Riding The Snoqualmie Tunnel

Fall Colors

Fall Colors

October might just be my favorite month to be up in the Washington Cascade mountains.  On this trip my plan was to ride my Rockhopper (mountain bike) through the old railroad tunnel beneath the crest of Snoqualmie Pass.  The tunnel is part of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, also know as the Iron Horse Trail.

About 10 or 12 years ago Leane, RandyMarrs, and I rode through the same tunnel, and at that time the roadbed was really rough, there were huge, deep pot holes, and several places where water was draining down from the ceiling. Even in mid summer it was really cold and creepy in there.  Since then the tunnel was closed down for 11 months and numerous improvements were made.

Iron Horse Trail Sign

Iron Horse Trail Sign

The East Portal

The East Portal

How about a little history: The tunnel was constructed from 1912-1914 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Pacific Railroad.  The route was known as the Milwaukee Road and connected Chicago and Seattle.  Along about 1917 the passage through the tunnel was handled by electric engines to eliminate the choking smoke associated with steam and coal engines in the confined spaces.  The last train rolled through March 15, 1980, after which the line was decommissioned.  Washington State acquired the land an converted it to a Rails-toTrails project.

About mid-way inside the 2.5 mile tunnel

About mid-way inside the 2.5 mile tunnel

That squiggly light is just my camera bouncing around because I’m hauling ass through the darkness.

My zip-tied MacGyver flashlight setup

My zip-tied MacGyver flashlight setup

I was delighted with my zip-tied bike light setup.  This LED light was a vast improvement over the cheesy little bike lights we used in the tunnel a decade ago.

I made a little video of my ride, here have a look:

Returning to Daylight

Returning to Daylight

Clowning around in the dark

Clowning around in the dark

After a quick round trip I popped back out into the daylight on the east side and was rewarded with just a bit of sunshine.

There was a low fog bouncing around the mountain tops and fresh raindrops beaded up on all the orange and red leaves.  That was an especially beautiful view for me because I was headed to the desert sagebrush country for the next two weeks.

Kat

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About Jeff Katzer

Welcome friends. I'm a cyclist, hiker, motorbike rider, kayaker, photographer, videographer, ukulele player, snowshoer, XC skier, and BEST of all - a grandpa. Somewhere in that list above you'll find the theme of the Adventure Journal.
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6 Responses to Riding The Snoqualmie Tunnel

  1. Tim says:

    Very nice Jeff. I’ve always wanted to do that.

  2. mtbtokyogirl says:

    Wow.
    Actually i always get scared to ride in/through tunnel especially there is only a little light or no light. Kinda scary isn’t it?
    Anyway i wonder where u r heading to next!

  3. Kevin Katzer says:

    A colorful and fun one JK, enjoyed it. Love ya Bro! -KK

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