Winthrop is a picturesque mountain town set in Washington’s Methow Valley. This well-known adventure is well-known for its breathtaking alpine landscape and pleasant weather. The city itself is notable for its themed downtown sector, which is reminiscent of the 1850s Old West. Winthrop, with a population of less than 500 people, attracts thousands of tourists each year. This surge of visitors brings with its new community tourism attractions such as immersive museums and seasonal ice rinks. The community also supports the numerous local businesses that line the downtown boardwalk’s Old West stores. The objective of this article is to share the things to do in Winthrop WA in winter.
The community’s greatest attraction, though, is its proximity to nature. Throughout the year, a vast network of multi-use paths links the Methow Valley. This network is the country’s most comprehensive Nordic trail system in the winter. Many of the trails are scattered around the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Highway 20, commonly known as the North Cascades Scenic Byway, which runs through North Cascades National Park, passes through town. The Methow Valley is one of the state’s most visited areas, thanks to its abundance of natural scenery and regional character. With this list of the best things to do in Winthrop, you’ll have plenty of reasons to visit. Due to recent worldwide health and safety challenges, certain companies may be temporarily shuttered.
1. Cross-Country Skiing on the Methow
Nordic pursuits are well-known in Winthrop and the nearby Methow Valley. Methow Trails, a non-profit group, maintains a stunning 200 kilometers of groomed trails, making it one of the biggest Nordic networks in the country. The abundance of trails is complemented by persistent snow and breathtaking mountain vistas. Methow Trails draws skiers from all over the nation for these reasons.
The Methow Community Trail links Winthrop and Mazama, as well as providing access to various additional trail networks. On the opposite side of the Spring Creek Bridge in Winthrop, a freestanding trail system is popular to explore. Rendezvous Winter Trails and Sun Valley Winter Trails are two more noteworthy trail systems operated by Methow Trails.
On Methow Trails, the enjoyment doesn’t stop when the snow melts. In the summer, most of the system may simply be converted into hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding paths. Winthrop is a must-see site for outdoor lovers because to its wide network. Some of the routes pass through private property and are subject to land-use agreements. Visitors must adhere to these guidelines and remain on the route.
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2. Wander about Winthrop’s downtown Western Village
Winthrop’s downtown has a unique Western flavor to it. A wooden walkway links the core area’s stores, which all have a Western appearance. This Old West resemblance is no accident, and the town, like the Bavarian resort of Leavenworth two hours away, reinvented itself in the 1970s to meet this American West theme.
A stroll along this 1900s main street is a pleasant way to pass the time. The features of the Western motif extend beyond the stores. Several businesses, such as the Farmers State Bank, feature Old West decor. Wanted posters and amusing picture stand-ins are two more Western concerns.
The downtown area is not only appealing because of its Western style, but the boutiques and restaurants here also attract tourists. A variety of local shops, galleries, and specialized businesses cater to shoppers.
The Trail’s End Bookstore is a must-visit for both bibliophiles and casual readers. The Winthrop Gallery, next door, showcases works by local and regional artists. Sheri’s Sweet Shop provides a range of candied confections for individuals with a sweet craving. Cascades Outdoor Store and The Outdoorsman, for example, provide an excellent selection of sports products downtown.
3. Spend the night at Pearrygin Lake State Park.
This 1,200-acre state park is less than a four-mile drive from Winthrop. This famous state park has several campsites and offers various activities throughout the year. Hiking, boating, swimming, and picnics are some of the popular activities at Pearrygin Lake.
Over 160 campsites are available in Pearrygin, many of them are in great demand during the summer season. The campsites are located in two prominent regions, with each site being near to flushing facilities, picnic spots, and swimming beaches. Two furnished cabins and a vacation house are offered for rent in the state park.
The state park is a popular boating destination with nearly 11,000 feet of coastline on Pearrygin Lake. The boat launch at the East Campground is often used by motorized boats. A concessionaire hires out paddleboards and kayaks by the hour at the park.
Hiking is another popular activity in Pearrygin, with paths like the 3.1-mile Rex Derr Trail providing spectacular views of the lake. In the winter, the state park becomes a paradise for snowshoeing and other winter sports.
4. Visit the Shafer Historical Museum to travel across time.
The Shafer Historical Museum, perched on a hillside overlooking the Methow River, provides a fascinating glimpse into Winthrop’s history. The museum is centered around “The Castle,” a log home erected in the late 1800s.
Several outdoor exhibitions with antiques from Winthrop’s homesteading period surround this meticulously made mansion. The artifacts date from around the 1880s through the 1940s. A town of structures from this period may also be seen on the grounds. For a glimpse into history, visitors are allowed to “Take a Peek Inside” the facilities.
The museum’s hours change from summer to winter. Visitors are invited to enjoy a self-guided tour of the outdoor exhibitions throughout both seasons. During the winter, the slope may become frozen. The museum is free to enter, however a recommended gift of $5 is appreciated.
5. Drive the North Cascades Scenic Byway to Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.
Between Methow Valley and Skagit Valley, the North Cascades Scenic Byway (Highway 20) stretches for 140 miles. Along the journey, it passes across breathtaking vistas of the North Cascade Mountains. The route links Winthrop to the North Cascades National Park, providing a convenient access point to this spectacular alpine setting.
For a reason, North Cascades is one of Washington’s top parks. This northern mountain range’s craggy peaks are unlike any other in the country. The roadway provides seasonal access to the park, usually between May and November (dependent on snow conditions).
Winthrop is close to some of the park’s most beautiful attractions. Ross and Diablo Lakes, which provide spectacular vistas, are about 60 miles west. Along the way, there are many additional picturesque roadside viewpoints. Diablo Lake is nine miles west of the North Cascades Visitor Center. The visitor center is an excellent resource for learning more about the region.
6. Spend the Day at the Winthrop Rink Skating
Since 2007, the Winthrop Rink, formerly known as Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink, has given a great area to socialize in the winter. This NHL-sized ice rink is located on the opposite side of the Spring Creek Bridge from town, along the Susie Stephens Trail. It’s an outdoor rink, and the towering Mt. Gardner in the backdrop is one of the most appealing features.
The rink now provides assured skating throughout the winter thanks to freshly installed refrigeration. Between December and March is the normal season. A 6,000-square-foot structure with changing facilities, showers, and a second-story warming and viewing area is also part of the complex.
The rink offers a variety of programs throughout the season, in addition to dedicated free skate periods. Drop-in hockey and freestyle figure skating are two of the regularly planned sessions. The rink also hosts a kid’s hockey tournament series that is fun for the whole family to watch.
7. Visit Falls Creek Falls with the Family
The trek to Falls Creek Falls is a delightful family trip into the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest that offers something for everyone. The trailhead is just a 12-mile drive from town, with part of it being on forest service roads.
The trailhead is less than a quarter mile from the first waterfall on the Falls Creek Falls route. This short and easy trail is a great visit in and of itself for families traveling with little children. However, the route goes on, passing over switchbacks to expose additional rushing waterfalls.
The route eventually stretches for five kilometers to the summit of Birch Mountain. The path rises almost 2,000 feet in height throughout its whole length and is rated tough. Nobody has to come this far to view waterfalls, since the first two miles have a succession of plunges.
8. Fall in the Methow River when paddling or floating
The Methow River, Winthrop’s hallmark river, is one of Washington’s top white water rivers. This flowing river starts at Mazama and winds its way across the Methow Valley before joining the Columbia River. A variety of rafting and paddling activities are offered along the route, which includes parts such as the Black Canyon Gorge.
Methow Rafting, situated in Winthrop, is the go-to guiding service. Half- and full-day tours into Black Canyon and its Class III-IV rapids are available from this well-known outfitter. For a gentler vacation, the firm also offers half-day tours on the Lower Methow.
On the Methow, it’s not all white-water rafting. On the calmer areas of the river, kayaking and floating are also popular. During the summer, expect to see a lot of residents and visitors using the river in this manner. Tube rentals and a shuttle service are available from Methow Rafting.
There is no need to worry about visiting Winthrop during winter. That’s because you can find a large number of great activities in here to engage with. Keep these in mind and plan your visit to Winthrop accordingly.