Mountain Loop, North Cascades highways open

Outdoors enthusiasts will be glad to know that the Mountain Loop Highway is open all the way around, and has been for a bit more than a week. The North Cascades Highway is also open.

The Mountain Loop is right in our back yard and it has a number of campgrounds along its route, and they are open for the season. You can learn more about them and see where to go camping in the county here.

Both have plenty of hiking along them, although many trails are still going to be snow-covered. Still, it’s worth exploring them. WTA has trip reports that can give you good status updates on the conditions of trails. The Forest Service also has updates on trail and road conditions.

I note that Goat Lake is accessible, and that’s a lovely hike. I hiked it with a friend in July last year. It was great for swimming then. If you swim it this weekend, I want photos, or it didn’t happen. (No, really. Email them to me if you’re brave enough to jump in.) If you do that hike, make it a loop. It’s more fun than taking the same route out and back.

More on the Mountain Loop

  • You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass to park many places along the loop.
  • Monte Cristo, a mining ghost town, will be closed until summer of 2015 while work to clean up the toxic legacy of the mines takes place. Read more about the work and the history of the area.
  • Summit Post has a write-up on the loop, with a ton of gorgeous photos.
  • WTA has a collection of lovely photos here.
  • There’s a description of the drive around the loop here. (Beware that some of the side roads it mentions are still likely to have snow.)

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