Heavy snows have prompted the state Department of Transportation to close Chinook and Cayuse passes for the season.
State crews temporarily closed the passes in Mount Rainier National Park last week in anticipation of a snowstorm forecast for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
They decided Tuesday that “heavy snow fall, coupled with compact snow and ice create unsafe driving conditions through these scenic routes,” and necessitate a long-term closure, the department said in a release.
The department typically closes those routes over the Cascades in late November.
“Limited access by emergency service responders and spotty cellphone reception also increase the risk for drivers to safely cross state Route 410/Chinook Pass and state Route 123/Cayuse Pass,” the department said.
State Route 410 is closed between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of Chinook Pass, elevation 5,430 feet, and Morse Creek, about five miles east of the pass.
State Route 123 is closed between where it splits off state Route 410 to Stevens Canyon Road. Cayuse Pass is at elevation 4,675 feet.