Cycling The Methow Valley

This is a beautiful valley, similar in climate to the Okanagan with a scenic bonus of the North Cascades in the background. Some friends from Vancouver have been spending more and more time here so we decided to join them for some cycling this past weekend. It is an incredible location for cycling and hiking, as well as Nordic skiing in the winter.

There are 2 main towns in the valley, Winthrop and Twisp with a variety of accommodations, restaurants and supermarkets to pick up food, beer and wine. The locals are cycle friendly and there is a bike shop in Winthrop.

Friday afternoon we did the Chewuch Loop as a warm up ride from Twisp to Winthrop then along the Chewuch River and returned to Twisp About 50 k, half on Hwy 20 and the other on some pretty quiet rural roads

Saturday we did our big ride from Twisp to Pateros. This is a great route, which follows the Methow River about 50 k downstream before you turn around and head home. Pack a lunch and you can spend some time alongside the river watching rafters and kayakers heading downstream.

The one ride we missed is along Hwy 20 up to Washington Pass. The Pass actually closes each winter due to snowfall and reopens, usually around Mid May. If you go in early May you can ride past the gates, about 40 kilometers west of Winthrop, up the North Cascades Scenic Highway on a car free section of the highway. The distance you can travel depends on how far the Washington Department of Transportation has plowed towards the summit, but if you to make it to the top it is about a 110k return trip. Keep in mind that it is a mountain pass so be prepared for weather. In the spring there still may be avalanche danger so check with the local avalanche center before you head up (http://www.nwac.us).

The Methow Valley offers lots of cycle loops from 20 to 160 k to keep you busy on a weekend and if you want to get off road there are plenty of mountain bike and hiking trails. Check it out at http://www.mvsta.com.

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