Nordic Lights: The Best in Cross-Country Skiing

Washington: Hut-to-Hut: Backcountry Skiing the Methow Valley

Scenic Methow Valley combines the best of Washington's contrasting landscapes. To the west are the massive, glacially carved summits of the Cascades, with Douglas fir forests carpeting their lower flanks. But as you enter the valley, the forests are replaced by irrigated pastures surrounded by rounded hills covered with sage, grass, and a scattering of pines.

In winter, when Methow Valley often has two or three feet of powdery snow on the ground and sunshine in the sky, outdoor recreation changes from hiking, biking, and river-running to cross-country skiing. The nonprofit Methow Valley Sports Trail Association maintains four sets of interconnected cross-country ski trails throughout the valley, grooming a total of 175 km of trails—second longest in America. Several lodges lie along the routes, allowing the luxury of skiing right from your front door.

Practically Speaking
For a more rustic experience, five fully equipped cabins are located about four to seven miles apart in the mountains north of Winthrop for $25 per night. Each sleeps eight. If you want the entire hut to yourself, the rate is $150 per night. Call Rendezvous Outfitters, 509-996-2148 or 800-422-3048 to book a cabin. Van service provides transport to trailheads throughout the valley. Call 509-996-8294 for specifics. For ski conditions, try MVSPA at 800-682-5787. Fees are $13 for one day or $30 for three days.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 13 Jan 2000 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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