Thursday, July 1, 2010

Consider some fun outdoor destinations in Cascade for the 4th of July

Courtesy Kelly's Whitewater Park Facebook page

Crown Point Trailhead

Chinook salmon

Stolle Meadows and S. Fork Salmon River

(Eagle's Nest singletrack)

Hi all,

This might seem counter-intuitive after the big wind storm in Valley County earlier this week, but I'd suggest heading up to the Cascade area for some outdoor fun. I've got a few suggestions for hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, camping, paddling and hot springs.

Cascade is only 90 minutes north of Eagle and Boise on Idaho 55. It's a gateway to the Boise National Forest, Warm Lake and Lake Cascade State Park.

As for camping, I've always found some cool undeveloped (self-support) car-camping areas in Stolle Meadows near the upper South Fork of the Salmon River. I also like to go past Warm Lake on the paved road and drive to Landmark (elevation 7,000 feet), where it's cooler, and there are many places to camp, including Penn Basin Campground. Grab a Boise National Forest map, cruise around and pick your spot.

While you're near the South Fork of the Salmon River, remember that the chinook salmon season is open, and you can catch and keep up to 5 five per day! This is a very good year for salmon fishing, so try to take advantage of that because they are fun to catch and delicious!
Talk to Tackle Tom's in Cascade for tips on what kind of bait or lures to use to catch those ferocious fighters!

The road to Snowbank Mountain is open to the top, and the Forest Service reported that there is still 4 feet of snow there on top! Drive up there with your skis and skins and barbecue and have a party! Skiing on the 4th of July! Hey, how can you beat that!

Some other stuff to do in the Cascade area:

Check out Kelly's Whitewater Park on the North Fork of the Payette River in Cascade. It's got a number of surfing locations that are ideal for hard-shell kayaks and inflatable kayaks. Gear and Grind in Cascade rents equipment. It also has a beautiful visitors center.

Hike, run or bike the Crown Point Trail, a scenic path that runs along the shoreline of Lake Cascade that's great for the whole family. It's three miles out to the end of the trail, and three miles back. You can access the lakeshore and go for a swim or hang out on the beach.

Go mountain biking or hiking on Eagle's Nest Trail. The 13-mile ride is featured in my book Mountain Biking in McCall. Eagle's Nest features over 2,800 vertical feet of climbing on a Forest Service Road, and then you bomb downhill on a smooth singletrack to the start. It's a tough climb but worth the effort. See map above.

Go soaking in one of several natural hot springs in the Warm Lake area. Some of the popular draws are Trail Creek Hot Springs, Molly's Hot Springs, and Vulcan Hot Springs.

These are just a few ideas for the Cascade area. Consult the Boise National Forest map for many other trails and camping destinations. Have fun!
- SS