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Iron Horse Trail: The Tunnel

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington


Added by Lindsy Dugan

Great place to ride bikes, or a fun walk through especially with younger ones in the dark. Great views on the other side with picnic tables and trail continues.

The Snoqualmie Tunnel is part of the Iron Horse State Park's 110-mile long trail and is a must do for everyone! Views for most of your trip will be determined by the power of your headlamp, but there will be some sights on the other side. The attraction of this hike is the mysterious, dramatic tunnel itself. However, note that the tunnel is closed November 1st through May 1st, so plan your trip accordingly.

After reaching the parking lot, find the trail opposite the bathrooms. Once on the trail look west and follow the wide gravel path toward a metal gate one tenth of a mile away. This gate blocks the trail but is easy to bypass on foot or on bike.

At a third of a mile you will find the entrance to the tunnel. If it’s a warm day you will feel the cool air funneling out of the tunnel. This cool breeze may just send a shiver down your spine, reminding you of the long dark walk awaiting you. At this point, think about donning a jacket as even on the hottest summer day the tunnel stays cool, even chilly. With the damp air, water periodically dripping from the ceiling and the darkness, you will certainly feel cold without that coat. Some people will even bring gloves and a hat for the walk through. Just before entering the darkness, strap on your headlamp or dig your flashlight out of your pack. You don’t want to be looking for your light source in the dark! Did you check that they work and do you have spare batteries?

Other than a slight curve to the left at the beginning, once you’re in the tunnel your hike is pretty straightforward, literally. You may even be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s prudent to remember that the tunnel is 2.3 miles long, so while the light may seem promising, the end of your hike is still a long ways off. The tunnel is wide and very tall so there’s plenty of room for all, as you go through this fascinating piece of Washington State history. The trail in the tunnel is in great shape with just a few potholes, which you can expect to find where water is dripping from the ceiling.

Once through, you will find a few picnic tables, a pit toilet, a garbage can and some nice views of the neighboring Cascade Mountains along the I-90 corridor. If it’s a clear day try and find the lookout on top of Granite Mountain! After you've located the lookout and eaten a snack, head back into the tunnel for your return trip. This time though, you will not have the light at the end leading you until you reach the bend in the tunnel near the start on the east side.

WTA Pro Tip: Wear reflective clothing. Bicyclists are faster than walkers and can come upon you quickly. Help them out by wearing reflecting clothing or even a blinking light on your back.

(via http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/iron-horse-tunnel)

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Mountain Biking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


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