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Now Open: North Cascade Hwy, Mount St. Helens

Posted by Loren Drummond at May 12, 2014 06:25 PM |

In sure signs of spring, the North Cascades Highway and Mount St. Helen's visitors centers are now open. Spring runoff has also caused the closure of Twisp River Road.

In sure signs of spring last week, crews finished clearing the North Cascades Hwy (SR 20), and Mount St. Helen's opened their visitors centers for the season.

Major east-west route opens in grand tradition

After six weeks of clearing snow, rock slides, and releasing avalanche chutes, Washington State Department of Transportation crews opened the North Cascade Highway (SR 20) last week.

While there's still plenty of snow in the high country, the highway will make it easier for hikers to explore the Methow Valley on the east side and the snow-free hikes west of the divide.

The clearing of the snow-bound highway is a welcome annual event, one that's generated some traditions over the years:


Cayuse Pass opens May 16

[added Thursday, May 15] In additional good news to travelers, Cayuse Pass is set to open at noon on May 16. Cayuse Pass on Highway 410 serves as a scenic entrance to the east side of Mount Rainier National Park.

Mount St Helens opens for the season

Gifford Pinchot National Forest opened the Mount St. Helens area to the public for the 2014 season on May 10.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory will be open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater is also currently open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday and will be extending their hours to 6 p.m..

Twisp River Road closed, cuts off access to campground and trailheads

Also in roads news this week: water cutting across the Twisp River Road has created an unsafe condition and has led to a closure on the Twisp River Road just before the Poplar Flat Campground, west of Twisp Washington.

“Storms last summer damaged some of the Forest Roads,” said Michael Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger. “We were able to get some temporary fixes in place but now spring runoff is causing more damage.”

The closure, which is about one mile east of the Poplar Flat Campground, will remain in place until repairs can be made to make the road passable. It blocks vehicle access to Poplar Flat Campground, South Creek Trailhead and Campground, Scatter Creek Trailhead and the Roads End Campground and trailhead.