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When too early anacortes to Missoula on NT route?

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When too early anacortes to Missoula on NT route?

Old 01-17-19, 05:26 PM
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When too early anacortes to Missoula on NT route?

I’d like to start around mid June. Ice on the roads? Campgrounds open?

thanks,
pete
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Old 01-17-19, 05:29 PM
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Dépends solely on when the highway department opens the North Cascades Highway, which varies from year to year depending on snowpack.
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Old 01-18-19, 08:19 AM
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If the NCH is not open and clear by mid-June I will be shocked. I did the NT to Whitefish in both '99 and '00. Both times I crossed the NCH in late May. '98-'99 was one of the snowiest winters on record in that area, if the not the snowiest. Got rain then snow on the way up, but the road was clear down to the pavement. '00 was dry, and the road was clear. Colonial Creek C.G. was open and free of snow both times. Stayed at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, WA the day before. Nice place with two Adirondack shelters in case of wet weather.

In 2017 I did Rexford, MT to Missoula as part of a loop tour. Let me know if you'd like suggestions re: a route and places to camp. There are a couple of neat hiker/biker campground options with nice amenities specifically designed for the needs of cyclists.

Finally, I have an alternative route from the junction of MT 56 and U.S. 2 that skips Libby and instead goes through Yaak and eventually rejoins the route near Rexford, MT. It adds a day or two, depending on how many miles you do a day, but it's stellar. Yaak is way off the beaten path, but there is a bar and a restaurant (that's actually pretty good) to get food (but no cell phone service whatsoever). There is also camping a few miles from the "town" itself. Also black and grizzly bear country. Pete Creek Campground is a nice place for a day off. I carried food from Troy. Ate dinner out the first night and lunch the next day. Second night I cooked dinner.

The restaurant in Rexford has some of the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. There is a large, federal campground nearby (Rexford Bench) that has a swimming beach. Modern, plumbed restrooms, but no showers. However, you can buy a shower at the restaurant in town.

FYI, when I reached Missoula on July 1, 2017, the high was over 90 degrees.
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Old 01-18-19, 06:32 PM
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Thanks, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Also, will definitely check into Yaak.

pete
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Old 01-20-19, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by northerntier
Thanks, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Also, will definitely check into Yaak.

pete
Here is the loop I did:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23235312?beta=false

I joined the NT at mile 222.2. Mile 258.1 is where I took the detour to Yaak, although I did do the sort out and back to Kootenai Falls, which is a must-see. Pete Creek C.G. is at mile 305.6. The services in Yaak are just up the road at mile 308.5. Rejoined the NT at 349.8. I also peaked into Yaak River C.G. at mile 276.6 after I left the Troy area. Very nice, with lots of shade.

BTW...The NT doesn't go to Missoula. You have to get on the Great Parks North at Whitefish. Since I went to Glacier N.P. for a few days to ride the west slope of Going to the Sun (another must-see) I improvised a bit getting from there to Bigfork, which is where one of the state parks (Wayfarers) with hiker/biker sites is. The ranger also told me they would never turn away a cyclist. There is a large, open area near the hiker/biker sites that could easily handle overflow. Wayfarers is nice because it's on the lake. You can swim and rent rent things like paddle boards.
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Old 01-20-19, 12:35 PM
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Low Pass..

Columbia river gorge eliminates going over a North Cascades mountain pass..


River cuts through The Cascades, and kept doing so millennia ago , as the geological forces pushed the mountains upwards...
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Old 01-25-19, 01:07 AM
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I was born in Spokane and grew up in Anacortes. Ice on roads unlikely except for pass over the Cascades which entirely depends on snowpack. Highway 20 seems to open in May but if you're willing you can go over other passes. Pick a warm week and you may be able to sail smoothly over the pass in a long day or two but be careful. Colder on the east side but bring some warm clothes and you'd probably be fine. Might be a more enjoyable tour in late spring or early fall.
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Old 01-25-19, 06:01 AM
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Late May, 1999. You can't tell from the photos, but it was snowing.


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Old 01-25-19, 11:16 AM
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The 1998/1999 season was some sort of world record for snowfall so that is not representative. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Baker_Ski_Area

Originally Posted by indyfabz
Late May, 1999. You can't tell from the photos, but it was snowing.


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Old 01-25-19, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by numbernine
The 1998/1999 season was some sort of world record for snowfall so that is not representative.
I know that. I was there. See my post above acknowledging that and opining that the road should be fine by the time the OP rides it. I also crossed 366 days later and it was fine. Didn't even get snow or rain. It was funny though. I was sitting on the shoulder at Washington Pass putting on my rain pants and jacket for the descent to Winthrop when an elderly Asian couple drove up from the east. There was no one else around. They got out of the car and looked at me like I was an alien. I thought to myself that, if they were continuing west, they are going to be amazed at where I had just come from on a bike.
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