Monte Cristo Area to Reopen by Memorial Day!

After the 2015 closure, we're excited to learn the trail and town area of Monte Cristo will be open for recreation this summer!
Tess Wendel Tess Wendel
March 08, 2016

The Monte Cristo trail and historic town site are slated to open by the end of May! The site - located along the Mountain Loop Highway - has been closed for the past year to clean up toxic tailings from mining during 1889-1907. After submitting comments to the Forest Service last year about this project, we are thrilled to hear the clean up has gone well and recreation will continue in this beautiful area of the North Cascades. 

The clean up

The clean up targeted 5 main areas near town and 3 other mine areas further in the wilderness. The focus of the clean up was removing arsenic and lead - a natural occurance to exposed rock during the mining process. These exposed toxins pollute nearby puddles, leading to wider-spread damage to rivers and stream areas, and as a result some stream areas were rerouted. A repository about a mile from the main town area is currently storing non-hazardous waste from the clean up. 

What does it mean for recreation?

To access the cleanup site, a new road was built which will now be open to the public for non-motorized use, including hiking, biking and horseback riding. The forest service will be replanting the town area and repository area throughout the summer and adding interpretive signs. This work is not expected to effect recreational access. 

Hikers, backpackers, and climbers now have access to a greater number of trails off the Mountain Loop highway. This means less crowding on some of the other trails and a chance to learn a little bit about Washington State history while exploring. With the road opening, you can now more easily access:

So pull out your copy of Day Hiking in the North Cascades and start trip planning now, and don't forget your Northwest Forest Pass!

Want to learn more about the amazing history of this area? Grab a copy of Philip Woodhouse's book  Monte Cristo


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