This McCall Hike Takes You to An Abandoned World War II Plane
This hike is definitely on my bucket list!
Over Labor Day weekend, my fiancé took a quick trip to McCall to enjoy some time by the lake and have some amazing food (honestly, I feel like all I do while I'm in McCall is eat.) I was surprised that when I said "you want to hike to a crashed WWII plane?" that my fiancé was actually interested. I had seen something about the hike on Facebook a few days earlier and it was described as an "easy hike" so I didn't bother looking up more until we were watching the Boise State game at Salmon River Brewery. As I was looking through some details I realized that the terrain on the hike was "easy" but the distance? That was another story. For me 10 miles round trip is nothing. My fiancé is a different story and he was out as soon as I said how long it was. So needless to say the "Loon Lake Trail" hike remains on my bucket list!
Featured by Runner's World Magazine as one of their "Trails of the Month" in 2014, the 10-13 mile hike takes you through the Payette National Forest to the wreckage site of an abandoned B-23 "Dragon Bomber." In January 1943, eight men were on a training mission and were attempting a return flight to McChord Field in Washington State when they encountered a blizzard. They planned to pull off an emergency landing in Boise. Unfortunately, some failed equipment on the plane made that impossible, so the plane crash landed on frozen Loon Lake. It slide into the Payette National Forest about 150 feet from shore.
Luckily, all eight men on board survived (one broke a kneecap) but had to hike 40+ miles over 14 days before they reached a guard station to call for help. Most of that hike was in waist-deep snow in the middle of a freezing Idaho winter. The plane has sat near Loon Lake for 74 years. It's been a favorite of Idaho locals and former presidents! (President George W. Bush mountain biked to the site in 2005.)
Want to check it out for yourself? Runner's World suggests parking at Chinook Campground where parking is free. That's where you'll pick up Trail #080. It begins the buffed out single track hike along Secesh River. A more complete version of the trail instructions can be found HERE.
Afterward, head to Burgdorf Hot Springs to recover from your hike or about 45 minutes back to McCall to refuel on all that good food I told you about!