Information about this hike provided in partnership with Mountaineers Books.
Copyright © Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books
Upper River Run Snowshoe
Although created with cross-country skiers in mind, the flat trails alongside the Methow River are just as enjoyable for snowshoers. They can hike along and soak in the beautiful scenery around the trail, and exult in the inspiring views of high ridges and towering peaks that surround the valley. From young kids to seasoned veterans, snow¬shoers of all abilities will enjoy the easy trails of River Run.
Because these trails are heavily used by skiers, snowshoers will be asked--sometimes told--to stay to the extreme edges of the trails, and when possible, to stay off the groomed track completely. Also, the trails cross private property occasionally, so visitors shouldn't wander far from the actual trail corridors.
Hike west from the parking areas, passing Freestone Inn and, in 0.25 mile, several small cabins--the original Early Winters Cabins--alongside Early Winters Creek. Angle toward the highway, and cross the creek via the SR 20 bridge. Then cross the highway, and pick up the trail system on the north side of the road.
The trail turns right and leads away from the highway. A few hundred yards later, it veers left and follows the Methow River upstream. In the next 0.5 mile, several trail junctions are passed--one leads right, crosses the river, and ends at the North Cascades Basecamp property. Others merely cross meadows and create an intricate network of loops. The trails extend about 3.5 miles upstream from the highway crossing, for a trip of more than 7 miles. But shorter trips can be had by making use of the many connectors and cutoff trails.
A full loop is best done by sticking to the River Run Trail as it follows the river upstream. At the upper end of the route, stay left and cross the wide valley bottom to access Jacks Trail at the base of the western valley wall. Return to Jacks Cabin via this trail.
Author’s Rating: Easiest.
Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.
To get there, from Winthrop drive west on State Route 20 (North Cascades Highway) to the Mazama turnoff and continue on SR 20 another mile before turning left (south) into the Early Winters/Arrowleaf property. Stay left, and follow the signs to Jacks Cabin a quarter mile down the road. (If you reach the Freestone Inn at the end of the 0.5-mile road, you have gone too far.) Purchase a trail pass at Jacks Cabin.
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