Overview: Sun Mountain Lodge is the softest landing in the cardio-junkie paradise of the Methow Valley. With 360-degree views of North Cascades National Park, the lodge's 96 rooms are cozy with overstuffed leather furniture. Decks and patios in every direction let you take advantage of the vistas and sunshine.
Notable: Best known for its Nordic center, 65 km of groomed trails are easily accessible from the lodge and connect to the valley's 200-km network. In summer, the lodge maintains 40 miles of flowy, intermediate singletrack—a good warm-up for the 100 miles of trail valley-wide.
Our Take: There is no nightlife to speak of at the lodge or the hamlet of Winthrop, but Sun Mountain features three solid dining options on site. This includes private dining at the Wine Cellar, which boasts a 600-label wine list heavy on regional selections. Televisions are absent from all but a handful of rooms, so bring a stack of board games to amuse yourself.
Stay Here If: You are serious about wearing yourself out on the trails and then getting a good night's sleep afterwards. Recently renovated cabins on 40 acre Patterson Lake offer even more solitude.
Information: In winter, rooms start around $150 per night, including breakfast. Fully equipped one-room cabins start at $275. sunmountainlodge.com
From the Early Winter 2011 issue