I was introduced to the Mazama Store during my first backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail with the wonderful group of women from my church I mention here. I had never been to the town of Mazama, WA, in the Methow Valley and I was excited to see what this area was like. The town sits 26 miles east of Rainy Pass on SR 20 before you get to places like Winthrop and Twisp. It’s also the closest town from where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway.
We had stopped by the store on the way up to Forest Road 5400 (seen here on Dangerous Roads) up from the town of Mazama, WA, only to find out that the road was closed. The road closure hadn’t dissuaded us, of course. Or I should say it hadn’t dissuaded my friend Barb, who talked our way around the bulldozer fixing the road so that we could continue on up to start our trip. I learned I was in the company of some pretty badass women on that trip.
Some thru hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail visit the town if they are “southbound” because it is the gateway to Hart’s Pass, the most northern TH on their journey and where you hop on to go north to Canada and then turn around and go south to Mexico. Most folks hiking the trail northbound resupply in Stehekin because Mazama is a “hitch” to get from the junction at Rainy Pass. I want to tell you why it is worth it to stick your thumb out and make the trip into town!
The town is not big, mostly a few establishments like the store and real estate office anchored by a four way stop at the intersection of the two main roads in town. Everything else is private cabins or homes and vacation lodging, so it is hard to miss the store when you come into town. You take a left at that intersection and the large wooden building on your right stands out as the hub of the town. It’s also the only gas station.
When I was up here last fall for a trail work party, I took some pictures to show what kinds of things you might find in the store.
You won’t find instant noodles like these at a convenience store.
Lots of nuts and such in the bulk food section.
Fresh fruits and veggies! You know you will be craving salad.
How about chocolate, anyone?
They have a large refrigerated section with plenty of healthy, organic options. You will also find a large selection of drinks, including kombucha and ciders.
There are lots of yummy vegan and vegetarian foods.
Those are the biggest tortillas I have ever seen! They had to be at least 15″ in diameter.
You can go vegan veggie…
…or omnivore with your burritos.
They even have ICE CREAM!! During the summer, you will see the picnic tables in the patio next to the store filled with people of all ages cooling off the quickly melting mounds of creamy goodness perched precariously on cones they hold in their hands. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their deli sandwiches, homemade bakery items and gourmet espresso drinks.
Folks come here not only for the shopping and eating, but because it is the best source of information for what is happening in the Methow Valley. Want to know how the snowpack is? Want to know the road conditions for that infamous forest road up to Hart’s Pass? The store is your place. The gear shop, Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies, also sits in the same complex, nestled behind the main store.
So, instead of shipping your last resupply into Stehekin and dealing with the hours of the post office, plan to get over to the Mazama store and treat yourself right those last days to Canada. You won’t regret it!