Methow Trails summer system
The Methow Trails summer system
We are part of an extensive trail network that has something to offer for every age and ability. Check out the information below to start planning your next summer adventure!
During the spring, summer and fall, many of the cross-country ski trails become biking, trail running, hiking, and horse trails. Even before the snow melts in the high country, miles of additional trails open up in the Methow Valley. There is a lifetime of exploring to be done in the North Cascades National Park, on Forest Service lands, and on state lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Ranging from short, paved (wheelchair-accessible) hikes to half-day, full-day and multi-day strenuous backpacking excursions, there is something for every season, ability, interest and timeframe. Methow Trails are generally well marked and snow-free from early May to November. At higher elevations, trails may only be accessible to hikers from July through early October. Check out our summer maps for details. Please be sure to stay on the trails and observe all posted use guidelines.
Hiking & Trail Running
Lewis Butte - This is one of the first trails to melt out in the spring and becomes a breathtakingly beautiful carpet of balsam root by the end of April or early May. Lewis Butte and Rizeor Lake were the focus of the 2018 and 2019 Methow Valley Trails Collaborative Save-A-Trail Projects. Located on WDFW Methow Wildlife Area land near Winthrop, these trails are popular destinations for runners, bikers, equestrians, and birdwatchers. Dogs must be leashed April 1-July 31. Discover Pass required.
Patterson Mountain - This hike takes off across the road from the WDFW parking lot at Patterson Lake. The climb to the summit is well worth the effort, with stunning views of the Sawtooth Mountains and the North Cascades.
Goat Peak Lookout - This is a 5-mile round-trip hike to an occasionally staffed fire lookout on top of Goat Peak. The steep 2.5 miles to he lookout are not easy, but the views on top make it well worth the effort. Northwest Forest Pass required.
Harts Pass to Windy Pass - Unlike many trails along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), this hike remains along the crest the entire time. The trail starts at 6,800 feet, traveling through some of Washington’s most wild and beautiful high country. Northwest Forest Pass required.
Cutthroat Pass - This trail is a through route and can be accessed from the Cutthroat Lake Trailhead (mountain bike use allowed to Cutthroat Pass) or from the Rainy Pass Trailhead. Either direction will not disappoint or drive a shuttle and experience the all that this area has to offer. This trail is very popular. Have a backup plan if parking is unavailable. Northwest Forest Pass required.
Jack's Trail to River Run - This is a great option for anyone looking for a mellow, valley floor outing, with great views along the way. Distance 7.5 miles.
The Methow Valley is quickly becoming a mountain bike destination, with hundreds of miles of easy-to-access singletrack, doubletrack, and Forest Service roads. Just a few of our favorites are listed below. These trails wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the partnerships of Methow Trails, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Methow Chapter, and the Methow Valley Ranger District.
Methow Valley Community Trail - There are many options for great riding on the trails maintained by Methow Trails. These are the same trails used in the winter for skiing. The most popular section is from Brown's Farm to Mazama for a 12-mile round-trip ride. These are double-track paths, perfect for riding side by side. Distance: 1-35 miles in length.
Buck Mountain - This is the Methow Valley’s signature mountain bike ride. Close to Winthrop, this ride showcases everything from wildflowers to open spaces to mountain tops. Distance: 14 mile loop.
Sun Mountain trail system - Skies the limit when it comes to riding at Sun Mountain, with options for just about everyone. Looking for a technical downhill with features? Check out Wild Turkey or Ain’t Never Nothing. Want to ride a local favorite? The Thompson Ridge loop will not disappoint. Hoping to squeeze in an early morning ride before work? Black Bear or Climb It Change to Lower Pete’s are great ways to start your day.
Cutthroat Pass - This 11-mile, singletrack ride takes you through stunning alpine terrain. The trail between the trailhead and Cutthroat lake is popular with hikers, runners, and equestrians, so ride in control. The ride is an out and back, gaining 2,300 feet. To avoid the crowds, consider doing this ride midweek or late in the day. Distance: 11 miles. Northwest Forest Pass required.
Angel's Staircase - This is the mountain bike ride for the serious mountain biker. It requires fitness and an adventurous attitude. The loop reaches altitudes of 8,000 feet, so be prepared for varying weather any time of the year. This is an all-singletrack ride that take technical riding experience. This ride usually is usually not snow-free until late August. Start early and plan for a full day of riding. Distance: 25 miles round-trip. Northwest Forest Pass required.
Trails for kids
Kids are also welcome to compete in all Methow Trails events for free or at a discounted rate. This too is a great opportunity to introduce your children to competition and sportsmanship.
Big Valley is a flat , forested walk in between Winthrop and Mazama, with a couple of places to access the Methow River along the way. Please check for possible wildlife trail closures before going. Distance: 5.5 mile lollipop loop.
Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge is located along the Methow Community Trail in Mazama. The trail is flat, forested, and accesses the river, hut, picnic shelter, and bridge after a 1-mile walk from the trailhead. Distance: 2-miles roundtrip.
Beaver Pond Trail is a 2-mile loop trail that is part of a large network of trails at Sun Mountain. Opportunities for bird watching abound on this mostly flat, gentle hike. Distance: 2 miles.
Mazama 10km Loop - This gently rolling, mostly forested loop trail is a great option for kids who aren’t quite ready for the single track experience but are still up for a slightly longer ride. Treats from the Mazama Store are an added bonus when you’re done. This trail travels along the Founders and Goat Creek trails and can be ridden in either direction. Please park in the Methow Trails trailhead parking lot. Distance: 6 miles.
Lower Pete's Dragon is a great option for older kids who are looking to challenge their skills on a flow-built trail at Sun Mountain. Shuttle a car up Thompson Road or enjoy a pleasant climb from the Chickadee Trailhead. Distance: varies.
Trails for dogs
Dogs are welcome on 90% of the Methow Trails summer trails, all National Forest trails, and in Wilderness Areas. Dogs are not permitted on trails in North Cascades National Park. Please remember that trails are multi-use, and it is important to respect other trail users, seasonal closures, and private land. Below are a few of our favorite trails for pooches.
Radar Creek/Patterson Lake loop - This 4.5-mile loop trail parallels Radar Creek and has occasional access to the shores of Patterson Lake, making it a great option on a hot summer day. Please note that some trails in the Sun Mountain area do not allow dogs. Please refer to the summer trail map for details. Distance 4.5 miles (can add on)
Big Valley - This mostly shaded, flat, lollipop loop trail is a great option anytime of year. Dogs must be leashed April 1-July 31. This trail is located on WDFW land, please check for wildlife closures before going by visiting the Methow Wildlife Area website. Trailhead parking is free, thanks to the partnership between Methow Trails and WDFW. Distance: 5.5 miles.
Pearrygin Lake State Park - This is a lovely hike that can be completed as an out and back along the eastern shore of the lake or as a loop, which requires 1-mile of walking on the road to get back to the trailhead. This trail can be hot in the summer, so beat the heat by heading out early. Distance 6.5 miles (loop option) Discover Pass required.
Trails for horses
Bring your own horse or sign up for a guided ride once you arrive - the Methow has no shortage of trails to meet your equestrian goals. Valley-bottom trails follow the Methow River and offer cool shade mid-summer, while higher elevation trails allow you to explore alpine meadows and enjoy scenic vistas.
The Methow Valley has an incredible network of trails that wind through diverse habitats and support bountiful wildlife. The lands these trails pass through have been home to the Methow People for thousands of years. We are privileged to have these trails in our backyard. With this privilege comes responsibility to become good stewards of the trails. The Methow Valley Citizens Council and Methow Trails have come up wit the following guidelines to consider when when recreating throughout the valley:
Travel on existing trails
Check for any existing closures or restrictions
Give wildlife space
Keep dogs under control
Leave what you find
Spread kindness on the trail