Celebrating 50 Years!

It all started with the dream of a young man named Jack Barron, who rode this magnificent country as a youth.  He wanted to share the experience of this land with others.  He began construction of his dream of a mountain top resort in 1965 and opened the original Sun Mountain Lodge in 1968.  The location chosen was a 3,000 foot high mountain top with 360 degree views of mountains, wilderness and valleys.  He wanted to make the lodge blend in with its surroundings, so he used huge local boulders, fossil-imbedded stones and mammoth timbers in its construction.  The main facility of Mr. Barron’s Sun Mountain Lodge included a dining room, lounge, front desk and public meeting rooms with adjacent pool and hot tub.  This building was designed by well known Pacific Northwest architect Roland Terry.  There were two two-story buildings for guest rooms, one facing Gardner Mountain and the other facing Patterson Lake, with a total of 50 rooms.  The original “lodging” facility was actually on the valley floor, and consisted of a cluster of cabins near the Sunny M Ranch.  The cabins were moved to Patterson Lake.

In 1987, the Haub brothers of Germany purchased the Lodge with the adjacent Sunny M Ranch.  When they decided that Sun Mountain needed renovation and expansion to meet the needs of today’s traveler, they did not want to alter the original vision or style.  They hired the Seattle-based design firm NBBJ to design the “new” Sun Mountain Lodge, using natural materials and huge dimensions throughout, in keeping with the original structure.  The magnificent wooden beams were made of Douglas Fir and the stone floor was constructed of Idaho Quartz.  The new Sun Mountain Lodge opened in May of 1990.

Besides the original dining room and lounge, the main lodge now includes expanded and modified meeting rooms, a hot tub and outdoor swimming pool, full service spa, an exercise room with universal-type equipment, an activity/recreation center, a full line gift shop, a secluded library with a fireplace and many outdoor recreation facilities.  The expanded lodge building contains 47guestrooms, and in the totally rebuilt Gardner building are 28 rooms with wet bars and gas fireplaces.  The Robinson building, which opened at Christmas 1996, has 24 deluxe rooms with stocked refreshment centers, gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs in each room.  All accommodations have spectacular views of either the North Cascades Mountains or the scenic Methow Valley below.

Handcrafted items new and old add to the atmosphere at Sun Mountain Lodge.  The antique key rack located at the Front Desk is circa 1910, from an old bar in the Ballard District of Seattle.  The arts and crafts displayed in our rooms are all from local artists ranging in age from 4 to 94 years old.  Local artists and local craftsmen’s products were used throughout.

In 1999 the old swimming pool area was transformed into the free-form swimming pool and hot tub on the bluff, and the surrounding patio area was renovated and enlarged.  This is a lovely area to sit and enjoy the view on a warm summer evening.  The Wolf Creek Bar & Grill deck was also expanded in 1999 allowing for casual outdoor summertime dining, and a new kitchen was added.  The Activities Shop and game room were both renovated and enlarged.

In 2002, Sun Mountain embarked on a 2.5 million dollar reconstruction and refurbishment of its Main Lodge guestrooms and Patterson Lake cabins. According to interior designer Deb Maenner, the rooms have an entirely new feel, with a warmer, brighter look.  In keeping with Sun Mountain Lodge’s founding objectives, the $900,000 project at the main Lodge was completed by local craftsmen and contractors. The new armoires and tables were fashioned out of maple and cherry by local furniture makers Cliff Schwab and Michael Martin. The upholstery and duvet covers were made by Twisp residents Julie Langeberg and Evelyn Oakford, new paint by Sharon Cohen and David Blum, and ironwork by D.J. Stull of Winthrop.
The remaining $1.6 million was spent down at our sister resort at Patterson Lake, where all of the old studio cabins were replaced. We now have ten one-bedroom units, four loft suites and two Grand Suites. Each cabin has a gas fireplace, full kitchen, living and dining area, and a lovely veranda overlooking the lake. Designed by Boe Architects of Tacoma, each new cabin will sleep five people and feature a full bedroom, kitchen, living room with gas fireplace and deck. The four Loft Suites have two bedrooms, 1 3/4 baths, full kitchen, living area and gas burning fireplace, plus a lovely verandah. These suites sleep up to six people.   Two Grand Suites have the same layout as the loft suite plus an expanded living area ideal for informal gatherings or meetings and sleep up to eleven. Wade Perrow Construction of Gig Harbor and Winthrop is the general contractor of this 1.6 million dollar project. A new office has also been built.

In 2007, the Lodge doubled the size of its primary conference facility to 3,900 square feet.  This increases its meeting, wedding and banquet capacity to 300 people, more than double its past capacity.  It can also be divided in half to make two rooms seating 150 guests each.  The new Pasayten Room features large picture windows showcasing the spectacular views over the Methow River Valley and the 8,000 foot peaks of the Okanogan National Forest.  A full range of the latest audio-visual equipment is available including two drop-down LCD projectors, four large LCD video monitors, and wireless Internet service, which is already available throughout the resort.

As you will discover during your stay, we offer a unique dining experience. Our Executive Chef designs menus for the Dining Room and Wolf Creek Bar & Grill as well as banquets and special occasions.  Our unique Wine Cellar opened in 1998, with a large selection of the finest wines of the Pacific Northwest.

Sun Mountain was the first destination cross country ski resort in the Northwest.  It is now the largest, with over 60 km. of groomed trails, which are connected to and are part of the huge 175 km. Methow Valley Sport Trails Association system – one of the largest groomed ski trail systems in North America.  Our very own Bret Alumbaugh directs the ski program. The Loup Loup Ski Bowl, with 1,200 vertical feet and a four person chairlift is about 25 miles away.  Other winter activities include snowshoeing, ice skating and sleigh rides, with special holiday festivities during the Christmas season.

We have a complete horseback riding facility in warm weather with guided trail rides and “Cowboy Camp Dinner”, a ride on horseback or hay wagon, with dinner, at the old Hough homestead.  Patterson Lake offers kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboards, paddle boating and sailing in addition to fishing and hiking.  There is also an outdoor barbecue facility and children’s playground. Both guided and self-guided nature walks are available from the lodge.  Other warm weather options include tennis, river rafting, mountain biking, golf at nearby Bear Creek Golf Course, and fly fishing in lakes and streams near the Lodge.

Sun Mountain has become one of the Northwest’s premier four season resorts.  In 1990 Sun Mountain Lodge, through its general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis of Redmond, Washington, received the “Excellence in Construction” Award.  In the same year the Dining Room received its first AAA Four Diamond Award, and in 1994 became the only resort in Washington State to have the AAA Four Diamond Award bestowed on both the Dining Room and the Resort. We continue to pursue excellence in all aspects of its operation.  In 2010 Conde Naste honored Sun Mountain Lodge with their Award for Excellence as “ Most Excellent Lodge, “ and in 2013 was honored by Fodor’s Travel as one of the Top 100 hotels in the world.  In 2016, KING5 “Best Northwest Escapes” Contests: Voted Sun Mountain Lodge  “Best Lodge”; Runner Up: “Romantic Hotel”; and Runner Up:  “Best Horseback Outfitter”: “Red” at Sun Mountain Lodge.

We look forward to welcoming you as we celebrate 50 years in business!

The first Gardner building, and the original swimming pool.

Sun Mountain Lodge, in the beginning. Gardner Building on the left, main Lodge center, and the Patterson Building (which is no longer there – it’s now the lower parking lot).

Aerial shot of Sun Mountain Lodge in the early days, during the spring wildflower season.