Outdoors

Good news for hikers: Road to Artist Point opens for summer

The last 2.7-mile stretch of Mount Baker Highway to Artist Point opened Tuesday morning, July 1, in time for those planning an Independence Day trip.

The road to the Artist Point parking lot has been closed since Sept. 30. Workers started plowing about a month ago. The snow was an average of 20 feet deep on the road - with depths of 22 feet in the lot and as much as 45 feet deep in one section of the road, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Some parts of the road now traverse snow-walled canyons, cut by bulldozers and a snowblower that cleared the final 2.7 miles beyond the Mount Baker Ski Area.

Plowing crews were aided by plenty of sunny weather, which also melted some of the snow.

The road opened last year on July 1 as well.

Located more than 5,000 feet above sea level, Artist Point is a popular viewpoint that features 360-degree views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.

It also is the jumping-off point for numerous stunning mountain hikes.

Many of those hiking trails remain under snow, so people are advised to be prepared for icy conditions.

Artist Point is open about three months each year before snowfall forces its closure in the early fall. In 2013 the road closed on Sept. 30.

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