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Wellington Ghost Town

Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - West
47.7472, -121.1271 Map & Directions
2.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
20 feet
Highest Point
3000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
The trail from Wellington goes through the snow shed. Photo by Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots.
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Good for kids
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Follow a gentle path along the eastern portion of the Iron Goat Trail near Stevens Pass, once the original path of the Great Northern Railway. Visit the townsite of Wellington (later named Tye) known for the first Cascade Tunnel and as the site of one of the worst natural disasters in US history. Continue reading

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Hiking Wellington Ghost Town

The town of Wellington ceased to be, at least in name, long before it officially became a ghost town. The town was founded in 1893 at the west portal of the Cascade Tunnel along the Great Northern Railway. The town included a train depot that was unfortunately destined to become the site of the deadliest avalanche in US history.

On March 1, 1910, a passenger train and a mail train were stuck at the Wellington Depot waiting out a blizzard that had been raging for nine days. During the night, while most people were sleeping, an avalanche hit the trains and the station quickly sweeping everything about 150 feet downhill into the Tye River valley. 96 people were killed in the event. Only 23 survived. In October of 1910 Wellington was quietly renamed Tye to ease the fears of travelers who would associate the name Wellington with this tragic event.

In the same month that the town was renamed work began on the snowsheds designed to protect the rails and passing trains from future avalanches. Some of these sheds are still standing today. Tye was abandoned in 1929 when the second Cascade Tunnel, which is still in use today, was completed negating the need for trains to pass through the town.

To reach Wellington you will follow the original path of The Great Northern Railroad along what is now the eastern portion of the Iron Goat trail near Stevens Pass. Head east on the trail from the parking lot to see old foundations and the west entrance to the original Cascade Tunnel. Walk west from the parking lot to enter the snow sheds and reach the site of the 1910 avalanche.

Note: Like other railroads in Washington, this track was laid  by 800 workers — many of them Japanese immigrants. The Wing Luke Museum offers hiking tours of this history. Gary Krist's 2008 book 'The White Cascade' chronicles the historic avalanche for anyone interested in more information on the history of this particular area.

Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead

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Hike Description Written by
Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots, WTA Community

Wellington Ghost Town

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.7472, -121.1271 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Just west of Stevens Pass Ski area turn north onto Tye Road, also known as the Old Cascade Highway. Follow the rough but passable pavement for about 3.5 miles.Turn right into the parking lot for the Iron Goat Trail.

More Hike Details


Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - West

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger District

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Wellington Ghost Town

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