North Cascades Highway closing for the winter

Nov 30, 2023, 1:04 PM | Updated: 2:23 pm

north cascades highway...

(Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

In a sure sign that winter is on the way, the North Cascades Highway is closing for the season Thursday night.

The North Cascades Highway, also called State Route 20, will close at 6 p.m. from the Ross Dam Trailhead, milepost 134, and Silver Star Gate, milepost 171.

More news: Snow on the way to Washington mountains

This is the second latest closure of the highway in the last 10 years.

A winter weather system will arrive Thursday, bringing rain to the Western Washington lowlands and a few inches of fresh snow to the mountains above 2,000 feet. Then, more potent weather systems are expected to track onshore, with rain in the lowlands and as much as one to two feet of new snow in the mountains.

“The stretch of SR 20 that crosses Rainy and Washington passes also crosses dozens of avalanche paths between Whistler Mountain and Delany Ridge,” the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said in their seasonal update. “Staffing, funding and proximity to the national park make it not feasible to do ongoing avalanche control through the winter in the North Cascades.”

SR-20 is the state’s longest highway, running 436 miles. It crosses Washington Pass at 5,477 feet and Rainy Pass at 4,875 feet in the North Cascades. It begins at US 101 at Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula to US 2 near the Idaho state border in Newport. Rainy Pass is about four miles to the west of Washington Pass.

The North Cascades Highway east of Washington Pass has the distinction of being among the top areas in the United States for most avalanche paths per mile of highway.

The highway will be reopened in the spring when road crews are able to clear the road.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday mornin...

Julia Dallas

Seattle police: Woman shot in both hands in early morning drive-by shooting

Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday morning. A woman was shot in her hands.

13 hours ago

Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon...

MyNorthwest and KIRO Newsradio staff

‘Bring it on:’ Washington officials react to Biden dropping out of the race

Washington officials have reacted to President Joe Biden dropping out of the 2024 presidential election.

18 hours ago

I-5 pedestrian killed...

Bill Kaczaraba

Man killed in hit-and-run on Interstate 5 in Seattle

The Washington State Patrol is in the process of gathering further details about a traffic incident on Interstate-5that left one man dead.

2 days ago

Tegu Tazz...


Granite Falls alligator turns out to be escaped pet tegu named ‘Tazz’

Reports of a 10-foot alligator have turned out to be an “incredibly docile and friendly” pet tegu by the name of Tazz.

2 days ago

Apartment fire in Sotuh Lake Union. (via KIRO 7)...

Bill Kaczaraba

South Lake Union apartment fire contained, 2 may be injured

An apartment fire in South Lake Union has been contained, but two people may have been injured.. The fire was in the 320 block of 7th Ave N but units remain in the area. Authorities are asking you to avoid the area. Firefighters are on scene at a reported fire in an apartment building in […]

2 days ago



How a faulty CrowdStrike update crashed computers around the world

All it took was one faulty CrowdStrike software update to cause global disruptions that grounded flights, and other services.

2 days ago

North Cascades Highway closing for the winter