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Iron Horse Trail: Twin Falls to Snoqualmie Tunnel

People ask me if I like living in Seattle and I say, "yes the only thing that is missing is my family". Then I try to explain how great it is having the mountains, deserts, volcanos, glaciers, temperate rain forests, ocean, and Seattle all within no more than a two hour drive. I never really feel like I've made a convincing argument, so, I hope these pictures will help to explain one aspect of what a wonderful area the Pacific Northwest is. The following photo album contains pictures I took while riding my bike along part of the Iron Horse Trail.

The Iron Horse trail is a old rail line that has been converted to a biking and walking trail. Because it was graded for trains crossing Snoqualmie Pass it has an easy to climb 4% grade. On this day I started at the Twin Falls trail head, which is just off exit 38 on I-90, and headed east to the Snoqualmie Tunnel.

Now back to why the Pacific Northwest is such a great place. Since the Twin Falls trail head is at exit 38 it is a mere 40 miles from downtown Seattle to the start of my ride making this trail very accessible. For those wishing to start a bit closer to Seattle the trail is also accessible at Rattle Snake lake with is located South of I-90 at exit 32. Once on the trail you will find that it is in use by all ages of people including entire families. However, visitors to the trail are spread out enough that you don't feel crowded and are comfortable going at your own pace. As for setting a pace I'm not one of those guys that enjoys being out doors for the sake of feeling like I'm exercising. I would rather be distracted from my exertion by beautiful scenery which the Iron Horse does perfectly. As you can see in the pictures the trail is continuous stream of distant mountain peaks to focus on as you pedal up the pass. Not shown in these pictures are several trestles that take you across ravines, waterfalls, and rock climbing walls. Parents will take relief in knowing that all of the trestles are fenced on both sides keeping little ones from danger.

I've purposely left the length of the trail from Twin Falls to Snoqualmie Tunnel to last as not to scare anyone away from using this gem of a trail. On the day I took the pictures I started out just wanting to enjoy the day and didn't set a goal of getting to the tunnel, but, before I knew it I had peddled up the 15 miles to the tunnel. You might say 15 miles one-way, 30 miles round trip, that is too far. However, remember that this trail has a very shallow grade. If it still sounds too far I suggest you take two cars and do the following. Park one car at the Twin Falls trail head or Rattle Snake Lake. Then take youy second car, and bikes, to exit 54 and start out on the Iron Horse Trail east of Snoqualmie Tunnel. Make sure to being a headlight for every bike and extra batteries as the tunnel has no lights, is 2.1 miles long, and regardless of the amount of sun will be pitch black shortly after the entrance. After peddling though the flat 2.1 mile tunnel you will be headed down hill toward Twin Falls or Rattle Snake lake.

August 20th, 2005

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The Iron Horse trail lies along the south side of I-90. This picture shows the trail along the left edge of the picture and I-90 along the right. In the background Mt. Teneriffe can be seen to the right. The left end of the same mountain is Mt. Si. One of the great things about the Iron Horse trail is the wonderful string of mountain peaks that pass as one makes their way along the trail. These are the mountain peaks as seen from the east end of the Snoqualmie Tunnel. Just left of center is Snoqualmie Mountain. In addition to mountains peaks one will see plenty of near by flora and some interesting manmade structures such as the snow shed right of center in this picture.
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The snow shed seen in the previous picture at a distance can be seen clearly in this picture. Although I didn't see any sign explaining what this structure is it looks like a parking location for a train engine with a snow plow. The view from the west end of the Snoqualmie Tunnel looking west from the Iron Horse trail. West end of the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the Iron Horse Trail. The tunnel is 2.1 miles long, open to pedestrians and has no lights.

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the picture.

The pictures in this gallery were taken with a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera. Any use of these pictures without permission from the photographer is strictly prohibited. Email me to request permission to use any of these pictures or if you would like a higher resolution version.

Last updated: 10/16/05