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Artist Point, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier Roads Open to Hikers

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jul 03, 2014 12:40 PM |

Roads leading into three great recreation areas—Artist Point, Mount Rainier, and the east side of Mount St. Helens—have opened in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Get the details and remember: just because a road may be open, it doesn't mean hiking trails will be clear or snow-free.

Roads leading into three great recreation areas—Artist Point, Mount Rainier, and the east side of Mount St. Helens—have opened in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Get the details and remember: just because a road may be open, it doesn't mean hiking trails will be clear or snow-free.

Artist Point is open

On  July 1, WSDOT crews finally cleared the last of the snow from the road to Artist Point. Artist Point is located at the very end of Mount Baker Highway, State Route 542 and boasts 360-degree views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker, as well as access to a variety of trails.

If the clouds cooperate, the views from the parking lot are stunning. But right now, there's still tons of snow still up there (trails and restrooms are still buried in snow). You're better off waiting about a month for the really great Mount Baker hiking, and spend the next month enjoying lower-elevation North Cascades hiking.

If you do go, the nearby Heather Meadows Visitor Center (and restrooms) open July 4.

Get more information on the road and conditions

Mount Rainier roads open

The road to Sunrise opened June 27. At 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park. What it means for hikers: there's still patchy and melting snow on trails there.

This time of year, trail conditions vary wildly in the park depending on where you are, and road status can change quickly.

Access the east side of Mount St. Helens

Forest Road 99 is open, allowing access to Mount St. Helens east-side attractions such as Windy Ridge, Meta Lake and the Miner’s Car as well as east side access to the Mount Margaret Backcountry.

A visit to Mount St. Helens may not have been on your hiking radar, but it should be. Hikers always wish they had visited the Monument sooner. And because of snow, the window on the east side is a short one. The road accesses remote and unique locations deep within the blast-zone, where visitors can see the impact and recovery from the 1980 eruption.

 

Meta Lake
Meta Lake is a short, easy trail great for families and wheelchairs. Photo by raring2hike.

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