John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Now officially the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is often referred to as the Iron Horse Trail. Enjoy any of several possible hikes with views of mountains and waterfalls as well as interesting history as this portion of the trail traverses from Rattlesnake Lake to Snoqualmie Pass.

on the trail

The trail runs from Rattlesnake Lake to the Idaho Border.  This route pertains to the western portion of the trail between Rattlesnake Lake and  Snoqualmie Pass. This section of the 212-mile trail is 25 miles one-way and 1,640 feet of elevation gain (or loss) with a high point of 2,600 ft.  There are several possible hikes, bike rides, cross-country skis, and snowshoes of varying length and elevation gain (or loss) done as a round trip or one-way with a few access points from I-90.

Westside access points to the Trail

      • Rattlesnake Lake - Exit 32, Discover Pass
      • Twin Falls Natural Area/Olallie State Park - Exit 38, Discover Pass
      • McClellan Butte trailhead - Exit 42, Northwest Forest Pass
      • Annette Lake trailhead - Exit 47, Northwest Forest Pass
      • Iron Horse State Park Hyak trailhead - Exit 54, Discover Pass
        Note that the appropriate parking pass depends on the trailhead being used!

Snoqualmie Tunnel

This is the only hike in Washington that is almost entirely inside a tunnel, providing a unique opportunity to experience some of our state's history. The tunnel was formerly used by the Milwaukee Road rail line which still operated within the memory of many current Mountaineers members.  The Hyak trailhead is at the former train station where skiers disembarked before roads were built to Snoqualmie Pass. The train station has been renovated to include nice restrooms for hikers and skiers. It is always cold in the tunnel, even on a hot day, so it is important to wear warm clothing.  Lights are needed because there is no lighting in the tunnel. Reflective material needs to be on hikers' clothing because bikers use the tunnel and need to be able to see the hikers to avoid collisions. The tunnel is 2.3 miles long.

Rattlesnake lake to Hall Creek Trestle

From the Iron Horse State Park parking area, follow the signs for Iron Horse State Park.  After you pass a sign with  mileages for destinations including Twin Falls and McClellan Butte, make a left to head east through forest with openings of shrubs that can have lovely fall color.    At 1 mile, cross Boxley Creek and pass the Cedar Butte trailhead on the right. Continue about 1 mile further past  the falls of Boetzke Creek and the abandoned Ragnar train depot.  At 4.5 miles, pass the eastern end of the Twin Falls trail on the left, and at 5 miles, the unmarked trail to Mount Washington. Continue ahead and, at 5.5 miles, cross two impressive former railroad trestles over Change and Hall Creeks with great views of West Defiance Ridge to the north and Deception Crags to the south. This trip is 11 miles round trip with 300 feet of elevation gain and a high point of, 1,100 ft.


  • This trail is shared with other users. Please be considerate of other users. In winter, please and avoid snowshoeing on the ski tracks.

Information for Leaders


The Mountaineers has a commercial use permit with Washington State Parks for all free and fee-based outings at state parks. Leaders should carry a print or digital copy of our  commercial use permit to show rangers they may encounter. 

  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Snowshoeing Category: Beginner
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: *Varies*, Easy, Moderate, Strenuous
  • Length: 25.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,640 ft
  • 2,600 ft
  • Green Trails Rattlesnake Mtn No. 205S
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S
  • Green Trails Mount Si NRCA No. 206S

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Iron Horse Trail
  • Iron Horse State Park
  • Snoqualmie Tunnel
  • Palouse to Cascades Trail
  • Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

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