FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More
Rafting is popular from March to July; the prime high-country runoff occurs in May and June. The Wenatchee River, which runs through Leavenworth, is considered one of the best white-water rivers in the state—a Class III on the International Canoeing Association scale.
Alpine Adventures. Challenging white-water and relaxing river floats through spectacular scenery are the options here. A Wenatchee River white-water trip with lunch costs $84; a scenic Wenatchee River float (lunch included) is $79. The Methow River drift is $89. An Icicle River run (no lunch) is $49 and fills up fast. Leavenworth, WA, 98826. 800/723–8386 or 509/470–7762. www.alpineadventures.com.
Blue Sky Outfitters. Half- and full-day rafting trips on the Methow and Wenatchee rivers are offered by this outfitter. Cashmere Riverside Park, Cashmere, WA, 98815. 206/938–4030 or 800/228–7238. www.blueskyoutfitters.com.
Osprey Rafting Co.. This outfitter offers 4½-hour trips on the Wenatchee River for $78.56, which includes wet suits and booties, transportation, and a barbecue lunch; there's a $50, two-hour trip for travelers short on time. 9342 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth, WA, 98826. 509/548–6800 or 888/548–6850. www.ospreyrafting.com.
Early Winters Outfitting. Beginning and advanced riders are welcome on one-hour ($30), two-hour ($50), half-day ($85) and full-day ($100 to $150) excursions on horseback. This outfit also leads deluxe pack trips into the Pasayten Wilderness ($220 per day). 18078 Hwy. 20, Winthrop, WA, 98862. 509/996–2659. www.earlywintersoutfitting.com.
Leavenworth Outdoor Center. Rent tubes, rafts, kayaks, paddleboards, and bicycles at this shop, which provides a shuttle to the launch point along the Wenatchee River, and even outfits your pet pooch with a life jacket for a float downstream. 321 9th St., Leavenworth, WA, 98826. 509/548–8823. www.leavenworthoutdoorcenter.com.
Loup Loup Ski Bowl. Lift tickets at this small ski area, where you can downhill or telemark ski, cost $45 on weekends or holidays, and $40 on weekdays. Off Hwy. 20, 20 miles east of town, Twisp, WA, 98856. 509/557–3401 office; 509/557–3405 conditions. www.skitheloup.com.
Methow Valley Ranger District. Miles of hiking trails, including the famed Pacific Crest Trail, abound in the wilderness surrounding Winthrop. The ranger district has information about trails and conditions in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 24 W. Chewuch Rd., Winthrop, WA, 98862. 509/996–4003. www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/.
Methow Valley Sport Trails Association. The Methow Valley boasts one of the most extensive groomed cross-country ski trail systems in the nation. Fat bikes and snowshoes are also allowed. When there's no snow, the trails are open to dirt bikers and are said to be some of the best for dirt biking in the state. 309 Riverside Ave., Winthrop, WA, 98862. 509/996–3287 office; 509/996–3860 trail conditions. www.mvsta.com.
Morning Glory Balloon Tours. Take in the spectacular sights of the Methow Valley during an hour-long hot-air-balloon flight ($225), or reserve a private ride for two, complete with an in-flight picnic, flowers, and chocolates upon landing ($895). 960 Hwy. 20, 1 mile south of downtown in the field next to Red Apple Grocery, Winthrop, WA, 98862. 509/997–1700. www.balloonwinthrop.com.
North Cascade Heli-Skiing. If they can afford it, experienced skiers looking for fresh powder can get dropped off in virgin, backcountry snow by a helicopter for one day of runs ($1,200) or three days in a row ($3,200). Three- or four-night yurt trips are also available ($1,250 and $1,400). 31 Early Winters Dr., at the Freestone Inn, Mazama, WA, 98833. 509/996–3272. www.heli-ski.com.
North Cascades Mountain Guides. This outfitter provides guided days of backcountry skiing ($375) and rock climbing ($175 half day, $310 full day) or a half day of each ($340), as well as mountaineering courses, ice-climbing expeditions, and more. 48 Lost River Rd., Mazama, WA, 98833. 509/996–3194. www.ncmountainguides.com.
Outdoor Adventures. Beginning and experienced paddlers are welcome on rafting trips through the rapids of the Methow River. Half-day excursions are $85. 800/282–4043. outdooradventurecenter.com.