dangerousroads

the world's most spectacular roads

Hart's Pass

Hart’s Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,859m (6,100 ft) above the sea level, located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It’s accessible by car and is the highest point in the State of Washington that one can drive. End of the road "after" Hart's pass, at the gate to Slate Peak Lookout, is 7,200 feet elevation.

The road was built in 1893 into gold and silver mines. This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. The road ends near Timberline, over 6000’ in elevation, and opens up into the heart of the North Cascades. Be aware that trailers are not allowed on FS road 5400 to Hart’s Pass and wider vehicles such as motor homes are highly discouraged. The road to Hart's Pass and on to Slate Peak Lookout is the highest maintained road in Washington State.

 

The surface of the road is gravel and sand. Due to the nature of this narrow gravel road, passing oncoming vehicles can be challenging even for sedans. However, the road is maintained for sedans and other low clearance vehicles.  It’s certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice.

 

Due its climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and pass through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. For those who enjoy sitting at the "top of the world" for the sunset, take along a warm coat, as night temperatures drop to the low 40's, even on the warmest of days. Hart's Pass is one of the most scenic spots in the Met how Valley, where visitors have a spectacular view from the highest point to which you can drive in Washington State. The Hart's Pass road is rock-surfaced, passable by passenger cars. However, due to the steep, narrow roadway, and lack of large turnouts, the road is closed to all trailers.

There is little room for error on this road. It's normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos. It’s incredibly disorienting to look over the edge, or even just to see the valleys a couple thousand feet below you. It’s a mind numbing vertical drop of hundreds of meters so you might want to give it a miss on a windy day.

 




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