The crew that headed up to the SR 20 North Cascades Highway on March 20.
Another mountain route for drivers, bicyclists to crisscross Cascades
DIABLO – With the swing of the gates, the seasonal stretch of North Cascades Highway/State Route 20 opened at 9 a.m. today for the 2019 season.
The reopening provides:
• Another route between western and eastern Washington for drivers.
• Access to more miles of US Bike Route 10.
• Access to mind-blowing hiking and gorgeous campgrounds.
The clearing process
The four-week clearing process began on March 25. This week, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews and avalanche technicians completed preparations by causing controlled snow slides to clear chutes above the road, repaired and replaced guardrail and pavement and cleared ditches of debris to channel water from melting snow.
Remember: winter conditions remain
While the road is open, there are still signs of winter along the highway. Those planning hiking, camping or snow activities should prepare for limited parking until snow melts and should not stop or park in the travel lanes.
For safety, people driving and bicycling should obey highway signs and avoid stopping below snow slide areas such as Liberty Bell Mountain east of Washington Pass. There are limited facilities between Diablo and Mazama, so travelers should come prepared with a stocked emergency kit for the trip. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should also expect sand on the road until temperatures warm.
The North Cascades Highway officially opened in September 1972. The 37-mile scenic by-way travels through Whatcom, Chelan and Okanogan counties, connecting communities in western Washington’s Skagit River Valley with the Methow Valley in eastern Washington.