Sunday, April 1, 2012
April Reports Update
I have added the news, the conditions and access and the monthly prospects for April. The photo above (dated 3/16) is of longmire, east of the Nisqually entrance and the snow has varied somewhat the last half of the month, it's the same today (3/27) as then, meaning snow.
This means snow persists throughout the NP except as the lower elevations, below 2,400 feet and even then it's present in some areas. The northwest area is clear of snow at higher elevations, up to 3-4,000 feet on some trails in far corner or along the northwest boundary of the NP. All the rest of the NP is still snow.
The snowplay area at Paradise closes this weekend (April 1st) but winter camping is still permited in the designated areas as there 16 feet of snow on the slopes above the vistor center at Paradise. The snowpack is running about 120% of normal and we're still another 4-6 weeks before the snowpack reaches the normal peak and snowmelt begins.
The Washington Department of Transportation is working on clearing Cayuse and Chinook passes on the eastside highway of the NP. You can keep up on the status of the work to know when the highway is clear, expected late April or early May, but that's only the road. Everything else will still be snow.
Outside of the Carbon River area, only the Nisqually River entrance in the southwest is open to travellers, but the road to Paradise is still controlled at the gate east of Longmire. You can check the status road and condition in the NP on the NPS Twitter page.
This year if you're not into snow the best time to start your visit is later in April and probably early May as the trails clear of snow in the mid-elevations, the 3-4,000+ foot elevation. There a quite a few lower elevation trails which should be open by then. You can get the latest information on the conditions in the NP.