Really – no April fool’s joke here. It’s that time of the year again when the WSDOT does double duty – keeping all our open mountain passes clear of the snow that continues to fall and begins work on those that were closed all winter. This past week, they started clearing snow from both Cayuse Pass and North Cascades Highway. And they’re saying it could possibly be open for accessing some of our favorite backcountry skiing/riding zones as early as the end of April starting with Cayuse Pass (at the junction of SR410 and 123) which connects to Chinook Pass five miles to the west and White Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park. DOT reports estimate the snow to be at least 12ft deep near the 4,675-foot-high pass.
Meanwhile, another team started tackling the North Cascades Highway which closes every winter on the west side at milepost 134, east of Diablo, and on the east at mp 171, 14 miles west of Mazama. The lines in the map point to where DOT finished the week at. DOT hopes to have this open by the 1st week of May. Last year, Cayuse Pass and N. Cascades Highway didn’t open until May 25 and 26, respectively so this is great news. If you’re wondering what makes this zone one of our favorites, check out our post and video from summer skiing there.