Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel and High Trestles

* Climbing Pinnacle Peak * Mud Mountain Rim Trail * Mud Mountain Road * Deep Lake Trail *

* Introduction * Wheels Outside the Garden * Wheels in the Garden * Garden Trails *


The Snoqualmie Tunnel and high trestles are part of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which goes from near North Bend to the Columbia River. Eventually it continue to the Idaho border. Sometimes it is also called the Iron Horse Trail, because it follows the old Milwaukee Road rail line, and is within the 100 foot by 110 mile Iron Horse State Park.

The trailhead at Hyak, just east of the tunnel, features restrooms fashioned in the style of a railroad depot. Hyak is adjacent to I-90, a few miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

A large parking area is available at the trailhead. Daily state park passes are available for $10, or you can get an annual pass, good for two vehicles, for $30.

Jim prepares one of the trikes for the 16 mile downgrade ride. His Jeep waits at Olallie State Park to shuttle us back up.

Going east, the surface of the trail is quite rough and there are long distances between services.

Going west, there are several restrooms, but no water is available on the trail.

Twin Falls is by Olallie State Park, while Cedar Falls is by Rattlesnake Lake State Park.

The doors are open (usually May through October), so we will go in.

Riders are dwarfed by the size of the tunnel, so most lights show only the ground immediately in front of you, or less.



I used a video floodlight, but even its 128 LEDs had a limited range of usefulness.

Soon after entering the tunnel, it curves to the left and is perfectly straight from then on. At that point, you can see a pinpoint of light, which is the exit two miles away.

Fifteen minutes later, the end finally arrives.

Another significant feature of this trail is its set of trestles. Some are quite long, and all are high. The six we crossed curved around canyons cut into the mountainsides by large creeks.

At 165 feet, a trestle towers over very big trees.

The railway was electrified because of asphyxiation from the coal burning steam trains in the tunnels, earning the Milwaukee Road the nickname, the "electric railway." However, the only electrified portions were over the Cascades and the Bitterroot Mountains. (Much of the Bitterroot section became the Route of the Hiawatha Trail.)

When the trail isn't burrowing under mountains or spanning ravines, it descends through the dense temperate rain forest of the Cascades western slopes.