Travel Advisories - North Cascades Highway Closed for the Season
Road Construction on Highway 2
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Winter Arrives in the Cascade Loop Region

[updated 11/9/2021] Highway 20 - North Cascades Highway Closes for Winter 

With a forecast of snow followed by warmer, wet weather increasing the risk of avalanches across Rainy and Washington passes, the SR 20 North Cascades Highway will close on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. for the season. The closure points will be milepost 134/Ross Dam Trailhead on the west side and milepost 171/Silver Star Gate on the east.

Why the highway is closed in winter:
[WSDOT says] We close the North Cascades Highway 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. Unlike US 2 Stevens Pass and I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, the North Cascades does not have facilities to perform avalanche control work to alleviate the condition. For the safety of the traveling public and winter maintenance crews, the pass must be closed.

Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.


Winter recreation on SR 20
Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationists can access the closed portion of the 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.Even thought the Loop is not passable over SR 20 travelers should still prepare for winter driving conditions. Since WSDOT closes this stretch of the highway due to avalanche risk, 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 traveling to this area.

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) Outbreak and Masking Information

Updated August 20, 2021

The Cascade Loop is a 440-mile scenic byway that crosses through many regions of Washington State. The safety of visitors and local residents is our highest priority. Please educate yourself with the latest information before finalizing your travel planning. 

On August 19, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced he is reissuing the statewide mask mandate for all public spaces effective Monday, August 23, 2021. Every county in the state currently falls within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) substantial or high transmission category. Each of the state’s 35 local health officers recently recommended all individuals wear masks indoors.

The indoor mask mandate applies to all individuals and children over five years of age regardless of vaccination status. All public spaces across the state, including retail stores, malls, restaurants, grocery stores, and public-facing offices, are affected. The limited exemptions to this mandate include office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated and when working alone indoors or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction. Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt.  While not required, the Department of Health strongly recommends individuals also wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, such as outdoor concerts, fairs and farmers markets.
 
For additional Covid-19 information please see the latest Covid 19: Washington Ready plan, issued in June of which effectively re-opened all counties in Washington State. The Cascade Loop and Washington State is open for business and recreation but please be advised of the latest masking requirements as noted above. 

Further Travel Guidance: 

Washingtonians and others who may be visiting Washington from outside the state are expected to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. This guidance recommends travelers delay travel until they are fully vaccinated, at which point they can travel safely within the United States.

If not vaccinated, travelers are expected to follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people, which includes testing before and after travel, wearing a mask, continuing to socially distance and maintain good hand hygiene.

Detailed guidance for domestic and international travelers is available on the CDC website.


Important Information for Travelers