Surrounded by the beautiful Methow Valley, this hike took us along the popular early Spring mountain bike route through Pipestone Canyon. The canyon walls, lined with natural rock columns that are topped with caps, called hoodoos, were naturally formed millions of years ago.
An easy, approximate 5 mile (in and back) old jeep trail used for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking in the fair weather seasons, and those that snow shoe and cross country ski in the winter, the trailhead for Pipestone Canyon is near Campbell Lake.
An “open range” area, we passed cattle grazing in the grass near the lake as we walked along the road to reach the trailhead.
The canyon walls reach heights in excess of 1,500 feet, and, lined with rock formations that almost resemble medievel castles, are very impressive.
The trail first lead us through the rock-lined canyon, then onto a more forested area and ended with rolling fields of grasses.
Peaceful and serene, except for the lone horseback rider we passed along the trail, we seemed to have the entire canyon to ourselves.
To reach the trailhead for Pipestone Canyon, from Winthrop, head south on Highway 20. Do not cross the Methow River, but continue straight for one-quarter mile to the first cross street. Turn left and go one block, then turn right onto the Winthrop-Twisp East County Road. After two miles, turn left onto Upper Bear Creek Road, and follow this road to the end of the pavement where it intersects with Lester Road. Continue up Lester road, staying right at all intersections until you reach Campbell Lake. Park near the information sign at Campbell Lake and walk a short distance to the trailhead.