Dave Chesson, WSDOT communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)
Just in time for the July Fourth holiday, the last 2.7 miles of scenic Mount Baker Highway opened Monday morning, July 1. The road has been closed since October 2012 when the snow started falling heavily and the gate was closed.
The Washington State Department of Transportation began clearing behind the gate on June 3. During a scouting trip in May, WSDOT crews found roughly 5 to 15 feet less snow this year than last year, and snow 25 feet deep at the upper Artist Point parking lot. Last year, the road was opened July 24, and in 2011 snowfall left the last two miles above the Heather Meadows visitor center closed all season.
Artist Point is more than 5,000 feet above sea level, and is typically buried under snow and closed October through June or July. As always, the opening and closing of the road is heavily dependent on weather and snow conditions.