"A child can walk part of the old Great Northern Railroad right-of-way and peek into a dark and spooky blocked tunnel. A century ago the last spike of this railway was driven, to enable the Great Northern to cross the Cascades at Stevens Pass. Reminisce about the excitement of the old steam engines thundering uphill, belching great puffs of smoke and steam in the cold mountain air. Abandoned in 1929, after the big tunnel was built, the old grade was almost lost, but thanks to thousands of volunteer hours and donated materials, the railroad is now a trail into history. Eventually the trail will reach near the summit of Stevens Pass and the site of the tragic 1910 Wellington avalanche that swept away standing train cars and nearly 100 passengers. Look for relics. Bits of ancient cable, old tie bolts, and even a coal scuttle lie rusting along the way. James J. Hill, known as the Empire Builder, chose the Rocky Mountain goat as his railroad’s emblem, hence the name Iron Goat Trail. Mountain goats are still occasionally seen in the Stevens Pass area, so watch for them on the rocky avalanche slope across the valley." Read more
"A mostly level walk though thick second-growth forest on the old Great Northern Railroad route is the prime reason for hiking the Iron Goat Trail. But there are also dazzling displays of wildflowers during spring, extensive views up and down the Skykomish River Valley, and a rich human history replete with great tragedy—all of which contributes to bring people to the trail. There are also many opportunities for loop hikes, but this particular hike makes a one-way trip from Martin Creek to the Wellington townsite and trailhead, requiring a car shuttle." Read more
"This interpretive hiking trail in the Stevens Pass historic district climbs a constant 2.2 percent grade. Kiosks guide you through a trail decorated with wildflowers and forests of ferns, alders, and evergreens. The route offers you views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and mountain peaks, rivers and streams, remnants of the railroad, and the 7.8-mile Cascade Tunnel. Mileage markers reflect the original railroad signs, indicating mileage to St. Paul, Minnesota. The trail is named for the logo on the Great Northern trains." Read more
"This hike follows sections of the Great Northern Railway line to tunnels and the work sites used during construction of the railroad.
Officially completed in 2007, the Iron Goat Trail follows portions of an abandoned railroad route, allowing hikers to peek into tunnels, visit former work camps, and explore some of the history of the area. There are multiple trailheads, one at each end of the park and one roughly in the middle. We recommend a central approach, beginning at the Scenic Trailhead and the Iron Goat Interpretive Site. Almost immediately you have the choice of following the grade out toward the work-camp site known as Corea or taking the Windy Point Crossover to the upper grade. The Crossover trail is only about 1 mile, but be warned that the trail is very new, very steep, and difficult to navigate with snowshoes. If you’re snowshoeing, we recommend you skip the shortcut and dive into the trail." Read more
"History and nature converge on the Iron Goat Trail unlike anywhere else, a tribute to both the beauty of the environment in its pristine condition and man’s amazing ability to transform it. Hiking the Iron Goat is like exploring a living museum in the wilderness, showcasing some great engineering achievements and the men who changed the world forever by building them. Throw in wildflowers, high mountain views, and a virtually flat, singletrack trail, and the Iron Goat is an absolute must for any Washington State hiker." Read more