"The wild west in Washington state" Winthrop by Carmanah

Winthrop Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 36 photos

Winthrop, Washington, USA
Location: 48 47' North, 120 18' West
Population: 349 (2000 Census)
Incorporated: March 12, 1924

My grandparents went to Winthrop in the early 90's and perhaps suggested the visit to my parents. In August 1997 we spent a week in Washington state exploring the regions east of the Cascades, an area we had yet to familiarize ourselves with.

We started our trip from our home in Vancouver, driving southwards on I-5 to the city of Everett, eastbound along Hwy 2. It was a very overcast day, and the rain was starting to fall. We passed by various small towns, and then the highway turned mountainous as we entered the Cascades. We drove through a heavy rainstorm that produced thunder and lightning - something you probably don't want while in the mountains, but nevertheless, since traffic was driving so slow, we made it safe and sound. Our destination that night was the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth. We spent 2 nights in Leavenworth.

We left Leavenworth in the late morning on the 3rd and continued down the highway until we reached the city of Wenatchee, a city located on the banks of the Columbia river in a semi-arid landscape. We continued on our way, stopping in the summer resort town of Chelan, located on the south shore of Lake Chelan. Chelan had a mixture of cute country-style shops, hip modern shops, and alternative hippy shops.

We spent a few hours in Chelan and continued our drive north towards Winthrop. We finally arrived in the late afternoon, and were completely charmed by this town.

Winthrop is like a living, breathing, wild west town that someone resurrected from the turn of the century. It's much drier and sunnier when you get east of the Cascades, and so the appearance of a Western-style town is reasonably in context. Boardwalks line the roads, where many wild-west themed shops attract the tourists. Ranches, rivers and gorgeous trees surround the town, really making you believe you're in old town Texas or somewhere. It's all just simple fun, with a few pleasant shops and some excellent restaurant offerings. Like Leavenworth, it's corny but it works.

My sister decided to purchase a cowboy hat from this town. I don't remember buying anything like that, but do remember having dinner at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, listening to the hum of the crickets in the nearby wildflowers at night, walking down the streets of town and exploring the museums... it was really a great town to spend a day in.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Incredibly scenic and quaint. It feels like you're on a set for a wild west movie. The dusty roads, the creeks, the colours... the smells... it's wonderful in the summer. It's a peaceful retreat near the Cascades
  • Cons:There's only a limited amount of things to do. It's also off the beaten track. If you're only into large city urban entertainment, this place ain't for you
  • In a nutshell:It's a town in a 19th century wild west time warp - but I love it!
  • Last visit to Winthrop: Aug 1997
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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