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Contact: Tracy Swartout, Mount Rainier NP, 360-569-6502
Contact: Nicole Daniels, WSDOT (Cayuse), 206-440-4479
Contact: Summer Derrey, WSDOT (Chinook), 509-577-1943
SR 410 Chinook Pass to remain closed until Memorial Day weekend
MOUNT RAINIER – The spring opening of State Route 123 Cayuse Pass through Mount Rainier National Park is just around the corner. Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews plan to reopen the scenic route to vehicle traffic at 8 a.m. Friday, May 19.
"We are working closely with our partners at the National Park Service to make sure we get Cayuse Pass open as quickly and as safely as we can for both our crews and the traveling public,” said WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator Dave McCormick. “While we want folks to enjoy these scenic highways, safety for our crews and drivers is our number one priority.”
Crews have cleared all of the snow off SR 410 between Crystal Mountain Boulevard and Cayuse Pass, on the west side of Mount Rainier. In addition, they have cleared the snow from SR 123 between Cayuse Pass and the park’s southeastern entrance near Stevens Canyon Road.
However, before vehicle traffic can get through the area, WSDOT crews need to repair and pave part of SR 123, install road signs and clear branches and rocks that came onto the road over the winter months.
Meanwhile, WSDOT maintenance crews on the eastside of Mount Rainier hope to reopen SR 410 Chinook Pass in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The opening date is dependent on the weather and avalanche conditions.
Mount Rainier National Park
At 8 a.m. Friday, May 12, SR 123 will open at the National Park entrance north of Packwood. The road will only be open as far as Stevens Canyon Road. On the same day, Stevens Canyon Road will also reopen from SR 123 to the Grove of the Patriarchs trailhead, where public restrooms will be available. The rest of Stevens Canyon Road is expected to open in late May.
White River Road and Sunrise Park Road via the White River entrance remain closed to vehicles. The road to Sunrise typically opens to vehicle traffic the Friday before the Fourth of July holiday, with the road to White River Campground opening slightly earlier. Additional road access updates will be provided by the National Park Service.
Cayuse and Chinook passes close each winter due to high avalanche risk, poor road conditions, lack of snow storage and no emergency response services within close proximity. The passes last closed to vehicle traffic on Nov. 23, 2016.
WSDOT and the National Park Service collaborate each spring to reopen the highways. This process has been a shared responsibility for decades. A history of Cayuse Pass and Chinook Pass opening and closing dates is available on the WSDOT website.