Winter activities In the North Cascades Mountains and Methow Valley
Its just our opinion, but Winter in the Methow Valley and Winthrop is the prettiest time of the year. The Methow Valley sits on the eastern slopes of the Cascades Mountains, less then 30 miles from the Canadian border. Spring, Summer and Fall, the towering peaks, some 10,000’ high are an effective wall from the pacific coast moisture that falls frequently west of the mountains. In the winter months, weather patterns bring down cold, dry air from the far North to blanket the Methow Valley in an average of 90 inches of dry powder snow every year.
200 K of groomed Nordic trails connected to Winthrop
Winthrop is host to the largest network of groomed xcountry ski trails. With over 200 kilometers of groomed, interconnected trails, and surrounded by more than a million acres of wilderness and forest lands, the Methow Valley is a winter wonderland like no other. The Methow Valley’s skiing, scenery, and trails are world-class – our extensive trail system provides 120 miles of skiing in peaceful, freshly groomed and uncrowded conditions.
The Nordic ski trail system is divided into three areas – all connected by the Methow Community Trail, 31K of excellent skiing that includes the main trail head within walking distance of the Chewuch Inn and the “Old West” town of Winthrop.
The Methow Community trail has 31K that run from the town trailhead just one block from the Chewuch Inn all the way to the tiny town of Mazama (15 miles from Winthrop by road). The Methow Community trail is very popular as it is easy to access from the majority of lodging in the Winthrop area. There are a variety of loops of all levels off of the town trail head. The majority of the trail is wide and flat, perfect for beginners or Skate skiing. It meanders at an easy grade up Valley, in and out of open meadows and along the river. The community trail also is the main connecter trail to more challenging terrain leading to Sun Mountain and the Rendezvous area. Sun Mountain consists of 54k of mixed technical trails with fun loops and incredible views. The Rendezvous is consider one of the more difficult areas offering remote skiing over 48K and finally the Mazama trails have 33k of easy to intermediate trails looping in and out of the trees through the scenic upper valley.
FAT TIRE MOUNTAIN BIKING, MVSTA in cooperation with volunteer bike advocates have been building new trails and opening selected ski trails in the Valley for Fat tire biking! Fat bikes are specially made bycles that accommodate ultra-wide tires that can be run at very low pressure. That combination allows fat bikes to roll over soft, slippery surfaces like snow. Free Demo Days.
The Methow Trails Organization is responsible for the Valleys incredible ski trails.
Down Hill Skiing and Tubing Hill
Loup Loup Ski Bowl Just 30 minutes away, our local ski area is a great hill which offers 1,240 vertical feet, the mountain (Little Buck) is serviced by a quad chair lift, installed in 1998 with an amazing community effort. A platter surface tow and a beginner rope tow give sliders a chance to practice their skills without going to the top. Runs are groomed nightly with modern Bombardier snow cats. The Loup Loup Ski Bowl also has 23 kilometers of groomed and track set Nordic trails on Bear Mountain, with another 50k two miles away at the Washington State Parks South Summit Sno-park.
Back Country Touring and Heli skiing
For those that choose to ski outside the boundaries, back country ski touring and Heli ski programs, education and guided tours are a safe way to experience untracked snow.
Ice skating, Snow shoeing and Sledding
If skiing isn’t your past time, you can slip into a pair of Ice skating boots and enjoy the new Winthrop, WA Ice Skate rink at the town trail head. This beautiful open air rink is just a block from the Chewuch Inn. In the winter months it is used for ice-related sports such as skating, hockey, and broomball. During the summer, it is used for soccer camps, outdoor movies and concerts.
The Methow Valley has numerous places to careen down a snowy hillside in a sled or snowshoe up a mountain. Snow Shoe Tours are available several weekends throughout the winter where local naturalists help you identify animal tracks and wildlife. You can stick to a marked snowshoe trail or make your own tracks in the Okanogan National forest or Wildlife refuge
Okanogan National forest has hundreds of miles of groomed Snowmobile roads and six snow parks within driving distance from Winthrop.
The mountains of the North Cascades offers some of the best and most diverse climbing in Western hemisphere. Nicknamed the Alps of North American, these mountains are the training grounds for North America’s top alpinist as well as the perfect place for new climbers to take their skills to the next level. From large, glaciated peaks and high-quality alpine rock and ice climbs, to warm, sunny sport climbing in the lower valleys, the North Cascades has it all. North Cascades Mountain Guides offers private trips and low-ratio courses lead by AMGA trained and certified guides. Contact the NCMG office today to start planning your next adventure.
Art Galleries, Music and Theater
Winter is a great time of the year to visit, not just for it spectacular scenery and outdoor activities but also its ever growing and thriving theater, music and art scene. The Methow Valley host several wonderful local galleries where you can not only enjoy the arts but join in with workshops, education and meet the artists. For a historical and interpretive look at the region try the Methow Valley Interpretive center and Shafer Museum. Enjoy evenings rich with superb musical peformances, complemented by local wines, beers, and hors d’oeuvres, and framed by golden sunsets over the Cascade mountains. Each concert evening begins with a community social hour and ends with a heartwarming Afterglow where you can meet the musicians. Our local theater The Merc Playhouse offers air conditioning in the summer, and cozy warmth in the winter, the Merc seats 150 and no seat is farther than twenty feet from downstage center. Appreciated for its marvelous acoustics and intimacy. For the Thesbians our own Merc Play House for a popular venue and broad spectrum of theatrical and musical performers. For a schedule of a variety of live music and performances go to Methow Arts.
Birding, wildlife and Photography
The Methow Valley is host to over 250 species of birds thanks to the great diversity of habitat and elevation contained within the Valley walls and basin. The Chewuch Inn has worked hard to keep our grounds native and natural, one of the more unusual visitors you may see are wild Turkeys, especially around the cabins. In June, spotty fawns are often bedded down behind the cabins and it is not unusual at all to watch deer pass through the orchard daily. Wild life and beautiful scenes are easy to find throughout the Methow Valley.
We have two great Brew Pubs with live music and river front seating, “Old School House Brewery” in Winthrop and the Twisp River Pub in Twisp. Enjoy wine tasting in Winthrop at our local “Lost River Winery“, Cider tasting and a tour though our own Winthrop Coffee Roaster “Lariat Coffee“. we also serve this wonderful organic fair trade coffee right here at the Chewuch Inn. Winthrop and the Methow Valley is blessed with an abundance of great restaurants. Here are a few of our favorites… Arrowleaf Bistro, Old School House Brewery, Tappi’s, Glover Street Market, Rocking Horse bakery, Sun Mountain Lodge and the Mazama Country inn.
Washington State Tourism information:
The Chewuch Inn
Winthrop, WA 98862
- Current Road Conditions
- Updates on North Cascade Hwy. conditions
- Twisp Works Campus artist open studios
- Farmers Markets - Twisp 9am -12pm May through October, Winthrop 10am-2pm Memorial Day to Labor day
- Venus in Fur - live theater 6/24-7/2
- Methow Arts Festival 7/4
- N.C. Institute field trip - beaver Ecology in the Methow 7/9
- Pasayten Wild flower lecture 7/5
- Methow Chamber Music Festival 7/28 - 8/6