Winthrop, Washington: A Visit to the Old West

While driving out of the North Cascades complex, we passed through the town of Winthrop, Washington.  We were not planning on stopping in Winthrop, but the appearance of the town surprised and charmed us so much that we couldn’t resist.

Winthrop is an Old West Town located on Washington State Route 20.  Town ordinance 15 requires that all the buildings conform to an old west appearance, designating color, construction, and even signage.  So Winthrop grabs your attention as soon as you drive into town.

We parked the truck and got out to explore.  There are lots of little shops along Main Street catering to through-hikers and tourists.  The Pacific Crest Trail goes right through Winthrop, following the Methow River.  Winthrop is a perfect resupply station for the through-hikers who are almost finished with the Trail.  We saw lots of young people with heavy packs heading into the bars, restaurants, and outfitter shops in town.

Of course, we had to check out the shops ourselves as we walked on the wooden boardwalks  Johnny almost bought a cowboy hat.  Val found the perfect Christmas present for her son.  And I couldn’t pass up the Mooseberry Jam at Shotgun Lil’s Emporium.  Several shops featured local artists including a couple of blacksmiths.  We got some homemade ice cream, drooled over the chocolates, and considered getting our picture taken in the old west photo studio.  Unfortunately it was closed.  Tom checked out the books in the small but well-stocked bookstore while the rest of us ate our ice cream.

There are lots of places to stay in Winthrop.  You can rent an old west cabin or stay in a more luxurious resort.  But all the buildings in town continued the old west theme, including the grocery store and the hardware store.  The insides might be modern but the outsides were as authentic as the town could make them.  What a fun little town!


  • Kristine Moye

    How cool!