Washington's Ultimate Road Trip

Pateros, Carlton, Twisp, Winthrop, Mazama

The Cascade Loop follows the Columbia River to Pateros, then swings northwestward to the Methow River Valley. This is the eastern gateway to the North Cascades Highway which is traditionally open  mid-April through early to mid-November (weather/snow pack determines the closing and opening dates).

Stop at Pateros for a riverfront picnic lunch. Neighboring Alta Lake State Park offers excellent trout fishing and secluded campsites. As you drive up the valley, pass fields of baled hay, big weathered barns, corrals full of horses and the jagged Cascades for a backdrop. Wildfires have blazed through the Methow Valley in years past, so take note of burn areas and bright green, new growth popping up!

The Methow Valley and adjacent Okanogan country is famous for its superb stream and lake trout fishing. Dozens of small lakes dot the region. The Methow River is a popular rafting destination. Back roads and trails are favorites of cyclists and cross-country skiers. Methow Valley Trails has developed hundreds of miles of trails that cross rolling farmland, scenic rivers the Okanogan foothills, making the trail system the largest in the nation!

Twisp is a welcoming town with a reputation for amazing art, food and adventure. Start out by visiting TwispWorks to see live artists and craftsmen in action. Then hit downtown art galleries and grab a bite for eat. After exploring local trails for the after noon, take in an evening of theater at the Merc Playhouse. In season, visit the Saturday Methow Valley Farmers Market—produce from this area is abundant and fresh!

Welcome to the wild, wild west—Winthrop! False-fronted wooden buildings, hitching rails and board sidewalks create the illusion of a frontier town. Shop, dine and imbibe! Winthrop is home to an award-winning winery and brewery! Looking to get out? Hike, bike or horseback ride on abundant local trails.

Mazama, at the head of the valley, is a launching point for recreational activity in the surrounding mountains. Hundreds of miles of trails branch out in every direction. This is prime country for bird watching.

When the highway over the mountains is closed the Methow Valley becomes a quiet winter retreat offering cross-country or downhill skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hunting and fishing. With almost 200km of interconnected trails sprinkled with inns, restaurants, huts and ski shops, the  Methow Valley is one of the finest winter destinations in North America.

As the highway swings south, great walls of granite sweep upward. Dead ahead, the massive bulk of 7,600′ Liberty Bell Mountain seems to block any passage through the mountain fortress. Just when it seems impossible, the highway makes a great horseshoe bend and clambers up the face of Liberty  Bell. The off-road viewpoint at the top of the pass provides splendid views of the mountain-ringed valley.

Information Sources:
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Methow Valley Trails
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Okanogan Country
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Pateros Chamber of Commerce
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Twisp Chamber of Commerce & VIC
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U.S. Forest Service Visitor Information

U.S. Forest Service Visitor Information

Winthrop Chamber of Commerce
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