Iron Horse Trail / John Wayne Pioneer Trail
|Iron Horse State Park is a 1,612-acre park that was once part of the path of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad. Originally, the trail right-of-way was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. The railroad operated between 1908 and 1980, when the company went into bankruptcy. The state’s Department of Natural Resources acquired much of the property and turned it over to State Parks, which continues to acquire land and make improvements to the area. The entire corridor is known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, and stretches all the way to the Idaho Border. Currently, only the trail portion west of the Columbia River is maintained for recreational use. However, travel along the John Wayne Trail east of the Columbia River is allowed with permits required.
The trail starts at Cedar Falls and as it approaches Snoqualmie Pass from the west, high trestles provide spectacular views of the valley below. East of Hyak, the trail passes along Lake Kacheelus and Lake Easton before leveling out in the farmlands between Throp and Kittitas. From the Army West Trailhead, the trail then descends 2000ft over 20 miles to the Columbia River.
The trail is seasonally maintained between Cedar Falls and Kittitas Trailheads. The 22 mile portion between Army West (Renslow Trestle) and Army East (Huntzinger Rd./Beverly Bridge) passes through the US Army Yakima Training Center, and is subject to occasional closures. This portion of the trail is particularly rugged with limited access, so plan ahead. Check this park’s web page for alerts regarding closures and other trail conditions.
More information on the John Wayne Trail / Iron Horse State Park and permits can be found here:
Friends of John Wayne Pioneer Trail and Washington State Parks – Iron Horse Trail