Featuring rolling to extremely steep and broken terrain that supports the growth of conifer forests, Box Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is home to good nature observation opportunities, outdoor recreation, and solitude for interested campers. Located about ten miles northeast of McCall, Idaho, this Bureau of Land Management property is the ideal place for guests looking to enjoy primitive recreation. Access to this BLM park is either via local roads from McCall, or through forest service roads from Payette National Forest.
Here at Box Creek WSA, popular things to do are hiking and backpacking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and photography, and hunting. Additional recreational opportunities within the immediate vicinity of the park include mountaineering and rock climbing, as well as bird watching. If you explore Payette National Forest’s areas, you’ll find more ways to stay active, such as fishing, snowshoeing, picnicking, boating, and mountain biking. Ensure you don’t leave without visiting Payette Lake where you’ll enjoy amazing water-based recreation activities.
If you are interested in camping at primitive sites, you will find good spots within this BLM park. However, for developed camping opportunities, visit either of Payette National Forest or Ponderosa State Park.
Box Creek Wilderness Study Area lies about 10 miles northeast of McCall, in Valley County, Idaho. The WSA is located within the Payette National Forest area and can be accessed both from McCall and the Forest. If you’re coming to the wilderness from McCall, you have various options of which access routes to choose from amongst the different roads that branch off Idaho Highway 55. Four-wheel drive vehicles will make it easy for guests to negotiate some of the dirt roads that lead to the wilderness area.
The use of motorized vehicles and mechanical equipment within Box Creek Wilderness Study Area is not allowed, just as in other wilderness areas. So, as you drive to the park, ensure you look out for signs and post that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are so that you can park your vehicles. Parking areas are provided in these areas. Wheelchairs are allowed in the WSA.
There are no direct transportation services to Box Creek WSA.
Ponderosa State Park lies on the shore of Payette Lake, south of Box Creek WSA, and features campgrounds that offer a diversity of camping opportunities to guests. Camping is available in four locations in the park, with a total of 175 available campsites. Reservations are accepted for the campsites, but the campgrounds are closed in the fall and winter.
Options available to guests here include cabins, campsites with full RV hookups (electric, water, and sewer), campsites with partial RV hookups (electric and water only), group and picnic shelters, and a day-use area. RV length limit within the campgrounds is 88 feet.
Amenities provided include fire rings, picnic tables, dump station, bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers. Potable water is also available.
Things to do here include picnicking, hiking/cycling, mountain biking, fishing, and wildlife and wildflower viewing. Nordic trails here range from recreational to competition to accommodate all abilities.
Quiet hours are from 10pm to 7am.
One of the best ways to explore the entire extent of Box Creek WSA is on foot. Many of the park’s areas are unknown to guests and hardly visited, so those that come along with their best hiking boots can stroll to these areas and observe the pristine beauty of the wilderness. Cameras are handy in these parts.
Additional hiking opportunities, including the chance to hike on easy to strenuous trails, are offered within Payette National Forest, where trails abound.
Mountain bikers and horseback riders are not left out here.
Box Creek WSA features rolling to extremely steep and broken terrain that supports the growth of mixed conifer forest of Douglas-fir, Englemann spruce, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen. Within parts of the park, flora enthusiasts will also find ponderosa pine and larch thriving in places. Some of the plant communities are separated by large granite outcrops in places.
Wildlife and birds that are commonly sighted in the area include ospreys, bald eagles, waterfowl, deer, and moose. Foxes, bear, beaver, squirrels and owls also reside in the area.
This Bureau of Land Management property in Idaho is surrounded by mountains and peaks that tempt guests to test their mountaineering and rock-climbing skills. Experienced climbers don’t think twice about going up the mountains in this area to enjoy panoramic views of the forest.
One of the popular mountaineering sites is Brundage Mountain, where guests not only enjoy rock climbing recreation, but other activities such as backcountry powder skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. The summit of Brundage Mountain straddles the county line with Valley County to the east, in which McCall lies.
The 8.3 square mile Payette Lake is a popular destination among campers at Box Creek WSA, owing to the fact that there aren’t many outdoor adventures that can’t be found there. Trail users can hike, run, picnic and ride mountain bikes here, while water activities such as boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and jet skiing are open to all. Other things to do here are stand-up paddle boarding and sun-bathing.
The lake is 392 feet deep and was carved out by a glacier more than 10,000 years ago.
Fishermen love to camp at Box Creek WSA because it is a great base to set out on angling exercises south of the wilderness at Payette Lake, or within the National Forest on lakes, streams and rivers.
The waters in the McCall area are particularly popular for some of the best fly-fishing experiences in the Rocky Mountain West. Within Payette Lake, for instance, recommended game fish include kokanee, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout. These waters are open year-round to all anglers and have no special rules.
It may also interest you to know that about 46 different fish species are present within the waters of the National Forest. So, get your fishing gear and let yourself go!
Winter is a fantastic time to visit Payette National Forest, thanks to the abundant recreation activities that are on offer at the forest during this time. The high elevation terrain that prevails within the Forest receives lots of annual snowfall that sets the scene for fun activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowboarding, among others.
Besides, in the McCall area, there are more than 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and 30 square miles of snowboarding and backcountry skiing sites.