There is something magical about Winthrop and the Methow Valley. This is true in any season, as my friend and colleague demonstrated in a previous blog post about Winthrop in the summer. But for me, winter is particularly extraordinary. The high desert covered in a layer of fresh white snow makes for an irresistible landscape, just begging to be explored.
How you choose to set about exploring this winter wonderland is your first challenge as there are many options for venturing out into the snow. It is a short walk from the center of town across the Spring Creek Pedestrian Bridge to the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink. Named one of the Top 10 ice rinks in America by Sunset Magazine, this natural, non-refrigerated, uncovered rink functions as a social hub for the community through the winter months.
The rink is conveniently located near the Winthrop Town Trailhead, a.k.a. your entry point to the nation’s largest cross-country ski area. Stop by the Methow Trails office in town to learn about the trails and purchase a ski pass before heading out to enjoy the 120 miles of freshly-groomed trails. Not much of a skier? Hit the trail on a fat bike – a bicycle made with ultra-wide tires that you can ride in the snow. (Yes, you read that correctly – winter cycling in the snow is a thing in the Methow Valley.)
When my fiancé and I visited Winthrop this winter, we opted to head off across the snow-covered hills with snowshoes strapped to our boots. Picking our way along the surface of the snow, breaking off the beaten path to create our own trails, we were rewarded with amazing views and breathtaking landscapes. I could try to paint a picture in words, but I fear I would fall drastically short. Instead, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
Of course, you could always choose to snuggle up next to a warm fire and take in Winthrop’s marshmallow world from the comfort of your own window. There’s nothing wrong with planning your trip with the sole intention of hiding out and hibernating for a while. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, don’t forget to pack your camera. It’s hard to take a bad photo when you’re surrounded by this magical winter landscape.