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Overview

Chiseled by glaciers over many millennia, the Pacific Northwest's signature mountains form an extraordinarily scenic swath of the Washington landscape, as well as a spectacular backdrop to some outstanding cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The scenic North Cascades Highway is usually closed October to April, but the Methow Valley on the east side of the pass provides more than 100 miles of cross-country ski trails. The main centers for accessing the trails are the small towns of Winthrop, Mazama and Twisp, which provide cozy accommodations and warming sustenance. Heated huts can also be rented along the trails for a wilderness ski ...

Chiseled by glaciers over many millennia, the Pacific Northwest's signature mountains form an extraordinarily scenic swath of the Washington landscape, as well as a spectacular backdrop to some outstanding cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The scenic North Cascades Highway is usually closed October to April, but the Methow Valley on the east side of the pass provides more than 100 miles of cross-country ski trails. The main centers for accessing the trails are the small towns of Winthrop, Mazama and Twisp, which provide cozy accommodations and warming sustenance. Heated huts can also be rented along the trails for a wilderness ski trek adventure.

On the western side flows the Skagit River, the winter home of a significant population of Bald Eagles. The towns of Concrete, Rockport and Marblemount jointly host the Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival each year in late January or early February, and the Bald Eagle Interpretive Center in Rockport is open mid December to mid February. Official counts reach into the hundreds and it's possible to see as many as 100 eagles without straying from Highway 20.

Myra Ingmanson
About the Expert

Myra Ingmanson and Daniel C. Schechter worked together on various titles for Lonely Planet, particularly the Pacific Northwest and Mexico books. Together they coauthored chapters for Lonely Planet's Eastern Caribbean.

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Myra Ingmanson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Mountain range spanning the northern part of Washington state on the Canadian border
  • Research: Washington | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to March