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Welcome to Winthrop!

Winthrop is located in the Methow Valley which is a sixty-mile long glacial valley. The valley extends from the town of Pateros to Mazama along the magnificent Methow River. 

We are located in the northern portion of this valley at milepost 193 along North Cascades Highway 20 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Winthrop is a charming vacation destination in an authentic Western town preserved to resemble the 1850’s wild west. With a population of under 300 people, you’ll find us to be off the beaten path and away from the hustle and bustle, especially in the spring and fall.

Winthrop Washington is famous for it’s outdoor recreation opportunities. Every season of the year brings new activities and scenic colors to enjoy. With the largest network of groomed cross-country ski trails on the continent, we have hiking, biking, snowshoeing, trail running, and water sports galore. 

On a moonless night you’ll be able to see the Milky Way from one end of the galaxy to the other and occasionally the Northern Lights thanks to our predominately cloudless weather.

History

The history of Winthrop Washington in the Methow Valley begins when Native Americans lived along the banks of the Methow, Twisp and Chewuch rivers. The Native Americans lived off of camas root, picking berries, fishing and hunting. The first white men to visit the valley were trappers in the 1800’s.

But it was in 1883 when the lure of gold brought the first permanent white settlers. Three of these settlers were James Ramsey, Ben Pearrygin and Guy Waring. Waring stopped at the forks of the Chewuch and Methow rivers in 1891. Here he and his family settled a home they called the “Castle.” The castle is now the Shafer Museum.

Guy Waring

Although Waring is the acclaimed founding father, the town is named after Theodore Winthrop, a Yale graduate, adventurer/traveler and gifted 19th century author. The town was rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1893. Waring’s original Duck Brand Saloon (considered the best run saloon in the country by numerous church publications) was built in 1891.

It survived the fire and is now Winthrop’s Town Hall. Waring’s “Methow Trading Company” operated for 49 years beginning in 1897.

Owen Wister, Waring’s Harvard roommate, wrote The Virginian, America’s first western novel, after honey-mooning in Winthrop.

Western Restoration

In 1972, when State Highway 20 was nearing completion over the North Cascades, several business people began planning for travelers passing through the town. Mrs. Kathryn Wagner and her husband Otto came up with the idea of a western restoration. All of the local merchants pitched in financially and Mrs. Wagner paid the balance for the reconstruction, painting and new signs.

The architect and designer was Robert Jorgenson of Leavenworth, Washington. He who wanted “to make the design as authentic as possible in order to preserve the spirit of the valley”. The original signs were created by Chet Endrezzi.

Cattle drives, medicine shows, pack trains and the mystique of the old west are still part of the Methow Valley experience. Almost completely surrounded by National Forest, State Game Range and Wilderness areas, Winthrop and the upper Methow Valley beckons adventurers of all kinds.


Unique Shopping
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Year-Round Events
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Amazing Outdoor Recreation
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Exceptional Cuisine
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Lodging
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Friendly Locals
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Tasty Beverages
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The Largest Nordic Trail System In North America!
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Horseback Riding
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Bike Rentals
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+ Destinations
      Lake Chelan Valley
      Leavenworth Cascade Foothills
      Methow Valley
      North Cascades
      Seattle
      Seattle Northcountry
      Skagit Valley & Fidalgo Island
      Stevens Pass Greenway
      Wenatchee Columbia River Valley
      Whidbey Scenic Isle Way
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