Explore the most popular camping trails in Payette National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

camping
14 hours ago

Love this place! Super tough hike for me! Almost died lol. But it was really worth it once you get to the top and the view was breathtaking!

Definitely my favorite trail in the McCall area. The hike was tough but the views were totally worth it. Mid October was the perfect time to go as we got to experience all of the fall colors and got to see snow at the lake.

hiking
24 days ago

So beautiful!!! End of September the leaves are all changing color and it was breath taking. Definitely a steep trek and there is loose dirt and gravel so be careful going down. We had the whole trail and lake all to ourselves. There’s a beach area at the lake to relax. The drive up to the trail head is a dirt road but not difficult to drive at all. Enough parking for about 6 cars. Would definitely recommend!

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked in over Labor Day weekend. We went counter-clockwise, starting with crossing the bridge at the trailhead. Trails were well maintained, but exposed because of the fire, so it was HOT.
Once we got to the loop to go to the plane, the trails were a disaster. Continuing counter-clockwise there's a fallen tree that you have to climb over about every 5 feet or so, and then if you go the other way it's a complete marsh with no clear trail and even more deadfall to climb and navigate over. Kind of an ass-kicker on the way back, but that's probably because our morning started with 1.5 hours of navigating through the marsh and deadfall so we were already tired.
Fun trip though, plane was cool.

on Box Lake Trail

backpacking
1 month ago

We set up base camp here for 3 nights and did day hikes in both directions on Crestline Trail - this is really a lovely lake with amazing white sand beach. It's really only about 2.5 miles to the south end of the lake where the beach is. There was a bit of uphill but I would rate this moderate to hard. The distance is pretty short and there are many places where the trail levels out after a good climb, so it's not too bad. The trail is in good shape to box lake - nothing scary or sketchy but a good effort. After Box Lake it gets a bit sketchy - lots of downed trees (look for the downed trees that have obviously been cut to mark the trail) - but nothing scary. Lots of nearby lakes within 7-10 miles for your day hikes - including a lovely view of McCall and Payette lake.

1 month ago

Whew! Tough hike in but the scenery more than makes up for it. The trail is very steep at the beginning and eventually plateaus in some areas. After laying eyes on the lake you are tasked with traversing a steep and rocky trail to the lake's shore. The challenge of this hike is well worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

A serious ass kicker, lots of inclines and dips but the beauty of nature around you is so worth it, there are so many wildflowers and the water is so clear!, nothing beats a hike that really makes you work for it, it’ll pay off big time and the trail maintenance people are super sweet, they do a great job keeping the trail clear so you don’t wander off in the wrong direction, if you want a challenge and a sensory overload, then make this the next hike you go on

backpacking
2 months ago

A group of 8 of us just hiked this loop a couple of days ago. We went down on the West side of the loop (right of the trailhead) and came back up along the Secesh River on the East side of the loop. The hike was fun, moderate, not hard at all but I was disappointed to see so many burned down trees. Although we still enjoyed the hike it would have been breathtaking before the fire destroyed most of the area in the late 2000s. The West side of the loop was very hot and dusty with little shade but the East side along the river was much nicer. We camped at a great beach spot in front of the lake the first night and hiked to see the 23 Bomber which was pretty neat. The hike to the Bomber was easy although we had to climb over burned down logs most of the way. There was also water crossing to it so bring water shoes or climb over a large log. It's easier to hike to the Bomber by taking a right from the campground in front of the lake since we heard the left side was very marshy and wet. The second day we found a hidden Hot Springs called Secesh hotsprings. It was quite a climb up the mountain along the spring but breathtaking once up above. We almost gave up trying to find it but we just kept going up almost to the top of the mountain... There were 2-3 decent size pools but pretty dirty although we cleaned one and enjoyed it. The second night we camped on an awesome beach spot with white sand by the Secesh River. This spot was to the right of the bridge off the Secesh R Trail towards Whangdoodle Trail. About a mile off that trail we crossed the river to find the hotsprings and the beach camp spot was about a half mile back from there. The hotsprings was before the Whangdoodle Trail. Overall we had a spectacular time although I wish I would have known about the burned down trees the entire hike...

This is an awesome day hike! Lunch at the lake and WWII plane wreckage to look at!

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked in to the lake and spent a night. Forest Service crew was doing trail work as we hiked in, cutting out downed trees. This trail kicked my butt and I’m in decent shape at 2800’ with no pack on. At 7100’ with a heavy pack I suffered. Wildflowers were raging! As were the mosquitoes. Packed in a fishing rod but detected no fish in the lake. Visitors to this place need to study up and practice Leave No Trace.

backpacking
2 months ago

My first backpacking trip. I had day hiked this in 2006 with my kids. This was my first overnighter. Sad to see the damage to the forest from the fire but the new growth is encouraging. We saw a wolf on the trail heading out early morning.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! Beautiful wildflowers, solid incline, and well maintained trail. Only took an afternoon to complete!

3 months ago

Beautiful hike. Go in the morning to avoid people.

Went clockwise around trails perfect day hike and plane wreckage was amazing to see! For me 4 hours with a short sandwich stop.

backpacking
3 months ago

This trail is awesome and we can’t wait to do it again. We backpacked up to the lake and stayed the night. The hike to the lake took us 2:15 to get to the lake and 1:45 to make it back. FYI, No snow in July.

Readers need to take note of the intervals of the contour lines. The intervals on the map are large and if your not aware the map can be deceiving.

There are several excellent campsites on the south side of the lake (3 established sites right on the lake and 2-3 about 50 meters off the lake). There is a beach on the south sound of the lake that is perfect for swimming. We were planning on camping on the north side but couldn’t find the trail so we stayed on the south side of the lake.

We hiked the summit west of the lake for fun. There wasn’t a trail so se just scaled the mountain for a fun day hike.

If you feel like hiking in a fishing pole in, there were a lot of fish jumping in the lake during the morning hours.

Bring bug spray!

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes I have done. Had a bachelor hike for my twin brother. It's almost up hill the whole way up. Amazing scenery the entire way. Once you get to the top were you can see the lake it's a step trail all the way to the lake. Very rewarding hike. I would rate this difficult. because of the elevation gain in 3.5 miles. I will be hiking this trail again. Just remember its down hill once you hike back out of the lake.

great view! worth the drive

hiking
4 months ago

Good hike, my 7 yr old hiked it with me, still snow at the top and leading down to the lake. Lots of dead trees but it was pretty in its own way. We stopped where you could see the lake, too much snow and too steep to go down to the lake. A month from now should be good to go. Will do this hike again later.

hiking
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Its takes anywhere from 4 to 5 hours with breaks to complete. its absolutely beautiful went early October there was light snow but nothing unbearable.

backpacking
Monday, September 04, 2017

The views are amazing and the beach camping is all you would want. It needs to be emphasized how difficult the first stretch can be if you are backpacking. There is a lot of steep elevation gain before the trail briefly levels out into a meadow. Then there is some more uphill before dropping down to the lake. Enjoy!

backpacking
Thursday, August 10, 2017

A beautifully strenuous hike up but well worth the effort. While ascending you will plateau two times and crest mountain ridges three times. If you're hiking with dogs access to water Will be after your first crest just a little over a mile up. Once you reach the lake,
The immediate campsites are very nice but used heavily, if you hike around the west side of the lake to the northside you will find more campsites and solitude. Enjoy.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

Great hike. First 45-60 minutes is a bit tough but lots of flat areas after that. The lake is beautiful. Hardly saw anyone and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

trail into lake either direction is in perfect shape. lots of hard work has obviously gone in to clearing deadfall. trails to the bomber crash site were in horrible condition. watch for Mamma Moose and baby at crash site. very very marshy conditions. in mid -late July. at upper end of lake.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hiked 7-14 thru 7-16 and camped at the head of the lake. Snow is all clear, some flat areas are still wet/muddy. Lake is high this year, likely that the sandy beach will be water covered until next year.

Great hike, moderately strenuous just due to the short nature. It is uphill both ways, just like like my grandpa's walk to school. Totally worth either a day hike or an overnight.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

We hiked this last year in June 2016. We hiked to the bomber which was a challenge. The water was high and we had to cross two rivers. It worked out because there were a lot of downed trees we had to hike over so the cold water was a welcome. If you're up for an adventure I'd say do it!! It took us from start to finish with a few resting points about 6 hours.

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

we gave it a try June 26. 2 miles in, lots of snow and lost the trail. we will try again in a couple weeks. beautiful anyway!!

hiking
Monday, July 03, 2017

Spouse and I hiked to Box Lake Saturday morning (7/1/17). Description rates it as "strenuous" but we felt it was somewhere between moderate to strenuous. 1st hour is on the steep side but the rest isn't too bad at all. Ran into snow (approx. 2-3 feet) in the saddle at 7,300 feet or so, but easily made our way to the lake overlook. Trail before snow is in good shape (wet in spots) and the 3 creek crossings are very manageable. Total time with a 20 minute rest/snack stop was 4 hrs and 15 minutes. All in all a great hike with beautiful wild flowers and views. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beautiful! Hard hike but worth it.

mountain biking
Thursday, March 23, 2017

I enjoyed this trail. I would say it is moderate in difficulty but the last half that follows the river is a little tricky. I did this in 2014 and have it on my list for 2017 again. Skilled mountain bikers should have no issues with this trail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

rafting trips, the night b4 campground, very nice and friendly little park.

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