First Big Snowstorm of season hits Southern Cascades

Crater Lake SM12-187

A snow storm has closed the road encircling Crater Lake. While the road to the Rim Village will remain open through most of the winter season, allowing access to a small spot on the southern rim of the caldera, no one will be driving around the lake until next summer. Few things are more beautiful than Crater Lake with snow. But unfortunately, because the snow closes the road, their are few vantage points from which to enjoy the spectacle.

Crater Lake SM12-283

Crater Lake SM12-447

Glacier National Park is also nearly all closed up due to snow. Going-to-the-Sun road closed for construction purposes a few weeks earlier; but now the roads into Two Medicine and Many Glacier are also blanketed with snow. They won’t open until next May. The road through Lassen has also closed, although there’s some hope it might open up once more, at least in part, before it’s closed in its entirety for the winter.

Why do the national parks allow most of their roads to be closed by snow? Very simple: it’s too dangerous to try to keep them plowed through winter. In the spring the plows will be removed from their sheds and the tedious process of removing acres of snow will begin in earnest.

I’m betting that this year will be a big snow year. Although I doubt it will quite reach the level we saw in 2011, I suspect it will be considerably worse than last year. Vicious storms are lining up all the way to Japan, ready to hit the Pacific northwest, one after the other. It should be great fun.