Road Access to Trails
Getting to the trailhead of your favorite trail depends on well-maintained backcountry roads. When these connectors wash out or are damaged, dozens of trails in your favorite wild places can become inaccessible. Join WTA to help create a rational and sustainable system of backcountry roads designed and maintained to provide wildland access while minimizing environmental impacts.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ISSUE
State of Access: The Future of Roads on Public Lands
Get the full story of how WTA evaluates roads, which roads we recommend fixing, and how to get involved.
Roads to Fix, Roads to Let Go
Looking at hiker use, cost of repair and environmental impact, WTA recommends the following for each of the eight roads. To learn the story of each road and the details of our position on repair, download the report.
- Suiattle River Road: Critical access to the heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness that has been thoroughly studied and is ready for repair.
- Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road: A successful collaboration of land management agencies and the public to rehabilitate an important recreation area. A paving project should be completed by 2015.
- Carbon River Road: A dynamic landscape rendered road realignment unfeasible, making this road an ideal conversion to a hiker/biker trail to a wilderness campground.
- Dosewallips River Road: An important access road that should be reopened as new repair standards can offer access to the west side of the Olympics.
- Stehekin Road: A little-used mountain road that should not be repaired. Relocation would require realignment of the wilderness boundary, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Illabot River Road: A well-built road threatened by a lack of funding for maintenance that nevertheless should remain open.
- Mountain Loop Highway: A critical recreation access road requiring major repairs on a regular basis necessitates continued investment.
- Mitchell Peak Road: DNR should seek take all reasonable steps to secure an easement for recreational travel.
GET THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE BLOG
About 20 inches of fresh snow fell on Mount Rainier passes over the weekend, increasing avalanche danger and prompting the Washington State Department of Transportation to close Cayuse (SR 123) and Chinook Passes (SR 410) to vehicles for the season, though they remain open to winter recreation.
Don't miss your opportunity to shape the future of roads in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Attend the last public meeting in Everett on Nov. 13 and fill out a short questionnaire before the Nov. 30 deadline.
For the second time this summer, heavy rains caused mudslides that closed the North Cascades Highway (SR 20). Mudslides also closed sections of the SR 410 west of Naches and Icicle Road outside of Leavenworth.
The campfire ban on state lands is lifted west of the crest, but you'll have to celebrate National S'mores Day over a backpacking stove in most of the state. A section of the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) remains closed as crews work to clear massive mudslides. Cascade River Road closed to cars, open to foot traffic.
Thunderstorms with intense rains caused wash-outs of two very popular roads this past weekend in North Cascades National Park. Highway 20, the major east-west route through the park, is closed for further notice due to a series of at least eight mudslides between mileposts 150 and 155. Heavy rains also caused the Cascade River Road to wash out at milepost 18, affecting the popular Cascade Pass trailhead.
As repairs to the Suiattle River Road slowly begin to approach reality, Ron Judd, a staff writer for The Seattle Times, has written thoughtful article in examining the challenges that hikers are facing in accessing some of the wild places hikers love. Find out how you can get involved in access issues.
Roads leading into three great recreation areas -- Artist Point, Mount Rainier and the east side of Mount St. Helens -- have opened for the Fourth of July weekend (thanks road crews!). Get the details and remember: just because a road may be open, it doesn't mean hiking trails will be clear or snow-free.
Hitting the road and the trails for a holiday weekend adventure? Get updates on the I-5 reroute, the opening of the Mountain Loop Highway and resources for keeping up to date through your holiday travel plans:
On Tuesday, May 14, the Forest Service closed Glacier Creek Road (Forest Service road 39) due to a washout. The road leads to the Heliotope Ridge Trail, a popular Mount Baker hike which WTA crews have worked on the last three years.
WTA today released State of Access: The Future of Roads on Public Lands. In an era of major storm events, budget cuts and environmental sustainability, this report is a tool to help land managers and the hiking community assess which roads to fix and which roads to let go.
Repairs to the Suiattle River Road may finally become a reality after a new finding from the Federal Highways Administration Western Federal Lands Division. WTA and hikers have been advocating for repairs to the Suiattle River Road since flooding and landslides closed it in 2003.
You have one more chance to help repair the Suiattle River Road, a tremendous opportunity to regain access to some magnificent hikes in the North Cascades.
Landslides in 2003 and 2006 have closed 11 miles of the Suiattle River Road (FR 26) to hikers and campers wishing to access the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Now more than 8 years after the road was damaged, an Environmental Assessment has been published, kicking off a 30-day public comment period.
Repairs to Snohomish County's Index-Galena Road have been put on hold while the county and Federal Highway Administration perform a full Environmental Assessment on the remainder of the the project.
A public open house on June 10th puts us one step closer to making the paving of the Middle Fork - Snoqualmie Road a reality.