SR 20 - North Cascades Highway

Diablo Lake overlook

Diablo Lake overlook

Last Update: 1:45 p.m., April 16, 2021: Closed for season

Clearing work started at Early Winters gate on Monday, April 5.  By end of day Thursday, April 16, the east side crew had reached Cutthroat Ridge near milepost 165.  Those interested in accessing area behind the closure points are advised to consult the Northwest Avalanche Center for current backcountry avalanche conditions.  Lanes are clear in most areas but are not for passanger vehicle travel at this time.  Ice and slush were reported on the roadway.  The clearing work typically takes 4 to 6 weeks.

The North Cascades Highway closed Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 due to heavy snowfall and risk of avalanche. 

Overview
State Route 20 is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and is commonly referred to as the North Cascades Highway. This scenic byway offers travelers a wide array of beautiful vistas and is part of the Cascade Loop, a 400-mile driving tour through the Cascades.

Why we close the highway in winter
We close the North Cascades when weather, snow conditions and avalanche danger threaten the safety of drivers and our maintenance crews. Avalanches typically close the highway between late November and mid December.

Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.

Winter recreation on SR 20
Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationalists can access the closed portion of highway during the winter season. Users should park in designated parking areas to allow plow drivers the space they need to clear snow around the closed stretch’s access gates.

WSDOT closes this stretch of highway due to avalanche risk, so anyone using this area should check forecasts and be aware of quickly changing conditions in the mountains. Travelers can also check conditions with North Cascades National Park before trips to this area.

Avalanche areas
The North Cascades Highway closure zone has 27 avalanche chutes, some stretching more than 2,000 feet above the highway. By way of comparison, avalanche chutes along Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes are all well under 1,000 feet high.

View a detailed avalanche area map on Flickr

Web cameras

Current weather conditions
For recreation purposes and while the highway is closed, or in the summer/fall when the pass reports are suspended, you can find weather information with these links:

Contact

Lauren Loebsack, Communications  509-860-0000 (mobile)
North Central Region-Wenatchee

DiAngelea Millar, Communications
Northwest Region-Burlington

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