McCall History & Museums: Packer Johns Cabin, Mcall Idaho

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Packer John's Cabin

A short three-mile drive from New Meadows along Idaho 55 will deliver interested visitors to Packer John's Cabin, a unique relic of Idaho's frontier past. The cabin was originally built in 1862 by John Welch, a supplier who made runs between Lewiston and Idaho City, when, during a supply run, he ran into snow and weather in Little Salmon Meadows that prevented him from reaching Boise Basin. Forced to hunker down there for the winter, Packer John and his companions built the small cabin that has since became one of the area's recognizable landmarks. Read More

  • Located 10 Miles from McCall in Meadow's Valley
  • Protected under the Ponderosa State Park collection
  • Use the trail system to hike or bike to the cabin using the Goose Creek Trail.

When John Welch, better known today as Packer John, built an 18-by-24 foot cabin along the pack train route he took between Lewiston and the mines near Idaho City, he certainly didn't know the part that it would play in Idaho history. In addition to being used by those traveling the rugged trail through what was then still wild and untamed Idaho, the historic site has hosted both Democratic and Republican party conventions, meetings between Republican and Democratic party leaders and meetings between Northern and Southern Idaho political leaders.
The cabin, having fallen into disrepair from years of not being used, was first restored in 1909 by John Hailey and the Historical Society. The restored cabin stood at the original site until 1920, when it was ruined in a fire. Idaho preservationists again rebuilt the cabin, making it one of Idaho's earliest visible preservation projects.
In 1951 Packer John's Cabin State Park was created, giving the notable site additional protection and preservation; the state park was later dissolved and attached to Ponderosa State Park. Today, the historic area has camping, complete with toilets and water, and hiking and biking on trails like the Goose Creek Trail, which takes users to the historical cabin.