While the re-opening date is never set in stone, the North Cascades Highway has been cleared from the eastern side in Winthrop, all the way to Newhalem.  Western side clearing continues, but  is looking promising to be ready and open in time for Mother’s Day weekend.  But, make sure to visit: North Cascades Highway for current conditions before you head out.

For many years, Tootsie Clark famously opened the pass each year, as first in line.  She would bring her fresh baked cinnamon rolls for the crews and folks in line, and ceremoniously be the first to drive over the pass.  Sadly, she passed away at 95 in September 2017.  Her legacy lives on in the hearts of everyone who knew her and the WSDOT crews.

It’s a wonderful and educational ride with the family to enjoy the stunning views and visit the Newhalem Dam and Ladder Falls.  You can walk underground to hear the roar of the hydro-electric plant.  Bring a picnic.

Back in January, the U.S. Department of Transportation finally designated the Cascade Loop including SR 20 as a National Scenic Byway, after many years’ effort to earn this designation. The Cascade Loop also includes U.S. 97 and U.S. 2 across Stevens Pass, the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, and across Deception Pass – and more than 400 miles of scenery from Puget Sound, to the Cascades and Columbia River.  It is a spectacular drive.


The Cascade Loop has been a state scenic route for many years. Now the loop is a federally recognized Scenic Byway offering a wide variety of the state’s unique views. This new National Scenic Byway joins several others across Washington including both the Chinook Scenic and White Pass Byways near Mount Rainier, Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway, the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway along Interstate 90. For more information about National Scenic Byways in Washington State and across the nation, visit National Scenic Byways

So if you wish to get out of the house and enjoy much more of what the Evergreen State has to offer, you can take a drive on any one of these, especially the newly designated National Scenic Byway North Cascades Highway.  Though accomodations are availbe along the way, bring your camping gear for a wonderful outdoor experience with the family.

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North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.