Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Driving Over the Cascade Mountains via Snoqualmie Pass
You are looking at Interstate 90, in Washington, as it winds its way around Lake Keechelus on the east side of Snoqulamie Pass.
I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is the most traveled of the three, open year round (except for avalanches), major east/west routes over the Cascade Mountains in Washington. The summit of Snoqualmie Pass is the lowest elevation of the 3 passes, at 3,022 feet.
The other mountain passes in Washington that the highway department endeavors to keep open through the winter are US 2 over Stevens Pass, and US 12 over White Pass.
There was one winter back in the last century when the snowfall was so light in the Cascades that the North Cross State Highway, through North Cascades National Park, did not close.
I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is the main commercial route from Seattle to the east, carrying almost 30,000 vehicles a day.
At the Summit of Snoqualmie Pass there are four ski areas operating, all managed by Boyne USA Resorts.
I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass has been continually improved over the years. And made safer. In the 1970s an engineering marvel placed west bound lanes on an elevated highway, away from avalanche danger.
Currently there is an unfunded plan to upgrade I-90 east of the summit. Below is a YouTube visualization of that upgrade. If you have never driven over Snoqualmie Pass this gives you some idea of what the scenery and highway looks like on the east side of the pass...