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SR 20 is Now Open: Five Houses Worth Touring in the Methow Valley

The road to Mazama is open again. Thank, WSDOT. Take advantage of the seasonal re-opening of Highway 20 to visit (and maybe look for properties) in the Methow Valley

Nicely done, WSDOT! The road crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation have opened Highway 20. Snow closed the road for months every year; until the crews can finally get ahead of the snow and clear the road. Aside from being a scenic drive, it also cuts an hour or two off the drive to the head of the Methow Valley, a place for people who like hiking, skiing, fishing, hunting, and getting away from Seattle. Here are five houses that might be worth a visit.

Get aerobic. The Methow Valley Trail Association has 120 miles of ski trails, which just happen to cross this property's 20 acres, which also means you get a trail pass. Of course, first you have to deal with the listing price of $774,000; but you get a singular house. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and covers 2,500 square feet; but the barrel-styled roof and cathedral ceiling make the house unforgettable and voluminous. It was built in 2000, so it should be fairly modern while also reflecting country character with lots of wood and a river rock chimney. After your day on the trails, you can relax in a hot tub that is equipped with a snow shed. In case you haven't noticed, it snows in the Methow.

Sit just high enough up the valley walls and get a view to the mountains and a view down to the river. Don't go too high though, or you'll need a snow machine to get the mail. This 1994 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2,479 square foot house seems to have found that balance. They're asking $687,500 for it and the 11 acre lot that includes a shop and a 40 foot by 40 foot garage. Inside, it is dressed-timber style with a rotunda that lets you enjoy the view without worrying about the weather. Keep warm with a Russian stone fireplace, for yet another unique and practical feature.

Down in the valley floor, where this 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 2,085 square foot house sits is also where the long, flat trails stretch by. The listing price is $469,000, which includes 2.21 acres. The steep pitch makes the roof shed the snow. The metal roofing protects during the fire season. Convenience happens with the right location, and a house on the highway means easy access to Winthrop and Mazama. Like any house in the Methow, for some shopping runs you might have to drive a bit farther.

Skip the fancy and just go classic. Inside this 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 story is iconic cabin architecture. It is built with lumber rather than timber, but a few logs and river rocks were added to capture the feel. It is a tidy 1,296 square feet with an emphasis on the outdoors. Two covered decks give you a better chance of picking your weather. Do you want to sit in the sun or the shade? The $289,500 property is 1.93 acres in the vicinity of Sun Mountain Lodge, which means yet more trails - and a bit of luxury if you want a night out.

Two master suites, 3 bathrooms, 180 feet of low bank waterfront, and a potential ADU on the 0.51 acre property would cost a lot more than $239,000 in Seattle. In the Methow it gets you a classic 1977 design that includes a spiral staircase and a relatively flat roof, which enables a lot more volume indoors. Outdoors, you get a greenhouse and a garage. Be glad for the year-round water. And, be glad for a place to store your toys and outdoor gear.

· 580 Wolf Creek Rd, Winthrop [Zillow]

· 210 Studhorse Mountain Rd, Winthrop [Zillow]

· 17998 Highway 20, Winthrop [Zillow]

· 4 Barnaby Rd, Winthrop [Zillow]

· 26 S Maughn River Rd, Winthrop [Zillow]