A landslide east of Mount St. Helens has closed Road No. 25, one of two major north-south routes across the sprawling Gifford Pinchot National Forest, likely for the summer.
The closure means to visit the popular Windy Ridge Viewpoint on the east side of the volcano, motorists will need to drive to Randle in eastern Lewis County, then south, a four- to five-hour trip from Vancouver.
“Due to a significant landslide and subsequent slop destabilization along a section of Forest Road 25 at milepost 26, the road will be closed as a through-route until further notice,’’ the Forest Service announced Thursday on the Gifford Pinchot web site.
Road No. 25 connects from the Pine Creek Work Center at the upper end of Swift Reservoir on the south over Elk Pass to Randle in the Cowlitz River valley on the north.
Currently, the road is closed just south of the junction with road No. 99 due to snow. Road No. 99 heads west to several viewpoints and trailheads, including Windy Ridge.
As the snow melts, the Forest Service says it plans to move the closure farther south to just south of the trailhead with Boundary trail No. 1 around milepost 23.
Boundary trail No. 1 is a ridge top trail straddling the Dark Divide between Mount St. Helens on the west and Council Lake near Mount Adams on the east.
On its southern end, road No. 25 will remain closed near the junction with Road No. 93, which leads to Spencer Meadow and Spencer Butte. Road No. 93 will remain accessible from the south.
“The damaged section of road most likely will be inaccessible throughout the summer,’’ the Forest Service said. “More information will be shared when it becomes available.’’
The other major north-south route across the 1.3-million-acre Gifford Pinchot forest is road No. 23 which connects Trout Lake on the south with Randle on the north via BabyShoe Pass.
In other Gifford Pinchot news, rain fell Friday on the fire in Iron Creek campground south of Randle and is forecast to continue through Saturday. The Forest Service says the rain is helping firefighters mop-up hotspots in the 17-acre fire.