Iron Goat Trail

King County, Washington

Distance8.6mi
Elevation Gain843ft
Trailhead Elevation2,163ft
Top2,432ft
Elevation Min/Max2163/2432ft
Elevation Start/End2163/2163ft

Iron Goat Trail

Iron Goat Trail is a hiking trail in King County, Washington. It is 8.6 miles long and begins at 2,163 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 17.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 843 feet. The Iron Goat/Martin Creek Trailhead and Iron Goat Interpretive Site parking and the Iron Goat Trail Interpretive Site information office are near the trailhead.

Iron Goat Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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. Surface: Gravel with concrete binder. Location: King County, near Stevens Pass."

"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."

"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."

"Only one of the three state historic wagon and railroad trails are preserved for hikers. The old Milwaukee Railroad over Snoqualmie Pass is, in reality, a gated road. The old Naches Wagon Trail is overwhelmed and clobbered by ORVs. Only the old 1893 Great Northern Railroad over Stevens Pass has sections that are still intact.

For the first four years, the railroad switchbacked over the pass, taking 12 miles of track to go 2.6 air miles from Berne on the east side to Wellington on the west side. Both of the present trailheads offer easy hikes to points of interest. If transportation can be arranged, this is an excellent one-way trip. Although it is only a 2.2-percent grade, logic says start at Wellington and walk downhill to Marten Creek."

Iron Goat Trail Reviews

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8/4/2018
Great hike with spectacular views. Main trail is very flat and suitable for all. Upper trail provides more of a challenge but is easy/moderate hiking.
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8/19/2008
My son (10) and I decended from Wellington to Scenic. Backtracked to the mouth of the tunnel and read every informational sign. The Windy Point Latrine has to have the best view of any I've seen. Incredible trail, view, and information on this part of American history. Partial blockage of trail near end at Scenic from winter avalanch presented nice scramble for my son and I and we saw snow in August there. Amazing!
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9/2/2004
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10/10/2003
If you try for the out-and-back, this is a really solid, entertaining half-day hike. In the rain, it gets eerie.
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Iron Goat Trail Photos

Trail Information

King County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Skykomish Ranger District— Skykomish Office, 74920 NE Stevens Pass Hwy., PO Box 305, Skykomish, WA 98288; (360) 677-2414; fs.usda.gov/mbs
Local Contacts
USGS Scenic; Green Trails Map #176 (Stevens Pass); irongoat.org/images/IGT2007.pdf
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018