State Route 20 is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and is commonly referred to as the North Cascades Highway. This Scenic Byway offers travelers a wide array of beautiful vistas and is part of the Cascade Loop, a 400-mile driving tour through the Cascades. Take a virtual drive on the highway from your computer.
Pass status: Closed for the season
UPDATE: Mar. 4 , 2015
The North Cascades Highway remains closed for the season to licensed motor vehicles from milepost 134, the Diablo Gate, in the west and milepost 178, the USFS Early Winters Information Center, 6 miles west of Mazama, in the east.
The west end of the closed section of SR 20, from the Diablo Gate to milepost 143, is also closed to hiking and winter recreation activities. Crews are now working to scale more rocks and mud of a slope that caused a large landslide onto the highway in early December. Crews removed the slide debris from the highway back in January. We are hopeful the scaling will be complete by mid month. This work is preparing the slope for rock bolts, shotcrete and steel nets - the permanent repairs which will be done when those slopes dry and it's safe for crews to do the work, later this summer.
To determine how soon crews can begin clearing snow from the highway, the current plan is for the Avalanche Crew to make its assessment trip on March 10. Typically, the clearing starts in late March or early April and takes as many as eight weeks to complete, depending on conditions. With the clearing on the west side necessitated by the rock work, it may cut the snow clearing by a few weeks.
A cursory look by a team repairing the weather station at Washington Pass the week of Feb. 16 showed fewer than normal slides in the Cutthroat zone, big slides under Liberty Bell and a fairly typical eight feet of snow on the pavement at Washington Pass. Current forecasts say there are still several weeks of snow coming despite the below average snowfall during the past month.
Why we close the highway in winter:
We close the North Cascades when weather, snow conditions and avalanche danger threaten the safety of drivers and our maintenance crews. We close the highway on the west side at milepost 134, east of Diablo, and on the east side at milepost 171, 14 miles west of Mazama. As the snow gets too deep for the plow truck, the east closure point is moved 7 miles down to the Early Winters Information Center at milepost 178. Avalanches typically close the highway between late November and mid December.
Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.
Current driving conditions:
Between April and November when the road is typically open, we post the current North Cascades Pass report on our WSDOT mountain passes Web page as we do for all of the passes. May through October, pass conditions are only posted if there's a potential travel hazard.
Current weather conditions:
For recreation purposes and while the highway is closed, or in the summer when the pass reports are suspended, you can find weather information with these links:
Contacts for more information
Jeff Adamson, Communications
North Central Region-Wenatchee
Tom Pearce, Communications
Sign up for: E-mail updates for the North Cascades Highway