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Road to Artist Point Closes for the Season

Posted by Loren Drummond at Oct 24, 2014 09:35 AM |

In a sure sign of seasons changing, the 2.7-mile road (SR 542) between the Mount Baker Ski Area and Artist Point is now closed.

In a sure sign of seasons changing, the 2.7-mile road (SR 542) between the Mount Baker Ski Area and Artist Point is now closed. Washington State Department of Transportation crews closed the road on Oct. 23 after snow started falling and a few inches started sticking at the Mount Baker hiking destination.

“When the snow starts to accumulate, it’s important that we close the road because conditions can be dangerous,” said Tony Hernandez, WSDOT maintenance superintendent. “We were able to open the road pretty early this year, so there was a lot of opportunity for people to get up there.”

The highway closes annually with the first significant snowfall because of the extreme conditions it experiences each winter. The road is narrow with steep grades and sharp corners, reaching an altitude of more than 5,000 feet. By the time spring arrives, the highway may be buried under 30 to 50 feet of snow. It usually takes six to eight weeks to reopen the road once clearing work begins in the spring.

Exploring in the shoulder season

If you are willing to walk the closed road, you can still explore the area around Artist Point in fall and winter. Just be sure to go extra prepared, wear proper footwear, and be ready to turn around if the weather gets dicey.

Dreaming of winter

Can't wait for inches of snow to turn into feet? Start dreaming about the fresh tracks you'll make snowshoeing at Artist Point and around the state this winter.

Fall along the Chain Lakes Trail
Fall turns to winter along the Chain Lakes Trail in Oct. 2013. Photo by AshGan

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