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John Wayne Trail - Snoqualmie Pass, Iron Horse Trail: The Tunnel

Sep 29, 2012

by Maddy last modified Sep 30, 2012 08:16 AM
Type of Outing
Day hike
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: John Wayne Trail - Snoqualmie Pass
Region: Snoqualmie Pass
Trails: John Wayne Trail - Snoqualmie Pass (#1382)
Avg Rating: 3.00
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: Iron Horse Trail: The Tunnel
Region: Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Agency: Washington State Parks
Avg Rating: 3.33
I finally got around to doing this 22mi long downhill oneway bike ride from Hyak to Rattlesnake Lake along the old Chicago, Milwakee, St Paul Railway. Great fun for the family. We dropped a car off at the Rattlesnake lake parking lot and then shuttled up to the State park trailhead at Hyak. The trail enters the 2.3 mile long Snoqualmie tunnel after about 1/4 mi. The tunnel is very cold (about 40 degrees) and pitch black so a jacket and a bright headlight are needed. Emerging on the West side we thawed out and enjoyed views of Granite Mountain and surrounding peaks. The very nice and smooth gravel surface path decends very gradually at a 2% grade. You have to pedal but its easy to go 15-20 mph without much effort. Intermittent view to the peaks north of I-90. The path crosses about 5 or 6 cool trestle bridges. Some are over 100 feet tall and it's fun to peer down to the creek below. After making sure no one was under the bridge, I helped our gang of 11 year old boys toss some boulders over the edge to see them explode on the rocks on the rocks below. We also enjoyed watching rock climbers practice on cliffs next to the path. Cedar Falls is the turn off to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot. It is not signed as Rattlesnake lake so don't miss it.

This Railline ran from Chicago to Puget Sound starting around 1908. It was built by the Chicago, Milwakee, St Paul Railway to compete with the Union Pacific and Great Northern (Stevens Pass) Railways which were already established. It had many names including the "Milwaukee Road". Originallyit was routed over Snoqualmie Pass. This steeper grade however required helper trains to pull the trains over the pass. The Snoqualmie Tunnel was built in 1914 to flatten the grade and therefore helper trains were no longer needed. The railway was used until 1980. The name "John Wayne Pioneer Trail" was named after the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders Association for their assistance in creating the trail.
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