cross country skiing in the methow valley

Mar 5, 2021 | Cross Country Skiing, Methow, Washington

Land acknowledgement:

Ancestral land of the Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ (Nlaka’pamux),Syilx tmixʷ (Okanagan) and Methow now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

At a Glance

Methow Winter Trails Map

Approximately 120 miles of cross country ski trails are available in the winter for exploration and linking of loops. Long ski tours can be planned from a variety of entry points. Several races and events are available to participate in as well.

Other Adventure options

Mellow: If you’re comfortable with skiing hills, the trip up the Grizzly Hut from the Gunn Ranch Trailhead is gorgeous. You can rent the hut (as well as a few others) for an overnight stay. For those who prefer flatter terrain, the trip out to Cow Beach Shelter from Mazama is a lovely adventure of about 3 miles each way.

Balanced: Ski portions of the three major areas – Upper Methow, Sun Mountain and Rendezvous over several days.

Epic: Ski the Lee Adams Tour de Methow course or participate in the organized event put on by the Methow Nordic Club (February).

Brutal: Ski every single trail in as short a time as possible.

Need to Know

Parking pass required: Parking is free at the Methow Trailheads. You will need a Washington Sno-Park permit for forest service trailheads.

Overnight camping permit required: None

Day permits: Daily ski permits are required for the Methow Trails system. 

Water: Carry your own for winter activities

Nearest Campgrounds: Closed for winter

Adventure Overview

Please: Always remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles when recreating on public land. Our actions not only impact the land; they influence others to better care for these lands when we lead by example. Please see additional route cautions at the bottom of this page.


The Methow Valley offers unparalleled cross country skiing over a network of at least 120 miles of groomed trails. From wide open flat tracks to hilly trails meandering through the ponderosa pines, there are options for all levels of skiers. Take on the adventure of learning a new sport with classes or push your skills with a long ski adventure. If racing is your adventure of choice, check out the Ski to the Sun Marathon. Plenty of options abound for an epic ski.

Terms of Use: As with each adventure guide published on, should you choose to use this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While using, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed., its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual users hiking or following this route.

About The Author

About The Author

Teri Smith is starting her third act as a photographer, writer and adventure seeker in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more here.