Thursday, July 23, 2020

A multitude of mountain lakes and hikes beckon in NW McCall

Hi all,

It seems that many visitors to McCall are attracted to the Lick Creek Road area for hiking to high mountain lakes for day trips or backpacking. Actually, the high country around McCall has high mountain lakes in many locations. But you shouldn't overlook the hikes and lakes off Goose Lake Road.

That's my topic this week.

Previously, I've blogged about numerous kid-friendly short hikes in McCall, including going to Upper Hazard Lake off the Goose Lake Road. Most of the hikes/lakes in that area are kid-friendly, from super young kids to teen-agers. Think about bringing a fishing pole. Don't forget your bug stuff, either.

Wendy and I joined our COVID buddies Mark and Laurie Anderson for a super pleasant hike to the Grassy Mountain Lakes last Saturday. Wendy and Laurie also were interested in climbing to the top of Granite Mountain, but since Mark and I had done that a number of times, we went for the Grassy Mountain Lakes.

Driving up the Goose Lake Road, it's pretty obvious that Goose Lake itself is well-known and popular with campers, paddlers, anglers, SUPs, etc.

It took a little over 30 minutes from McCall to the well-marked trailhead for Grassy Mountain. It's only two miles to the lakes. We hiked to the top of Grassy Mountain for a bigger view of the whole countryside, and my oh my, what a view! The Wallowas way off to the west. Cuddy Mountain. Seven Devils. Bruin Mountain. Hard Butte. Patrick Butte. The Little Salmon River canyon. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. And then looking back to McCall, you can see a whole series of peaks and ridge-tops that comprise the Payette Crest. In other words, it's God's Country!

All of that is really inspiring to me, refreshes my soul.

We even found some snow on top of the mountain for Huck to check into for a fresh drink.

Looking west, we also could see Coffee Pot Lake, Disappointment Lake and Lake Serene. We'd leave those for another day, since we were day hiking.

On our way back, we took a dive in upper Grassy Mountain Lake, and that was super refreshing ...

Farther up the Goose Lake Road, you'll also should check out:
    - Hazard Lake and Upper Hazard Lake - car-camping, hiking and fishing at the main lake, with an option to hike to Upper Hazard on an easy trail. 
    - Twin Lakes, Hard Butte Lakes, Rainbow Lake - Much longer drive to the end of the Goose Lake Road to reach those lakes. Park and hike from there. I've biked to Twin Lakes and Rainbow Lake.
    - Climb Hard Butte if you're in the 'hood.

Pick up a McCall Adventure Map or a Payette National Forest map for driving directions and general reference. I also like to create a more detailed topo map for my hikes for easier route-finding.

Have fun!
- SS


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