By MBE Staff
The gates at milepost 54 on State Route 542 (otherwise known as Mt. Baker Highway) were officially closed for winter on the morning of Monday, October 23, according to a statement from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT maintenance crews are preparing for the season’s first snowfall, forecasted into Monday and Tuesday nights.
The final 2.7 miles of Mt. Baker Highway, referred to as the road to Artist Point, is a teetering, switchback-filled, two-lane stretch that is annually shut down once snowfall makes the path extremely dangerous for vehicle traffic. Closures usually occur in late October, and this year’s closure is no different, WSDOT wrote.
The road is expected to be clear of snow and reopened in the late spring or early summer of 2024. This year, the road was open to travellers on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.
The road was most recently the finale for the annual Mt. Baker Hill Climb, which featured hundreds of cyclists, from amateurs to former professional hill climber Phil Gaimon, ascending more than 4,000 feet from the town of Glacier to the trailhead at Artist Point.
Once the winter snow blankets Mt. Baker, a portion of the road becomes part of the terrain at Mt. Baker Ski Area. Backcountry recreationalists are encouraged by WSDOT to continue to monitor weather and avalanche conditions at Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Northwest Avalanche Center. WSDOT insisted travelers and recreationalists always be prepared for inclement weather and drastically changing highway conditions when travelling into the rugged North Cascades in the winter.
For information on additional road closures, visit WSDOT’s Mountain Passes webpage to stay up to date before venturing out into the wild. X