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The Methow Valley, Washington’s Recreation Destination

Details courtesy of The Cascade Loop 

Extending from Pateros to the crest of the North Cascades, the Methow Valley is Washington state’s eclectic mix of Wild West and thriving arts culture, and home to a whole lot of lodging and activities.

Dedicated fishermen from around the world come to Pateros at the confluence of the Methow and Columbia rivers; you might just see some really big fish being reeled in right outside your window! Walk down along the river through Pateros’ small riverfront park to stretch your legs and snag amazing river views. There is a cute playground and a stunning new outdoor installation that commemorates the Native Americans who originally lived here.

Turning north onto Highway 153, head towards the North Cascades mountains, which can be seen far in the distance while rolling alpine desert hills form a backdrop for quaking aspen, log ranch homes and the meandering Methow River. Dry shrub-steppe hillsides give way to stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir as you gain elevation. Pass through the tiny towns of Methow and Carlton and head on toward Twisp, the Methow Valley’s largest town.

As you make your way, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! This region is a regular wildlife corridor — it isn’t uncommon to see bald eagles during colder months, and ospreys in warmer months. In both cases, it isn’t unusual to see them flying with a whole fish — tackle and all! Deer are also abundant throughout the area, so slow down and be cautious, particularly during dawn and dusk hours. Once you arrive in Twisp, you’ll find an incredibly welcoming community. The arts culture thrives here — galleries, music, live theater, and festivals year-round. Well over 100 artists and craftspeople call the Methow Valley their home, and their work encompasses practically every medium. Find some of these artists in downtown Twisp on Glover Street, or at TwispWorks, formerly the site of the historic US Forest Service Twisp Ranger Station.

The Twisp River Recreation Area offers dozens of campgrounds and trails deep into the wilderness and “backdoor trails” into the North Cascades National Park. Get outside for hiking, biking, photography, fishing, river rafting, and more! Closer to town, the Discovery Ponds and Twisp Park Riverwalk both lead you on easy, dog-friendly paths. Heading north on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road (off Highway 20/153 just south of Hank’s Market), you’ll find a meandering country road that winds around farms and ranches. Halfway to Winthrop, stop at the North Cascades Smokejumper Base for a free tour of the birthplace of smokejumping. Kids and adults alike love to see the parachutes and the jump plane (in season).

As you continue up-valley, you’ll arrive in Wild West Winthrop, a town that “retrofitted” itself to be as close to the original 1890s storefront look as possible. Hit the downtown’s wooden boardwalks, take photos, and enjoy eclectic shops, restaurants, bakeries, and pubs. Enjoy casual dining and handcrafted brews at favorite local watering holes.

Downtown Winthrop is anchored on each end by pedestrian bridges that span the Chewuch and Methow rivers with viewing platforms to watch salmon spawn, as well as people fly-fishing, river rafting, and tubing. The surrounding hills provide vast opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and rock climbing. North America’s largest Nordic ski trail system, Methow Trails, spans much of the Methow Valley, making it a winter mecca for skiers to enjoy more than 120 miles of groomed trails, with select trails specifically for fat biking, snowshoeing … and even for skiing with your dogs! The trails are great for hiking and biking in the summer, too!

Located in the heart of the Methow Valley, Twisp, Washington is a dynamic center for art, culture and adventure, with a down-to-earth atmosphere and friendly attitude. Interested in the area? Own your own piece of the Methow Valley!

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