A car makes its way through a winding unpaved section of the Mountain Loop Highway 15 miles outside of Darrington. (Jennifer Buchanan / Herald file)

A car makes its way through a winding unpaved section of the Mountain Loop Highway 15 miles outside of Darrington. (Jennifer Buchanan / Herald file)

14-mile scenic stretch of Mountain Loop Highway opens early

The highway between Granite Falls and Darrington reopened to traffic on Friday due to good weather.

GRANITE FALLS — A scenic highway that closes annually due to bad weather opened 10 days early due to good weather.

On Friday, the 14-mile gravel stretch of Mountain Loop Highway reopened to traffic for the summer season. The highway between Granite Falls and Darrington typically opens on Memorial Day weekend.

“Due to the weather, we are able to open the highway over a week earlier,” Snohomish County Public Works director Kelly Snyder said in a press release. “We are especially pleased because it gives campers and hikers who use this route during the summer months two more weekends to enjoy the county’s natural beauty.”

The gravel road closes each winter from the Deer Creek gate east of Granite Falls to the Bedal Creek gate near the Bedal Campground south of Darrington.

In the spring, Snohomish County Public Works and the U.S. Forest Service team up to do maintenance.

In the summer, more than 100 cars use the road each day, with up to 200 on weekends.

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