Text by Peter Bauer. Photos by Gordon Congdon
Cub Creek Trailhead to Rendezvous Pass and out Cedar Creek trail (25 km)
- This is more advanced in the sense that a steady climb can be daunting, especially in early season, but the grades are never steep.
- Begins at the Cub Creek trailhead, follow Cougar Bait Trail to Cow Creek Trail.
- Stay on the main route for a steady climb to Rendezvous Pass. The trail is groomed ‘double wide’ along the areas described so far.
- Return about 3 km toward your starting point, and take a left turn along the Cedar Creek Trail, a steady climb at first and then quite gentle with pleasant views of the surrounding mountains.
- Enjoy a thrilling descent (if groomed; ungroomed would make it an advanced route) down the Cedar Creek Loop. Take a right turn just before the trail turns up to Heifer Hut.
- This puts you back on Cougar Bait for a gentle descent of the last few kilometers. About 25 km total. Often the best snow in the entire system, so a good place to go when other areas don’t have good coverage.
Through the Rendezvous (30 k)
- A 30 km point-to-point tour taking you from the Cub Creek Trailhead to Mazama.
- Go over Rendezvous Pass via the route described above starting at Cub Creek. Make a fun swooping descent into Rendezvous Basin (usually reliable snow here).
- Eventually you face ‘Sick-Joke-Hill (not on the map) the hardest climb in the entire 200 km system.
- When you finally arrive at the high point (near the old Fawn Creek Hut), a long moderately steep descent awaits you (1300-foot drop over about 4 km). I can’t recommend this portion of the route if it is icy or has not been groomed.
- Follow the Goat Creek Trail over varied, rolling terrain. Eventually it crosses Goat Creek and dumps you out at the foot of the meadows loops in Mazama.
- Ski to the Corral parking lot by the Mazama Store and enjoy some of the excellent food here — you will have earned it!
Geography & Trail Maps. The system of cross-country trails throughout the Methow Valley is the second largest groomed trail system in North America. It takes some time to get a handle on the monster, but studying these schematic maps prepared by Methow Trails (formerly called the Methow Valley Sports Trail Association) will help you visualize how the different pods of trails piece together. The Rendezvous Trails are situated between Mazama and Winthrop but are higher and to the north.
Ski Passes. Ski passes are required on the groomed trails managed by Methow Trails. For the 2014-15 season daily trail passes cost $22 for adults (ages 18 to 74). Multi-day passes for adults cost $57 for the first three days and $19 for each consecutive day. Children 17 & under and seniors 75 and over ski free. Snowshoe passes:$5. Dog passes:$5.
Passes can be purchased at the following locations:
- Twisp: Methow Valley Inn, Twisp River Suites.
- Winthrop:Chewuch Inn & Cabins, Methow Cycle and Sport, Methow Trails Office, Nordic Ultratune, Red Apple Market, River Run Inn, Rocking Horse Bakery, Sun Mountain Ski Shop, Winthrop Ice Rink, Winthrop Inn, Winthrop Mountain Sports.
- Mazama: Brown’s Farm, Jack’s Hut – Freestone Inn, Mazama Country Inn, Mazama Store, Goat’s Beard, MV Ski School & Rentals, North Cascades Basecamp, Rolling Huts.
About Dogs. Information here about skiing with dogs, passes required for dogs, leash rules, poop rules, and the number of dogs allowed. Aggressive dogs and dogs that chase wildlife are not allowed. Dog are welcomed only on specific groomed trails within the Methow Valley Sports Trail system:
- Rendezvous System This map has details about which Rendezvous Trails allow dogs (28 km). Access to the dog trails are only from Cub Creek and Gunn Ranch. There is dog access from the
Mazama side. A dog pass is required for all the trails in the Rendezvous System.
- South Spring Creek Ranch Loop – located at the Winthrop Town Trailhead.
- Big Valley Trail – Big Valley Trailhead (4 km and 8 km loops). No dog pass is needed here — this is a multi-use trail available, free of charge, to all users.
Other Trail Uses. A wide number of trails throughout the Methow Valley accommodate snowshoers (details here). Recently fat-tired bikes have been allowed on designated groomed trails within the system (details here).
Grooming Report. In winter, read the daily grooming report for all trails here.
Huts. There are five huts (Cassal, Gardner, Grizzly, Heifer, Rendezvous) found along the Rendezvous trails. The huts are an average of five miles apart and can be reserved by Nordic skiers. More details.
Posting Dates: This post was first posted 3/01/2014 and last updated 12/3/2014.
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