TOUTLE – More than 15 feet of snow kept State Route 504 in Cowlitz County closed for the winter season this year. On Saturday, May 11, nature enthusiasts can make the trek back up the mountain as the Washington State Department of Transportation reopens Spirit Lake Memorial Highway.
Crews started work in mid-April to clear the nearly two-story-tall snow banks that piled up on the highway since its closure in December 2012.
“This hasn’t been a typical winter, but nothing is predictable when it comes to weather in the Pacific Northwest,” said WSDOT maintenance supervisor Sam Arola. “Winter conditions can come back at any moment, so drivers headed up there this weekend should still be prepared.”
WSDOT closes SR 504 from the Hummocks Trailhead to the Johnston Ridge Observatory each year due to hazardous snow conditions and avalanche risk. The roadway reopens in the spring when weather conditions improve and crews are able to effectively clear the snow from the roadway.
More information about the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is available on the Web.