Scenic Methow Valley is a land of contrasts. To the west are the massive, glacially carved summits of the Cascades, with dense Douglas fir forests carpeting their lower flanks, but as you enter the valley, the forests are replaced by irrigated pastures surrounded by rounded hills covered with sage, grass, and scattered pines. Highway 20  follows the Methow River, with tall riverside cottonwoods providing a shady screen from the hot summer sun.
In recent years the Methow (MET-how) has become a haven for mountain bikers, river rafters, and cross-country skiers. There are excellent lodges and restaurants, and a comfortably relaxed country atmosphere.
The bustling town of Winthrop  is the center of activity in Methow Valley, with its made-over Western theme. Thirteen miles northwest of here is minuscule Mazama (the name means mountain goat in Greek), while 11 miles south is the ranching town called Twisp . The valley is accessible from all sides during the summer, but Highway 20 closes from late November through April, depending on snowfall.