Lakes in Idaho – Lake Cascade State Park#PNW . Idaho . Outdoor Recreation . Trailer Camping . Travel
Lakes in Idaho – Lake Cascade
One of the best recreational lakes in Idaho, Lake Cascade provides ample boating, fishing, and water sport opportunities, with access on all sides of the lake. Boat ramps at multiple campgrounds and access points make it easy to get out on the lake. And fishing spots all around Lake Cascade offer access to Rainbow Trout, Coho Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Perch, and more. This Idaho lake provides year-round recreation. Keep reading below for more information about our top picks for outdoor activities at Lake Cascade.
Outdoor Recreation at Lake Cascade State Park
Whatever your interests, Lake Cascade and the Lake Cascade State Park system are bound to offer what you’re looking for.
- Check out Lake Cascade for all these activities and more:
- Hiking and backpacking;
- Sailing and windsurfing;
- Mountain biking and cycling;
- Lake surfing, and wake boarding;
- Swimming and paddle boarding;
- Motorized and non-motorized boats;
- Camping, picnicking, and horseshoes;
- Winter nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
Lake Cascade Recreation Information – Lakes in Idaho
Outdoor Recreation at Lake Cascade State Park
In this post, you’ll find maps for boating access and winter sport trails, as well as our recommendations for water sports, fishing, and nearby attractions. Across Highway 55 from the lake, you’ll find Gold Fork Hot Springs, a rustic, developed natural hot springs a few miles down washboard roads toward the mountains across the Highway from Cascade. If you’re looking for more developed tourism and other lodging or restaurant options, McCall is a quick 30 minutes away. And for even more secluded camping, don’t forget to check out spots all along the North Fork of the Payette River through the canyon toward Smith’s Ferry and Banks.
Idaho Lakes Map
Lake Cascade State Park Location Overview
Getting to Lakes in Idaho – Lake Cascade State Park
Driving from Boise
- Boise to Cascade, Idaho: 78 miles (126 km).
- Tamarack Marina at Poison Creek Unit from Boise: 94 miles (151 km).
- Boise to Sugarloaf Campground and Boat Ramp: 86 miles (138 km).
Driving from McCall
- McCall to Cascade, Idaho: 31 miles (50 km).
- Tamarack Marina at Poison Creek Unit from McCall: 22 miles (35 km).
- McCall to Sugarloaf Campground and Boat Ramp: 26 miles (42 km).
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Fishing Lake Cascade – Lakes in Idaho
The Best Fishing at Lake Cascade
Lake Cascade has plentiful Rainbow Trout, Coho Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, and Perch. If you don’t have a boat for lake fishing, there are great spots to fish from shore all around the lake. You’ll find one of the best access points at the northwest corner of Lake Cascade. Heading toward the Northern Camping Units and Tamarack Resort from Donnelly and Highway 55, you’ll cross a series of bridges that traverse the northern section of the reservoir. At the last of these crossings, on the south side of the road, there’s a pedestrian bridge and two embankments on either side of the narrow channel that make for the perfect fishing spot. This area is a popular favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Fishing Licenses for Lakes in Idaho
You can purchase in-state or out-of-state fishing licenses nearby in Donnelly or Cascade at Idaho Fish and Game approved vendors. You can also find licenses at regional Fish and Game offices or online. Whether you want to fish off the pedestrian bridge toward the north end of the lake or fly fish a side stream for rainbow trout, you’ll need a license.
- View the Fish and Game list of Idaho resident fees.
- View the Fish and Game list of Idaho non-resident fees.
Boating Lake Cascade – Lakes in Idaho
The Best Boating at Lake Cascade
Six of the state park campgrounds and day use areas have boat ramps and access. With the exception of the West side of the lake along West Mountain Road, Idaho State Parks maintains numerous access points around the lake. If you don’t bring your own watercraft, rent kayaks and stand-up-paddle boards at the Van Wyck Boat Ramp in Cascade, at the lake’s southeast corner. Locate ramps, handling docks, and life jacket loaner stations at Blue Heron, Van Wyck, Sugarloaf, Boulder Creek, Buttercup, and Poison Creek Campgrounds. View the state park location map below for boat ramp access points around Lake Cascade. The Bureau of Reclamation also provides current water level information for the reservoir. For more boating and access information for the entire Payette River Basin, check out this interactive website on Payette River Water Trails.
Winter Sports at Lake Cascade – Lakes in Idaho
Lake Cascade Winter Trails Map
Lake Cascade State Park offers affordable, scenic winter recreation at several locations around the reservoir. A short, 1.2 mile beginners loop starts at the Van Wyck boat ramp in Cascade. Head north past Cascade for more advanced trails and non-groomed routes at the Hasbrouck Ranch Nordic Trails. And for a 2.7 mile groomed nordic ski trail, head to the Crown Point campground for the best shoreline trail and views of the lake.
Lake Cascade Park Loop Ski and Snowshoe Trail Map
An Idaho State Parks Passport or day use pass provides some of the best value for cost when looking for winter recreation opportunities.
- Motor Vehicle Entry Fee: $5 per vehicle.
- Annual Idaho State Parks Pass (in-state): $10.
- Annual Idaho State Parks Pass (out-of-state): $40.
- Visit the Idaho State Parks Website for information about the annual pass and benefits of the unlimited entry passes:Unlimited day use access and entry into all Idaho State Parks.
- Boat launch fees included within the State Parks.
- Access to all hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and Nordic ski trials in the State Park system.
- Non-transferable and connected to your vehicle registration.
- Available for purchase from the Idaho DMV.
Resorts at Lake Cascade – Tamarack Resort
The Best Resort in Idaho – Lakes in Idaho
Check out Tamarack Resort if you’re not excited about tent or trailer camping. Tamarack has dozens of private homes and cabins available as vacation rentals. We’ve stayed in half a dozen different places, all comfortable and spacious with their own private hot tubs and views of the mountains and lake. Walking and biking trails connect the development throughout the surrounding mountains, which borders forest service land and roads that wind even deeper into the forest. The elevation at Tamarack ranges from about 5,000 feet at the base to more than 7,500 feet at the summit, so if you’re planning to run, hike, or mountain bike in the summer, be prepared for that.
Wildlife at Lake Cascade State Park
Whether you plan to fish, hike, boat, or ski around Lake Cascade and other Lakes in Idaho, you’re bound to see some wildlife. Keep your eyes open and you may see some of the less common animals like bear, cougar, or badger. Many of the birds, both songbirds and birds of prey, are common around and over the lake. Foxes, deer, and elk can often be seen around the lake, more commonly at dawn and dusk. Curious raccoon and skunk may wander through your site at night, and most animals will shy away from human contact. When you visit lakes in Idaho like Lake Cascade, see how many of these species you can spot, fish, or photograph:
- Rainbow Trout
- Coho Salmon
- Smallmouth Bass
- Garter Snake
- Song Birds
- Ground Squirrel