For the second straight year, State Route 542 to Artist Point opened Tuesday morning, July 1. It’s one of the earliest ever openings for the destination known for its spectacular views and hiking trails.
The Washington State Department of Transportation began clearing SR 542 on May 27. Crews encountered snow 20 to 40 feet deep along the way. 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.
Artist Point is more than 5,000 feet above sea level and boasts 360-degree views that include Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and the Cascade Mountain Range. The area usually is open about two to three months out of the year, before the winter snows reclaim it. The last stretch of SR 542’s opening and closing depends on the weather and snow conditions. In 2013 the road closed on Sept. 30.
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