Iron Horse Western Side

I got the idea in my head to hike the Iron Horse trail from the top entrance to the end of the trail, near Rattlesnake Lake. I had dayhiked the lower section a number of times, but hadn’t been up higher on it. To do it I left a vehicle at the Iron Horse parking lot (state park land) and Kirk dropped me off on I-90 at the Annette Lake trailhead, just below Snoqualmie Pass, exit 47. This is the last entrance to the Iron Horse trail before the tunnel under Snoqualmie, otherwise you have to come in from the eastern side.

And I did it by myself, so I could talk to myself all day……

Head up the trail marked for Annette Lake.

The trail crosses over and follows Humpback Creek for a bit. The creek is very pretty and makes up for the less than stellar woods in the first section, which is overgrown. It is old clear cuts that grew up without much stewardship.

It gets better as you reach the top.

The trail climbs rather steeply, and goes under two open areas where the cross state power lines go. It is about 2/3 of a mile, give or take, to reach the Iron Horse Trail. Take a right onto the trail…and start walking. It’s all downhill from here, so tell your knees to suck it up.


The pass was clouded over, leaving it an easy hike and cooler temps.

It was open here, a sign that avalanches have happened over the years and that the trees were cut back for the old rail line.

Little streams come down the hillside.

My eyes caught a building in the distance.

An old shed for the railroad.

It was also about as creepy as you might imagine when you are alone and have seen no one.

Cause you know a slasher film should have been shot here….

Passed a really bad blowout, the trail was a bit wonky but walkable.

First of the huge trestle bridges.

First of the “Stops”, this being Bandera. It was never truly wilderness feeling, with the power lines strung along the trail.

Wa State Parks has backcountry sites on the Iron Horse Trail, this is the upper one (there are two).

Carter Creek. It gave me a place to sit, take off my shoes for a few, and have a snack. Picnic tables await.

Looking down at a campsite, which has access to water.

When a cruel, cruel sign tells you that you have only hiked 6.8 miles on the trail. Oh joy.

I ran into someone I knew through hiking at the climbing walls just a bit father down (this was the entrance to the Iron Horse from the trailhead for McCellan Butte).

Backcountry site #2. Alice Creek Campground.

Train stop Garcia.

Another massive trestle bridge.

Ragnar stop. It was here I was questioning my sanity for this hike, but also knowing I wasn’t far from the end, as I had hiked here many times.

As I reached Cedar Falls I was starting to slow down, I had swapped shoes halfway but the constant downhill was pinching my toes. But I knew I was almost there.

As I stood at the technical end of the trail for me, I had hiked 16.5 miles all downhill. Plus 2/3 a mile uphill, and the last bit to take the side trail down to the parking lot. My day stood at 17.5 miles or so.

And yes, my knees felt like I was 90.


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