North America Vacations
Washington | North Cascades Self-Drive
Vacation in a real-life snow globe as you venture into northern Washington’s winter wonderland on this unique self-drive adventure.
6 Days / 5 NIghts
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Begin your adventure by picking up your rental car in Seattle, Washington. From here, the Inn at Mazama is approximately 4.5 hours’ drive. Upon arrival to the Inn, the “real” adventure begins! The Inn at Mazama serves as your warm and cozy “base camp” for the next five nights. In the coming days, local guides will meet you at trailheads near the Inn to lead you on private excursions in the North Cascade mountains, along Methow Valley trails, and around Pearrygin Lake State Park. Northcentral Washington, where the North Cascades reside, is a gorgeous wilderness in the wintertime where you can explore in your own wonderland. This winter adventure features cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even an afternoon of fat biking. If snow-laden pines, hot cocoa next to a bonfire, and some fun snow-themed activities sound like a dream this winter, then this trip is for you!
- Kick off your adventure with a local wine tasting and hors d’euroves as you settle into the Inn at Mazama, a log lodge property with multiple cabins nestled between pines
- Hear the crunch of snow beneath your snowshoes as you trek through frosty forests in a sparkling winter wonderland
- Get acquainted with cross-country skis before gliding along snow-packed trails alongside your knowledgeable ski guide
- Pedal on fat bikes through Pearrygin Lake State Park, watching a colorful sunset over the rugged North Cascade mountains
- Embark on a snowmobile day trip to the border of North Cascades National Park where you’ll hop off your machines to take on a snowshoeing adventure in a wild place that feels very much your own
- In the evenings, warm up with a hot chocolate in your cozy room or a craft beer around a bonfire as you toast your drink to a well-spent day!
A Few More Reasons Why You’ve Got to Go:
Track winter wildlife on snowshoes along the upper trails of the Methow Valley; Can you tell which tracks came from which animal?
Learn about the North Cascades biolife, its geology, and its more than 300 glaciers from your knowledgeable, local guides
Soak in the solitude that comes with traveling in the wintertime when fewer people visit North Cascades National Park
Seattle, Washington SEA
Seattle, Washington SEA
Seattle / Mazama
Drive from Seattle to the hamlet of Mazama, nestled in the heart of the North Cascades. Upon arrival, check in to your cozy mountain Mazama oasis, home for the next six days and then enjoy a welcome wine tasting and hors d’euroves. Dinner served at the Inn.
About Inn at Mazama
Located conveniently east of North Cascades National Park and multiple recreation areas, this rustic lodging serves as a cozy home base for all adventurers looking to explore Washington’s natural beauty. Pine-studded landscape surrounds the log inn and cabins, creating a peaceful getaway. With its log beams and cedar siding, the Inn at Mazama is a quiet retreat in a small town secluded in the beauty of Washington’s North Cascades. The 18-guest room lodge features rooms with 1 to 2 beds and private bathrooms. For families who need a bit more room, the Inn at Mazama offers over 30 privately owned vacation cabins in the Mazama area.
Cabins: Various cabins are a part of the Mazama property and provide guests more privacy and a fully-equipped kitchen. Some cabins are positioned as far as six miles from the main Inn or as close as 100 yards.
Lodge Suites: Private rooms are available in the main Inn and feature in-suite bathrooms with showers or tubs. Some rooms have propane stoves, mini fridges, Jacuzzis, private decks, and extra beds.
Methow Valley / Pearrygin Lake State Park
Enjoy your breakfast this morning of fresh baked pastries, granola, juice, coffee and more from the Inn’s kitchen. Meet with your cross-country ski instructor and get a lesson in how to gracefully glide through the snow. After your lesson, set out on a guided tour of the glorious upper Methow Valley. Picnic lunch and cocoa will be included at a warming hut station. Return to your cabin to rest, change and enjoy the sweeping mountain vistas around your cabin escape. This evening, set out toward Pearrygin Lake State Park where your skilled guide and Fat Bikes await you. Depart on a scenic bike ride in the snowy woodlands while watching the sunset over the North Cascades. End at a warm and inviting bonfire where we will roast brats (vegetarian option provided) and try some of the favorite local craft beers–cheers to the amazing day of adventure!
Methow Valley / Rendezvous Huts Trail System
This morning, enjoy another breakfast basket from The Inn’s own kitchen and then head out with your expert guide for another day of adventure along the Methow Valley Trails! Perched in a picturesque corner of the Methow, take in sweeping vistas of the snow-capped North Cascades while skiing between cozy huts. Lunch and cocoa will be served in one of the huts where we can appreciate just how lucky we are to be in such an incredible natural environment. Return to your cabin and relax and rest for the rest of the evening. Dinner will be an incredible, locally sourced, Neapolitan pizza and pasta private tasting extravaganza at the Inn.
After a delicious Inn breakfast basket, don your snowshoes and meet up with your guide for a day chock full of wildlife and winterscapes! From the Inn, head out on wildlife tracking and romp along the upper trails of the Methow Valley. A picnic lunch, coffee and cocoa will be served while out in the backcountry. Return to the Inn for a dip in the hot tub, happy hour and dinner at the Inn’s restaurant.
North Cascades National Park
This morning, enjoy your daily breakfast basket from The Inn’s restaurant and then set out into the heart of the North Cascades on snowmobiles! From the park entrance, your guide will take you out on a gorgeous snowshoeing adventure. Today you will undoubtedly have an incredible experience in a National Park that seems almost entirely your own for the day! Picnic lunch will be served while out in the National Park. Return to your cozy retreat in Mazama. Dinner at The Inn or opt for a local chef to come and do a seasonal cooking class for you using local and seasonal ingredients.
Enjoy your final breakfast and then say goodbye to Mazama. Drive back across the dazzling Cascade peaks to Seattle.
*Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Arrival: The drive from Seattle to the Inn at Mazama takes approximately 4.5 hours via Interstate-90 in the winter. To make the start of your trip as smooth as possible, we recommend arriving to Seattle the day before your trip begins. This way, you’ll be able to secure your rental car and embark on the winter trip to the Inn during daylight hours the following day, when it’s safest to drive if the roads are icy or snowy.
Departure: With a 4.5-hour drive back to Seattle, we recommend booking late afternoon flights on the last day of your trip in order to give yourself plenty of time to make it back to Seattle, drop off your rental car and check-in for your flight.
Fat Biking – Moderately easy terrain on snowy trails. Evening fat bike tour with a private guide through Pearrygin Lake State Park at sunset. Distance catered to your group.
Cross-country Skiing – Easy to moderate terrain. A private guide will be with you at all times and will provide lessons for beginner skiers. Distance of each ski session catered to your group.
Snowshoeing – Easy to moderate terrain. A private guide will accompany you on the trails. Perfect activity to explore the snow even as a beginner. Distance catered to your group.
Snowmobiling – No experience necessary. A guide will accompany you on your snowmobile journey to and from North Cascades National Park.
Discovery – Become familiar with the Washington wilderness as your guides enlighten you with their knowledge of the area and the wildlife that call it home. Understand how to track mountain animals and their wintertime behaviors. Genuinely immerse yourself in the winter landscape as you snowshoe atop the glistening snow or glide through it on cross-country skis. Learn about North Cascades National Park, its mountain peaks, and its more than 300 glaciers.
All guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D= Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Professional day guides for all activities.
- All activities as described.
- All necessary equipment (cross-country skis, snowmobiles, fat bikes, snowshoes).
- Wine tasting on Day 1 afternoon/evening.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities for day guides and Inn at Mazama staff.
- Alcoholic beverages (other than wine tasting on first day).
- Rental vehicle & transportation.
- Any meals not listed as included.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
North America Expert
As President of Operations at Austin Adventures, Kasey Austin can tell you the logistical ins and outs of every single trip. More than that, though, Kasey has lived and breathed most of the company’s featured destinations and will eagerly share her contagious passion for the transformational power of active travel. Kasey grew up in the adventure travel business; she knows the positive, lifelong impact of family travel, a quality that earned her the distinction of being named top family travel guide by Outside Magazine in 2014.