These Washington State Passes are Finally Open, But Not for Everyone
After months of being closed because of snow, these Washington State passes are finally open but not for everyone.
Washington State Passes & Winter Closures
Living in Washington State, a large part of the mountains are cut off from the world for part of the year because of feet upon feet of snow every winter. Hiking trails, favorite family cabins, and even major highways are shut down over the winter months because it is just impossible to dig out. Both the Chinook and Cayuse Pass in Washington State are closed every year because of heavy snowfall, dangerous driving conditions, and avalanche danger.
These Washington State Passes Still Have Restrictions
Even though Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass have both been open since May, they are not open to everyone. Both mountain passes have restrictions about which kinds of vehicles can use the roads after they open in the spring. If you didn't know, both Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass (including parts of SR 123 and SR 410) are closed all year long to commercial trucks and vehicles. This is because "All commercial vehicles are prohibited from traveling through Mount Rainier National Park" according to WSDOT.
Commercial Vehicles Allowed in Mount Rainier National Park
There are a few kinds of commercial vehicles that are allowed inside Mount Rainier National Park, but they all have permits and are working inside the park. Some examples would be mountaineering, tour guides, or photographers but they all have to be licensed and authorized in order to work there. All other commercial vehicles are banned to help preserve the park in its natural state. If you are caught, the fees start at $200 and can go up from there.