Winthrop has been on my "to-do/to-visit " list for the past two years. Known for the American Old West design of all the buildings in town, the theme idea was inspired by the example of Leavenworth, which in turn was heavily based on Solvang, California. The charming atmosphere of cute western town, board sidewalks, beautiful vistas, high, ragged peaks, cowboys and the old west everywhere - that are the pictures portrayed in every local guide book, trip planner or a brochure.
But when you get here...
It's a "two-line, half -mile, over-priced everything, tourist infested " town with more hotels than "places to see/ things to do " ( though some of the hotels are an attraction of their own, and some people consider drinking - " a thing to do"). Three Fingered Jack's Saloon is the area's main attraction. So, other than drinking , you don't really have too many options. After all, wondering around Shafer Museum, learning local history is always more fun when you are buzzed.
But for outdoor enthusiasts, Winthrop is an major cross-country skiing location, with over 120 miles of groomed trails ( second longest trail system in U.S).
Though, I didn't have a chance to ski on the famous Rendezvous Ski Trails ( 44 km that provide a semi backcountry experience and offer a comfortable overnight stay at one of their 5 huts), I had a great experience skiing on the beautiful Sun Mountain ski trails.
Sun Mountain Lodge features access to a trail system of over 200 kilometers, with ski tracks right outside your door.
Even if you are "not so much into cross country skiing" , sometimes the location dictates you what to do ( you don't go to Whistler and not ski, right ? Or do you ?). Just grab a pair of xc skis and go for a quick run to the View Ridge point . The trailhead is right in front of the lodge, 1.5 mile long, relatively easy (a couple little hills won't kill you), and you'll be rewarded with spectacular scenery of the North Cascades and the Methow Valley from trailside overlooks.
For more information on cross country skiing in the The Methow Valley, visit their web site - The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association.