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Washington’s highest road – Harts Pass

Many of my adventures are around Highway 20 and North Cascades National park. With the park being so close to my home in Bellingham, it’s usually my first choice for a scenic drive or camping trip.
With winter recently coming to an end, the pass has now been opened for easier access into eastern Washington. Due to the terrible winter season, this opening of the pass is unseasonably early and I couldn’t wait to cross and explore the Eastern side of the North Cascades.
Okanogan National Forest
We set out Saturday morning excited to cross over Washington Pass into Mazama, WA. The forecast called for up to 2 feet of snow, so we had no idea what to expect. As we drove past Diablo Lake, the snow really started to come down. The visibility was horrible and we were unsure if we should continue across the pass to avoid getting stranded. The snow was the deciding factor on what side our campsite would be for the night. We pushed along and made it to Washington Pass, we stopped and hiked through the snow to the lookout point above the highway. The road was pretty wet so it was no problem as we continued along into Mazama.
Highway 20 to Mazama
As we arrived in Mazama, we decided to drive up Harts Pass. Harts Pass is the highest maintained road in Washington State, ending at about 7200 feet. The top would have been an ideal spot to set up camp, but we were quickly stopped by the snow covered road. We decided to turn around and head back to Newhalem on the other side of the pass to camp for the evening, we didn’t want to risk getting stuck. As we arrived at camp, the rain was coming down heavy. We quickly set up the Rhino rack awning and then made a perfect hot dog dinner on the Cook Partner stove to end the night.”
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