This post was contributed by Scott Chilberg.
Biking across the Cascades just ain’t what it used to be, thanks to I-90 construction along Keechelus Lake and a series of tunnel closures on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail between Thorp and South Cle Elum. Luckily, alternate east-west routes allow for continued bicycle access through these areas, so if you’re planning a bike trip make sure to read up on the closures prior to heading out and look out for bicycle route signs along the way. Here’s the low-down on the detours:
Due to construction of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, WSDOT is restricting interstate bicycle access between Exit 54 and Exit 62. The suggested detour runs along the west side of the Keechelus Lake on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. According to the WSDOT website, this 8-mile trail loops around the lake for about an hour before reconnecting with the freeway and is not recommended for racing-style bikes due to the occasional loose gravel spots and potholes. Bicyclist may also use US 12 White Pass or US 2 Stevens Pass to cross the Cascades. A map of the detour and more information regarding trail conditions and the construction project can be found here.
Four tunnels along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail between Thorp and Cle Elum will also be closed for an indefinite period because of safety concerns. Detours for both eastbound and westbound travelers are marked along the route, so cyclists should look out for yellow signs and maps marking alternate routes. Visit the Washington State Parks website for detailed directions and more information about the tunnel closures.
As long as you’re aware of the detours, biking along this stretch will remain very doable, so don’t be discouraged! Just make sure you’re on the alert for detour signs and, as always, do your research before embarking on your trip.