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Payette River Scenic Byway

112 miles (180 km)
2.5 hours to drive or 2 days to experience the entire Byway
Expect to pay fees at the various attractions along the way.


A drive along the Payette River Scenic Byway can be very distracting for motorists. Rather than watching the road, you may be more inclined to watch the river as it crashes and tumbles its way over the rocks through the narrow river valley. The best thing to do is take advantage of the occasional pull-offs that allow you to view wilder parts of the river and treat your senses to the sight, sound, smell, and rhythm of Idaho's famous whitewater.

Enjoy the scenic drive along the river through the Boise and Payette National Forests before arriving high in a long and exceedingly picturesque mountain valley dotted with the resort towns of Cascade, McCall, and New Meadows. Between the thunderous roll of the whitewater and the quiet serenity of the valley landscapes, you will find a thrilling adventure as you travel this mountain Byway.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Boise National Forest (ID)

Created in 1908, this national forest contains ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, and plenty of opportunity for recreation.

Brundage Mountain Recreation Area (ID)

With a variety of trails that can be used year-round, theBrundage Mountain Recreation Area offers plenty of entertainmentfor family, friends, or the soiltary adventurer.

Just follow Goose Lake Road to outdoor destinations such asBrundage Mountain Resort where you can swoosh down slopes in thewinter, or in the summer, take the Bluebird Express to the top andmountain bike your way down over 20 various trails. BrundageMountain Resort also organizes whitewater rafting trips for thosethat want to try the rapids.

In search of waterfalls? Travel west on Highway 55 to theBrundage Mountain turnoff. Then take this road three miles to theample parking area at the Goose Creek Falls Trailhead. About a 100yards in, you'll find Goose Creek. Although there's no built trailto the waterfall, just follow the sound of rushing waters to findthe 45-foot Goose Creek Falls.

Other enticing destinations within the Brundage MountainRecreation Area include Twin Lakes, Granite Lake, and GraniteMountain.


This recreation area is located on the northern end of the Byway, 5 miles from the road.

Cascade (ID)

Cascade offers the outdoorsman (or woman) year-round activities. For summer vacationing, visitors can cool off while fishing in Lake Cascade, one of Idaho's premier fishing holes. For more dynamic water adventures, Cascade's proximity to the Payetter River and uncomparable whitewater rafting draws visitors from all over. And because this hamlet is nestled amongst majestic mountains, backpackers and day-trippers will find plenty of hikes to keep them in cool elevations.

When the snow starts falling, winter sports-enthusiasts will take to the hills for over 800 miles of snowmobiling trails and 27 kilometers of Nordic ski trails. Or just find a cozy spot to relax by the fire and watch the snow fall in one of Cascade's comfy inns.

Central Idaho Cultural Center (ID)

The four-acre museum site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps project. The site's historic structures are surrounded by shaded picnic areas and interpretive displays.


This cultural center is located on the north end of the Byway.

Farm-to-Market and Elo Roads (ID)

The Long Valley Finns, primarily at Elo and Roseberry inpresent-day Valley County near McCall, were farmers and loggers.The first Finnish immigrants arrived in Long Valley in the 1890s.They came from eastern Oregon where they had tried homesteading.Long Valley with its forests, mountains and green meadows appealedto them more than the Oregon desert country. Most of the Finns cameto Long Valley between 1900 and 1925.

The largest Finnish community, Elo, was on the Elo Roadsoutheast of present-day McCall. Named for its religious leader andteacher, Rev. John Eloheimo, Elo had a store, post office, school,and a meeting hall. Many of Elo's Finns were Lutherans. In 1917they built the Finn Church located on the Farm-To-Market Road aboutfive miles north of Roseberry and the Valley County Museum. It isone of the best preserved buildings erected in that early pioneerera.


Located on SH 55 near the north end of the Byway.

Hembrey Creek Wetlands (ID)

Numerous types of migratory birds and waterfowl can be seen in their natural nesting habitat in these wetlands. Ospreys return year after year to the same nests to raise their families. In this area, nests are visible on transmission towers.


Located on SH 55.

Historic Eagle (ID)

This pedestrian-friendly district is home to Heritage Park, the Eagle Historical Museum and Eagle Drug Store, which were established in 1906. Several cafes, gift, and antique shops are all within walking distance of the district.


0.5 miles off of the route

Historic Meadows Valley (ID)

This small valley is filled with memories of a time when logging and ranching were a bountiful way of life. The mountains of Central Idaho are still rich with beauty, wildlife, and the warmth of a lifestyle we dream of having again someday.


This valley is located on the north end of the Byway.

Lake Cascade (ID)

Accessible from Cascade and Donnelly, Lake Cascade provides anopportunity for a wide variety of recreation, including fishing,boating, swimming, and wildlife viewing. Numerous day use andcamping facilities are available for all types of camping.

Cascade also offers a 9 hole golf course (played twice for 18holes) right on Lake Cascade, just 1 mile off of Highway 55, turnleft at the Ashley Inn onto Lake Cascade Parkway. Fishing, sailboating and jet skiing are also offered on Lake Cascade.


Located along the Byway, near the northern end.

New Meadows (ID)

This charming small town northwest of McCall offers an 18-hole golf course, Zim's Hot Springs Resort and spectacular pastoral views. Rafting on the Salmon River is available just north of New Meadows in the Riggins area. Just 10 miles to the south of New Meadows is Brundage Mountain Resort, offering skiing and snowcat skiing in the winter and mountain biking and hiking in the summer.


112 miles (180 km)
2.5 hours to drive or 2 days to experience the entire Byway
Main Roads:
ID-55 S
Expect to pay fees at the various attractions along the way.

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