SR 20 - North Cascades Highway

Diablo Lake overlook

Diablo Lake overlook

Last Update: 12:33 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22: Open

State Route 20 is the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and is commonly referred to as the North Cascades Highway. This scenic byway offers travelers a wide array of beautiful vistas and is part of the Cascade Loop, a 400-mile driving tour through the Cascades.

Driving conditions
The elevation of Rainy Pass is 4,855 feet and Washington Pass is 5,477 feet. Travelers choosing to use this route before its seasonal closure should prepare for winter driving conditions when forecasts call for snow at or below those elevations.

Crews treat and plow this highway while it remains open. Road treatments vary in-and-around North Cascades National Park so drivers should be aware of changing road conditions throughout the drive. Frost and ice could also be present in shaded areas and over bridges when snow is not in the forecast. November 1 until it closes (usually around Thanksgiving), we post the current North Cascades Pass conditions on our WSDOT mountain passes web page. May (spring) through October (fall), pass conditions are only posted if there's a potential travel hazard.

Prepare yourself and your vehicle for mountain driving by visiting before you go. Travelers can also check conditions from the Rainy Pass weather station and the Washington Pass weather station.

Why we close the highway in winter
We close the North Cascades when weather, snow conditions and avalanche danger threaten the safety of drivers and our maintenance crews. Avalanches typically close the highway between late November and mid December.

Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.

                           2019 highway opening news release: SR 20 North Cascades Highway reopened 9 a.m. Thursday, April 18

Avalanche areas

The North Cascades Highway closure zone has 27 avalanche chutes, some stretching more than 2,000 feet above the highway. By way of comparison, avalanche chutes at Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes are all well under 1,000 feet high.

View a detailed avalanche area map on Flickr

Web cameras

Current weather conditions
For recreation purposes and while the highway is closed, or in the summer/fall when the pass reports are suspended, you can find weather information with these links:


SR 20 North Cascades Highway Hotline

Lauren Loebsack, Communications
North Central Region-Wenatchee

Andrea E. Petrich, Communications
Northwest Region-Burlington

Frances Fedoriska, Communications
Northwest Region-Burlington

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