A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Mountain Loop Highway partially reopens Friday

Closed since December, part of the route to some of the region’s best hikes remains closed due to construction.

VERLOT — Seven miles of Mountain Loop Highway reopened at Deer Creek on Friday morning.

But the remaining seven miles between Barlow Pass and Bedal Campground, “will remain closed until the (U.S. Forest Service) determines the route is safe for travel,” Snohomish County officials said Friday.

The Mountain Loop Highway has a 14-mile gravel stretch east of Granite Falls and south of Darrington. The corridor is one of the few routes to the Glacier Peak Wilderness and popular hikes near the Monte Cristo ghost town and the Big Four Ice Caves.

“Normally, Mountain Loop Highway remains closed through Memorial Day, but the limited snowfall this winter means we’re able to provide access to this very popular outdoor destination ahead of schedule,” said Kelly Snyder, the Snohomish County public works director, in a press release. “We ask that visitors respect the remaining closure while enjoying the many recreational opportunities accessible along the west side of the highway.”

Passage on the Mountain Loop Highway between the Deer Creek gate and the Bedal gate closes each year. The section of the highway between Barlow Pass and Bedal Campgrounds remained closed. Contractors are working on the unpaved section of the road, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Each spring, the county Public Works Road Maintenance Division works with the U.S. Forest Service to perform any repairs prior to Mountain Loop Highway reopening. The route reaches its peak popularity in the summer, with up to 200 cars traveling each day on the weekends.

Late last month, Snohomish County reopened the gates at mileposts 10 and 14 of Index-Galena Road. That road is also closed seasonally.

Both roads had been closed since Dec. 7.

On Friday, the state Department of Transportation announced it reopened Highway 20 through the North Cascades for the season. It is also closed seasonally in the winter.

This article has been updated to clarify how much of Mountain Loop Highway opened Friday.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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