After a foot of snow fell and more in the forecast combined with lower-than-normal temperatures, the gates to SR 410 and SR 123 inside Mount Rainier National Park, WA, including 5,430′ Chinook Pass and 4,675′ Cayuse Pass, are now closed for the season.
The passes closed Tuesday night after multiple spinouts combined with hazardous weather conditions, and will now stay closed until the spring. Typically these roads close sometime in mid-November due to avalanche danger, lack of emergency services nearby, and limited snow storage.
The storm this week presented those issues earlier than usual, thus the decision to close now. This is the earliest closure of Chinook Pass, tied with 2005, since the 1930s. They typically reopen sometime in May.
Chinook Pass is located on SR 410 between the towns of Enumclaw and Naches in Washington state. The road closes during the winter months due to snowfall from Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit to Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. It is home to lots of great backcountry ski terrain, much of which is excellent skiing or riding in the spring once the highway reopens.