Sunday, May 3, 2009

North Cascades Highway is OPEN!

The North Cascades Highway is open for the season. The crews cleared the snow and the highway reopened on Friday, April 24th, a week earlier than estimated. Our first trip across it was this past Friday, May 1st. The crews did a fantastic job (as usual) clearing the highway.

Our route to the NCH takes us through Darrington, Washington on Hwy 530 right past Whitehorse Mountain. Here's a different view of Whitehorse including the glacier that stays year-round.

Looking South to Whitehorse Mountain

The North Cascades Highway is part of the Cascade Loop, a 400 mile driving tour through the Cascade Mountains. It was opened in 1972 and takes you through the North Cascades National Park which has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states.

Two mountain passes are part of the route across the North Cascades - Rainy Pass, elevation 4,855 feet, and Washington Pass, elevation 5,477 feet.

When driving east, the road elevation starts dropping quickly after crossing Washington Pass. Liberty Bell Mountain is to your right as you begin your descent towards the horseshoe bend in the highway. There are several avalanche chutes in this area so you have to watch out! I am always amazed by the number of people hiking and skiing around the bend.

Liberty Bell Mountain

Coming into the horseshoe bend below Liberty Bell (sorry for the bugs on the windshield)

Check out the height of the snow in the horseshoe!

It is a very scenic highway and I encourage you to explore the sights along it should you ever be in the area.

1 comment:

VioletSky said...

What a gorgeous drive! Awesome, in the true sense of the word.