SEATTLE — The final 2.7 miles of State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway closed Monday to vehicle traffic until next year due to snow and icy conditions.

People can still drive as far as the Bagley Lakes Trailhead. Cyclists or hikers can travel past the gate to Artist Point if conditions permit with snow shoes and fat bikes at their own risk.

Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews remove snow and ice from the highway in winter, but the final 2.7 miles, known as the road to Artist Point, is dangerously narrow with sharp curves and steep slopes.

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Each year, the road to Artist Point is closed partly for safety of crews and travelers and partly to transform into part of Mt. Baker Ski Area’s terrain.

Check conditions with Northwest Avalanche Center or Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest before your trip if you plan to access areas by closed winter highways.

SR 542 typically closed in October, according to WSDOT. However, this is the earliest closing in six years. Last year the road closed October 28.

The road to Artist Point usually reopens in early July, depending on weather.

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