Methow Valley (Winthrop), WA

This page was created in Dec. 2021 for our club's general membership meeting, but we are leaving it up for general information. You are invited to join our meeting: (Zoom) meeting on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Hope to see you then!

Methow Valley

I've heard about the Methow Valley ever since moving to Bellingham and expressing interest in continuing my time Nordic skiing. I even learned how to pronounce it: Met' -ow

What I would do/ski:

Kurt Duey shared his trip to the Methow in our November newsletter and has given us added details. Thanks, Kurt!


Our Cascade ski trails are being heavily used this season but good skiing is to be had in the Methow Valley. On January 19th I went to Winthrop for four days of skiing. With the Canadian border closed, I had to look elsewhere and the Methow Valley trails are the most extensive and varied to be found in the northwest corner of our country. It is five hours and ten minutes from Bellingham to Winthrop. It contains 120 miles of well-groomed trails. It also has snowshoe and fat tired bike trails.

My ski companion and I shared the expense of staying at River Song Suites, located in Winthrop. We found our lodging through Methow Reservations at 509-996-2148.

Our drive over was on clear roads and we arrived at 11AM. After a short break to get settled and have lunch at the suite, we drove to the nearby Spring Creek Trail head for a few hours of skiing on the MC Trail. Temperatures varied from 12 to 33 degrees. There was little icing and the snow was fast but manageable. We skied until dark and returned to River Song for the evening. 

Our suite had a microwave, refrigerator and sink. This allowed us to bring our own food and to avoid going out to eat. Our suite was clean and quiet, with internet and cable. There is   no shortage of high-quality rentals available in the area. The next morning, we drove to the Sun Mountain Trail System. We skied Little Wolf, Aqua Loop and Beaver Pond Trails. After that, we took out our snowshoes and hiked the Horse and Kraule Snowshoe Trails. The trails took us around the hill that Sun Mountain Lodge sits on and we enjoyed the scenery as we crunched around the trails. It was a welcome break from skis. 

The third day we went to the North Cascades Trail head at Jacks River Run. Again, the trails were well groomed and the temperature was mild but below freezing. We spent the day exploring the Upper River Run and Upper Jacks Trails. Though both were easy trails, I managed to fall down and break the toe of my boot loose from its sole. My gear was over 20 years old, so I was not shocked that it failed. I limped back to the trail head on my crippled gear. We drove to nearby Mazama, to see if the boot could be repaired. I bought a tube of adhesive but when we got back to River Song, I realized that my other boots, (I had brought two sets of gear) also had NNN bindings and they would work, to replace my damaged boots. Hooray! For standardization.

After three days of cautious skiing, we decided to do something more adventurous our final day. Friday, we again drove up to Sun Mountain’s Chickadee Trail head but this time we skied up to Thompson Pass. We then took Meadowlark in a long loop around the mountain. It was another day of good weather and great snow. Still, it was a long day, over 11 miles. That night, my body had plenty of aches. I was glad that we were going home the next day. 

The drive back was on dry roads and took 5.5 hours taking highway 2, instead of I-90. I was impressed at the number of cars parked at every trail head and venue we went by. In Leavenworth I saw people lined up for 40 feet waiting for an inside table. I was very glad to not be joining them!

All said, it was a very good ski trip. I would recommend the Methow Valley this year. Because it is farther from the metro area, it was not nearly as crowded as the ski trails along Hgwy. 2 and I-90. It has a wide variety of trails to choose from and also it has many nice places to stay. This might just be my only ski trip this year but I can’t complain about the great skiing I had in the Methow Valley.