Cons

Busy.

Address

Davis Ave
1920
McCall, ID 83638
United States

Features

ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Showers
Amphitheater
Flushing toilets
Boat ramp(s)
Mountain biking
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Volleyball
Horseshoes
Old-growth forest
Fishing
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big Game Watching

Site type

Full hookups
Cabins
Yurts

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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