Washout closes road 3 miles from Cascade Pass Trailhead

Staff reportAugust 18, 2013 

Heavy equipment is used to repair the Cascade River Road that was washed out by flooding Aug. 11.

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK

A washout on Cascade River Road near Marblemount is limiting access to one of the favorite trailheads in North Cascades National Park.

A week ago, heavy rains lead to flooding that caused a washout 15 feet deep and 60 feet wide in the popular Cascade River Road.

As a result, the road is closed to vehicle access at the Eldorado parking lot (at milepost 20) until a more permanent repair can be completed. Foot traffic is being allowed beyond the washout, adding 3 miles of hiking to reach the Cascade Pass parking lot and trailhead.

A National Park Service engineer assessed the situation Tuesday, Ken Hires, the park’s Stehekin District interpreter, said in a news release.

The sudden flood Aug. 11 washed out the road about 11/2 miles down canyon from the trailhead, forcing 70 hikers to spend that night and part of Monday at the trailhead. Park rangers spent the night with those who were stranded, and the National Park Service provided food, water and medication to the stranded hikers through the use of a helicopter Monday, Hires said.

Later on Monday, a temporary fix was completed, allowing the stranded hikers to drive out.

An unidentified hiker told Park Service staffers she “was surprised at how soon she was able to drive out of the trailhead given the huge size of the washout.”

Cascade Pass is one of the most popular destination hikes in the park. The trailhead is located about 23 miles from the junction of the Cascade River Road and state Route 20.

For information on alternative hikes in that area of the park, visitors should contact the Wilderness Information Center, 7280 Ranger Station Road, Marblemount, at 360-854-7245.

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