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Hiker Headlines: Open Passes, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Trail Closure, Lookout For Rent

Posted by cwakenshaw at May 27, 2021 12:42 PM |

Chinook and Cayuse Passes are scheduled to open tomorrow. Remember to recreate responsibly this Memorial Day weekend. Juneteenth is the newest fee-free day on Washington recreation lands. The Baker Lake Trail is closed after several cougar encounters in the area. The Steliko lookout near Entiat is now available for rent.

It’s May 27. Chinook and Cayuse passes are scheduled to open tomorrow. Remember to recreate responsibly this Memorial Day weekend. Juneteenth is the newest fee-free day on Washington recreation lands. The Baker Lake Trail is closed after several cougar encounters in the area. The Steliko lookout near Entiat is now available for rent. Here’s some news you may have missed while out on trail this week.

 A chipmunk sits on a rock above a river valley.
With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, Chinook and Cayuse Passes are scheduled to open this Friday. Photo by Debbie van Oosteren.

Chinook and Cayuse passes almost open:  These two mountain passes within Mount Rainier National Park are scheduled to open this Friday. Many areas at Mount Rainier are open including Carbon River, Longmire and Paradise. Sunrise remains closed due to snow and should open during the first week of July.

Memorial Day weekend: Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the busy hiking and camping season. Two campground closures in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest are a good reminder to do your research before heading out this weekend so you know what’s open and what’s not. Trailheads, trails and campgrounds are sure to be busy. Practice Leave No Trace wherever you go, park like a pro at trailheads and bring your patience and kindness. For a full refresher on hiking and camping, sign up for our Trail Smarts Bootcamp email series.

Juneteenth is now a free day: June 19 will now be a fee-free day on Washington recreation lands, which are places that require a Discover Pass, including State Parks and Department of Natural Resources lands. The Juneteenth holiday marks the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read to the enslaved people of Texas, the last state to end slavery. This new designation makes this the fourth fee-free day in June.

Cougar-related trail closures: The Baker Lake Trail and all campsites on the eastern shores of Baker Lake have been closed after a series of cougar encounters in the area. The encounters involved a cougar who remained in the area after hikers made attempts to scare it away. The likelihood of seeing a cougar on a hike is very low, but it’s important to know how to hike safely in cougar country. The trail will be closed through Memorial Day weekend, and maybe longer depending on updates from the Forest Service.

Steliko lookout available for rent: This refurbished fire lookout is now available for rent through recreation.gov. The lookout is located near the town of Entiat. Volunteers recently completed renovations on the structure, making it available as a rental. Visitors can get there with a high-clearance vehicle during the summer and fall. During the spring and winter the road is gated due to snow and visitors must walk, ski or snowmobile to the building.


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