The Washington State Department of Transportation says Chinook Pass will reopen this winter, while Cayuse Pass will stay closed.
NACHES, WA - It's a tale of two passes, the Washington State Department of Transportation says Chinook Pass will reopen this winter, while Cayuse Pass will stay closed.
A challenging combination of harsh weather and hazardous conditions has led the Washington State Department of Transportation and the National Park Service to determine that State Route 123 Cayuse Pass will remain closed for the season.
The DOT says conditions for clearing Chinook Pass along State Route 410 are more favorable, and the roadway is open for now, as of noon on Wednesday, November 20th.
"Weather permitting, we try to keep Chinook open as long as safely possible," said Dan Floyd, WSDOT assistant regional administrator for maintenance.
SR 123 through Cayuse Pass is closed at the summit to the Mount Rainier National Park entrance at Stevens Canyon Road. Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is still accessible on SR 410.
The DOT closed both Chinook and Cayuse passes earlier this week due to heavy snow and the increased risk of avalanches.
Driver heading to higher elevations should be prepared for winter conditions across the mountain passes.
Typically in November each year, WSDOT closes Chinook and Cayuse passes due to hazardous driving conditions.
Avalanche danger, mountainous terrain and lack of cell phone service make for dangerous winter driving.