WSDOT predicts the opening of Washington Pass to be Mother’s Day weekend- just in time for our annual ’49er Days Western Heritage Celebration.
As we anticipate the opening of the North Cascades Scenic Highway, let’s take a little journey back in time to learn about how the highway originated.
What was the purpose of opening a North Cascades route? The highway opened for automotive travel in 1972, but few realize that efforts to open a North Cascades route, as first recorded by white men as far back as 1895, were likely used for thousands of years. Work continued for over a year to open a route between East and West for commerce. That route was opened in 1896, but much was passable only by foot or horseback.
We are so grateful for the tireless work on behalf of WSDOT. The latest date the highway has opened is June 30th. Here you can see the historical dates of the highway opening back to 1935 | WSDOT List
When will North Cascades Highway open?
There are about six miles of roadway yet to clear. Plenty of snow is still in the loading zones of the avalanche paths, and a round of avalanche control is scheduled for next week. Warm weather is melting the snow and helping the cause, but it also creates high avalanche danger conditions that limit the time crews can work in certain areas. It’s tough to say when exactly the road will be open. There are always some finishing touches to the reopening work that may or may not go smoothly, so pinning the exact date down is tricky. If weather and equipment cooperate, the North Cross will be open by Mother’s Day.
In the meantime, avid cyclists enjoy the narrow window of time to bike up to the top of the pass without worrying about avoiding vehicles. While the road crews are away on Fridays and weekends, we can peak at their progress as we enjoy the incredible views along the way.
Helpful Links from WSDOT
- Northwest Avalanche Center issued a special avalanche bulletin: nwac.us/avalanche-forecast/#/snoqualmie-pass
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