Winter in McCall: More Fun than You Imagined


You may think that Idaho is a cold place. In the winter, you shut all your doors (fast!), crank the furnace up, and huddle in the corner next to your space heater to wait out the long months until summer. The first part is true. Idaho's temperatures drop significantly during the winter. But the second part is ridiculous. Idahoans revel in the winter, participating in winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Troops of hardcore boy scouts even camp in the snow. But you don't have to camp outside in a snow tunnel you've dug yourself to enjoy the best of Idaho's winter. In fact, there is a place where you can go tubing, watch a parade, attend a concert, look at snow sculptures, and then spend the night in a cozy cabin with your friends. This is the Winter Carnival in the scenic town of McCall, Idaho.

What is the Winter Carnival?

McCall Idaho hosts an annual Winter Carnival. Since 1924, variations of this fair have been a winter hot spot for tourists and Idaho citizens. The first ever festival was actually called the Payette Lake Carnival. The governor of Idaho and 247 other people rode the train up to McCall and the McCall community threw them a party whose success echoes throughout the years. A team of men built a toboggan ride that started at the top of the hill, next to the hotel, and ended out on the frozen lake. Dog sled teams ran vigorous races and ski enthusiasts competed for the winter title. Officially reinstated in 1965, this carnival is beginning its 47th official season.


The carnival has evolved over the years to the point that no visitor can mistake it as they drive around the McCall area. Massive snow sculptures dominate the town's main street. Each of the local businesses plans and carves a fantastic piece as part of a competition. The sky's the limit, and as you drive by you'll likely see a smiling tyrannosaurus rex, a deep sea diver, or a snowmobiler. In the center of town is a snow playground with igloos and slides. For visitors, the town hosts parades, concerts, comedy shows, and a bake sale. Visitors also have the option to compete in one of the many contests. Enter a race event similar to dirt biking, except with dirt bike like snowmobiles or bring your strongest dog to compete in the Monster Dog Pull. The opportunities are endless. If competition isn't your favorite, spend an afternoon at McCall's Activity Barn tubing hill. At night, kick back and watch fireworks light up the lake.


Cabins are a great way to enjoy the mountain air and still be close to the festivities. McCall's many cabins, both located on the lakefront and next to Brundage ski mountain, are cozy and accessible. A short drive from town offers seclusion in the winter wonderland and access to the big party in town. If you prefer being closer to the festivities and quaint businesses, in-town hotels offer plush sleeping arrangements.

McCall's Winter Festival is an Idaho winter must-see. Learn what it is to be a true-blooded, winter-loving Idahoan in McCall's welcoming arms. If you are interested in Idaho real estate, consider a location close to or in McCall. Year round recreation in the picturesque town is a great asset for your vacation needs.

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