Methow Valley: Washingtons Hidden Gem

By: Cary Ordway

It doesn't get the attention that Seattle does, or Mount St. Helens or the San Juan Islands, but Washington's Methow Valley is a traveler's gem tucked away in the North Cascades about as far away from "civilization" as you can get in the Evergreen State.

For many decades, the town of Winthrop was content to be the modern equivalent of a 19th Century mining town, albeit without the mining.

Horse farms and agriculture had replaced the gold mining of the 1890's. The town still looked the same with its aging buildings reminiscent of the frontier outpost Winthrop had once been.

But then tourism happened to the Methow (pronounced MET-how) Valley. The North Cascades Highway was completed in the late 1960's, opening the flood gates to motorists who got wind of breathtaking scenery in the new North Cascades National Park. Prior to this, the Methow Valley had been a five-hour drive from the Seattle metropolitan area; with the new highway, the new route cut an hour off that and created a "loop" drive

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