Spirit Lake Memorial Highway at Mount St. Helens closes for winter


Spirit Lake Memorial Highway at Mount St. Helens closed for the season on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Maintenance crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation closed the gate to the upper reaches of the road, also known as state Route 504, at milepost 45 near Coldwater Lake, stated a news release. 

Each fall, WSDOT coordinates the seasonal closure with the U.S. Forest Service in anticipation of hazardous winter weather. The road reopens each spring. 

“The annual closure of the upper portion of the highway helps us accomplish two goals,” stated WSDOT St. Helens Lead Technician Kent Palmer in the release. “First, this stretch of highway gets a lot of rain, ice and snow and may not be safe for winter travel. Second, it gives our crews time to clear downed trees and remove debris from ditches and culverts, which helps protect the overall integrity of the roadway and minimize springtime repairs, which helps us reopen the highway sooner.”

The closure includes the portion of road that leads to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which is also closed during the winter.

The lower portion of state Route 504 to Coldwater Lake will remain open as weather conditions allow, stated the release.

All of state Route 504 will reopen in the spring once the threat of significant snowfall has passed.

Drivers can stay up to date on the latest traffic issues by visiting WSDOT’s recently updated real-time travel map online at wsdot.com/travel/real-time/map or by following WSDOT’s Southwest Washington area Twitter account.