According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, it takes around 3,000 hours for snow crews to clear two billion cubic yards of snow to re-open the passes every year. Photo courtesy WSDOT
                                According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, it takes around 3,000 hours for snow crews to clear two billion cubic yards of snow to re-open the passes every year. Photo courtesy WSDOT

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, it takes around 3,000 hours for snow crews to clear two billion cubic yards of snow to re-open the passes every year. Photo courtesy WSDOT According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, it takes around 3,000 hours for snow crews to clear two billion cubic yards of snow to re-open the passes every year. Photo courtesy WSDOT

Chinook, Cayuse closed until spring

The passes typically close mid-November to early December.

The gates to Chinook and Cayuse passes through Mount Rainier National Park have closed for the season.

Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews, in coordination with Mount Rainier National Park, shut the gates to State Route 410/Chinook Pass and SR 123/Cayuse Pass for the winter the morning of Thursday, Nov. 21.

Chinook Pass, at an elevation of 5,430 feet, is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. Cayuse Pass, at 4,675 feet, is closed within the boundaries of Mount Rainier National Park between Crystal Mountain Boulevard and the Stevens Canyon Road entrance.

These mountain passes typically are shut down sometime in mid-November each year. A year ago, both passes closed Nov. 20; in 2017, both closed Nov. 7.

Travelers looking to stay connected with mountain pass conditions can sign up for email alerts for both Chinook and Cayuse passes at www.ervice.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new. After entering an email address, subscribers should check the box for “Traffic and Travel Updates” then “Mountain Pass Conditions.” At that pint, users can click either Cayuse or Chinook individually; or, clicking “Mount Rainier Area State Highway News” provides additional information for both passes on a combined webpage that features the status of closure and reopening efforts. Current weather and highway conditions are posted on the mountain passes webpage.

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