Day 47 – Iron Goat Trail, WA

June 7, 2017

Leavenworth,  Iron Goat Trail and Money Creek Campground in Washington

We drove through Leavenworth around lunchtime. It is an interesting tourist town with an Alpine Village theme.

We found it attractive, but were very glad we weren’t driving through it during prime tourist season.

We stopped at the Iron Goat Interpretive Site and Trailhead.

Iron Goat Trail

The Iron Goat Trail is a “rails to trails” converted railway route. The Great Northern Railway, known as the Iron Goat Railway, had one of the most deadly railway disasters in the US. This area is prone to heavy snows and high avalanche risk. In 1910, two trains were stopped along the track when an avalanche swept both trains off the tracks. Over 96 people died in the accident.

Wellington Train Disaster

Even now, the area is prone to washouts. This bridge was constructed to cross over an area that was washed down the mountainside.

The trail follows along the train track and still contains a number of railway structures such as tunnels and snow sheds (areas along the track that have a top and side to protect the train and track from snow and avalanches).

The trail has lots of options for length, elevation change and steepness of your hike. We opted for the suggested 5.9 mile loop trail. It has a long gradual climb along the former railway track, up the steep Martin Creek Crossover, along another section of former train track and finally down the very long and steep Windy Point Crossover.

There was an incredible variety of flowers in bloom.

Dwarf Dogwood

We checked out the two tunnels. The wooden supporting timbers of the first tunnel had partially fallen down. 

The stone tunnel was still standing.

There was a wooden snow shed protecting the gap between the tunnels which had fallen down and broken apart.

The second tunnel had completely collapsed.

We walked along the side of a tremendous concrete snow shed.

On the upper part of the trail, we walked along the top of the same snow shed.

When passing through an area with moderately tall shrubbery, we surprised a black bear. We scared it as much as it scared us. It did what black bears are supposed to do which was climbing up a tree to get away from us.

It seemed to be an adolescent, so we were concerned that a mother bear might be around. Fortunately, it seemed to be alone. We hadn’t brought our bear spray or bells because unlike many of the places we had stopped, there weren’t any warnings about bears. I took a few photos and then we continued our hike.

The rest of the hike was uneventful. By the time we reached the Fuso, we had hiked at least 7 miles.

We found a great campsite at Money Creek Campground in the Washington Cascades.

It was not too far from our hike. The Campground was along the Skykomish River.

It was at the back of our campsite. The river was running really high like almost all of the rivers in the area.

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