If you could design the perfect town for a winter destination, it might just be Winthrop, Washington.
Located in the stunning Methow Valley along the North Cascades Scenic Highway, the town is home to a charming, throwback downtown lined with buildings that evoke the Old West. But beyond its nostalgic character, it’s also known for some of the best winter action around, thanks in part to epic snowfalls — which bring drier powder than what falls in the more westerly Cascades — stunning mountains and enthusiastic folks who have made winter recreation a huge part of the scene here.
So if you’re looking for the perfect winter getaway, Winthrop may be your place. Here are five active reasons why.
Skiing in Winthrop
If skiing’s your thing, this area has you covered. For cross-country fans, one of the largest cross-country ski areas in the entire country calls the area home. Nonprofit Methow Trails has a network of more than 120 miles of groomed, powdery trails. Need a little more speed? Downhill fans will find 10 runs and 1,240 vertical feet plus a terrain park 30 minutes from the city at Loup Loup Ski Bowl.
Fat Biking in Winthrop
Don’t limit yourself to the familiar when you visit. Instead, try something that might be totally new to you — fat biking. Essentially beefed-up mountain bikes with extra-wide knobby tires, fat bikes cruise easily over the trails groomed by Methow Trails. Bikes can be rented at Methow Cycle & Sport, and you can ride some of the groomed trails that are designated as fat-bike friendly. Other places to fat bike in the area: Pearrygin Lake State Park; Loup Loup Ski Bowl and Sun Mountain Lodge.
Snowshoeing in Winthrop
For those in search of a pace that’s a little slower but just as invigorating, the area also provides plenty of options for snowshoeing. Among the best: Methow Trails that are open to snowshoers and the trails that course for a few miles around Winthrop’s Sun Mountain Lodge.
Ice Skating in Winthrop
This is big among the locals in the region, who are known to head to the frozen Patterson and Pearrygin lakes for some scenic sliding. Winthrop is also home to the Winthrop Ice and Sports Rink, an NHL-size outdoor rink with all kinds of ice skating activities backed by drop-dead views of Mt. Gardner.
Sledding in Winthrop
For the perfect day of winter fun, it’s hard to beat sledding. Winthrop is home to or near fantastic options, from the Wild Wolf Tubing Hill at Loup Loup Ski Bowl — just $11 for an entire day, including a rental tube — to the laid-back hill near the Winthrop Town Trailhead.