Local Information

October snow closes the road to Artist Point

Sunday, October 28, 2018 - 07:45

Final stretch of SR 542 is closed for the season

Contact: Andrea E. Petrich, Communications, 360-399-0041

GLACIER – As the season of scarves, pumpkins and colored leaves flutters in, the sun has set on the summer adventure season at Artist Point.

Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews have closed the State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway seasonal gate to Artist Point to vehicle traffic due to snow and unsafe conditions. This year the highway was open for 130 days, the second longest season on record. In 2014 it was open for 115 days and in 2015 for 171 days. 

Travelers can still access the area on foot, with snowshoes or fat-tire bicycles from the closure point, at milepost 54.7, near the Bagley Lakes Trailhead. Vehicle access will not reopen until 2019. Anyone traveling into this area during the fall, winter and spring should be aware of quickly changing conditions and can check-in with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Ranger District before heading out.

Keeping travelers safe
This narrow mountain highway is nearly a mile above sea level and experiences severe winter weather. WSDOT closes the highway due to steep hillsides and sharp curves that would be unsafe for crews to keep clear and dangerous for travelers to try and navigate during the winter months. Mount Baker Ski Area also has a run for skiers and snowboarders that crosses the roadway once it is buried in snow.

Once winter weather wraps up next year, WSDOT crews will bring in equipment to this seasonal stretch and clear the highway. That work schedule varies based on conditions but the final stretch usually opens around July.

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