Chinook and Cayuse Passes Now Closed for the Year
Highway crews closed Chinook and Cayuse passes early Monday morning after multiple snow slides. After further inspection, maintenance and avalanche teams decided to close the passes for the rest of the season.
“It’s difficult for crews to maintain those routes and manage avalanche control through wet and unstable conditions like this,” said Les Turnley, maintenance supervisor for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Approximately 20 inches of snow fell on the passes Monday, Nov. 12. After a small break in the weather expected this week, the next major storm is forecast for Friday.
Each year, usually in November, WSDOT closes Chinook and Cayuse passes for the winter due to high avalanche risk and hazardous driving conditions. The combination of avalanche danger, mountainous terrain, lack of cell phone service, inclement weather and relatively few vehicles on the roads make for dangerous winter driving.
Chinook Pass, elevation 5,430 feet, is closed from Morse Creek (five miles east of the summit) to Crystal Mountain Boulevard (eight miles northwest of the summit).
Access to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on eastbound SR 410 remains open.
Cayuse Pass is closed within Mount Rainier National Park from the 4,675-foot Cayuse Pass summit to Stevens Canyon Road.
WSDOT offers a number of ways to get travel information: