One of the highlights of driving to McCall in October is the tamarack, or larch tree. It's a conifer that grows abundantly in the mountains around Cascade and McCall, and its needle-like leaves turn bright yellow in the fall.
Another reason for driving to McCall is to hike to Goose Creek Falls. This easy hike covers 550 feet of total elevation gain and is usually accessible through mid-November. Several trailheads lead to the falls but the Last Chance Campground Trailhead is an excellent choice in the fall because the campground is normally one of the first to open near McCall and one of the last to close.
This five-mile out-and-back hike weaves under a canopy of Douglas fir, spruce and pine. Although the wildflowers are long gone, Mother Nature presents another splash of color with the understory of shrubs as serviceberry, huckleberry and thimbleberry turn orange and red. Along the hiking route, look for several huge granite boulders that provide viewing platforms.
Goose Creek Falls is impressive, as Goose Creek plummets nearly 60 feet over gray granite into a large pool.
To find the falls, hike 2.4 miles from the trailhead to a signed junction. Turn right and go past a small waterfall as the trail ascends 100 feet to a granite outcrop that provides an overlook of the falls. If you want to extend the hike, you can go beyond the falls a short distance to another signed junction.
Turn right to another junction near the bridge that crosses Goose Creek. Here you can either turn right and ascend 1.2 miles to the Brundage Mountain-Goose Lake Road or turn left and hike to the Brundage Reservoir, which is three miles away.
To locate the trailhead, drive west from downtown McCall on Idaho Highway 55 for 7.8 miles and turn right onto FR 257, between mile markers 151 and 152. Follow the road 2.2 miles to a Y-intersection. Turn right into the Last Chance Campground and drive three-10ths of a mile to the signed trailhead, where there is parking for three to four vehicles.