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McCall, Donnelly and Tamarack Resort sit in the heart of Valley County, in west central Idaho. Named for the valley created by the Payette River as it drains Payette Lake to Cascade Lake, the McCall-Donnelly area has become an all-season mecca for outdoor recreationalists. Originally settled to take advantage of the considerable natural resources in the area, in recent years the focus of economic life has shifted; the area has become a model for sustainable, low impact development as its world class skiing, hiking, biking, fishing, and whitewater rafting and kayaking potential has been realized.
McCall's last mill closed in 1977, and far from being a death knell, it cemented Valley County's status as a recreational paradise. Now a premier four season outdoor recreation destination, McCall aka "Ski Town USA" is a full service mountain town. Whether you like to feast on elk tenderloin, Idaho's best powder, or the most awe-inspiring mountain scenery, living in McCall and Donnelly you can have it all!
Early in its history, the McCall area was recognized for its extraordinary recreational potential. McCall was established by Tom and Louisa McCall in 1891, and Tom pretty much set the standard for multitasking; he built a school, hotel, saloon, and post office, named himself postmaster, and involved himself in the lumber business. By the 1920's the area's reputation as a mountain playground was well-established, and the first McCall Winter Festival was held in 1924. Among the featured events were dog sled racing, ski races, and snow shoveling. And there really is such a thing as the good old days; in those pre-civil litigation times, the men of the town built a toboggan ramp extending from the top of the hotel, and finishing on the lake. Not surprisingly, the festival was a huge success and continued annually until 1941. Revived in 1965, it now involves the entire community and is eagerly anticipated throughout the year.
The beauty of the area is such that it didn't take long for Hollywood to come calling. In 1938 Northwest Passage was filmed here. One of the first films to be shot in Technicolor, it starred such luminaries as Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Ruth Hussey. Widely applauded for it's stunning portrayal of Valley County's mountains and lakes it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography (Color) in 1941. It ultimately lost out to The Thief of Baghdad, but it's marriage of cinematography and the natural splendor of the McCall area's attractions marked a stage in the evolution of American moviemaking.
To capitalize on the area's scenic and recreational potential, Shore Lodge was built on Payette Lake in 1948. Offering golf and fishing in summer, skiing in winter, the Lodge was an immediate success. Compared to its cross-state rival Sun Valley, Shore Lodge reflected the character of Long Valley and its residents – warm, friendly, and comfortable. Shore Lodge is as popular as it has ever been, offering visitors to the area and residents a number of entertainment and dining options. The Tamarack Resort, the first ski resort to open in the U.S. in 23 years, began chairlift service in 2004. Its Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course, Osprey Meadows, opened for full play in 2006. Currently, Osprey Meadows and Tamarack's zipline are open in season, and hopes are very high that soon the skiing operation will be back running to its full extent.
Donnelly owes its existence to the coming of the railroad in 1914. Located on the northeast shore of Lake Cascade, formed by the damming of the North Fork of the Payette River, Donnelly superseded Roseberry as the railroad changed patterns of economic development. In its early years, Donnelly was the scene of vicious fighting between cattlemen and homesteaders, as each sought to make use of the fertile valley floor and its agricultural potential. Visitors and residents nowadays have much more peaceful pursuits to enjoy.
One of the local delicacies is the huckleberry. The picking season generally runs from mid-July to the end of August, and like all good things, is celebrated with a festival. The Huckleberry Festival usually takes place in mid-August, and the entire downtown turns purple for the weekend! If you've never tasted huckleberries, it's the perfect opportunity, with vendors selling tasty treats of every description, all featuring huckleberries front and center! Live music fills the air, and the entire family will be sure to find something to amuse, delight, and entertain.
Donnelly is blessed by its location on Lake Cascade. Our warm, dry summers make boating of every description a natural occupation. With numerous places to put in, this 28,300 acre reservoir is a superb boating playground. Whether your inclination is to sail, ski, or explore Cascade's 86 miles of shoreline, you're bound to have a great time.
Idaho is justly famous for its fly fishing. Local experts such as the Idaho Angler or Fly Fish McCall will be only too happy to show you some of the local hot spots. Whether you want to pull rainbows from a raging Snake River or stalk brownies sipping mayfly spinners on a secluded spring creek, you'll find it here. If you've never tried fly fishing, a word of warning – it truly is an art, and an all-consuming passion. But not to worry – being a fly fisherman here is like being a beer lover and living next to the Guinness brewery in St. James Gate, Dublin. You'll never go thirsty, my friend.
With so much beautiful country, why not just get out and start walking. In fact, start right here, at the Lake Cascade State Park. When or if you exhaust those possibilities, we suggest you move on to this list. And then in your next life…I guess you see the point. The hiking and biking possibilities around Donnelly are truly endless, and are of such a high standard of quality as to beggar description. And nothing rewards the hardy trekker or biker like a hot spring soak. Burgdorf Hot Springs will be glad to take those aching muscles and leave a sense of peace and well-being in their stead.
We often find ourselves tripping over our past, and encourage you to do the same. In addition to being a very historic village, Roseberry hosts the Summer Music Festival every, well, summer, in addition to the McCall-Roseberry Idaho July Arts and Crafts. We also have a handful of mining ghost towns to explore – see if you can't find Stibnite, Thunder Mountain and Warren for a glimpse of how things used to be.
The Valley County has been described as a slice of paradise. We are proud of our community, and what we have been able to build. But we're not stopping there - McCall, Donnelly and Tamarack have been blessed by a fruitful past, and anticipate an even fuller future. Come join us, and make your home here, in Ski Town USA.