Iron Goat Trail is a 5.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Skykomish, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Skykomish: Drive 6 miles east on U.S. Hwy. 2 to milepost 55. Turn north onto the Old Cascade Hwy. #67. Proceed to the junction with Road #6710. Turn onto this road and proceed 1.4 miles to the Martin Creek Trailhead parking lot.
2 stars because my buddy brought me to Iron Goat Trail in March. Word to the uninitiated: the trail is covered in snow in March. The trailhead could not be reached by vehicle, but there is a gravel road accessable by a private parking lot, which you must call and ask permission to use. I called the number on the sign at the parking lot around 11AM and got permission, no problem. Just had to text my licence plate number to the lot attendant. The gravel road which leads you up to the trail head was recently plowed, so it was only a moderately difficult 5 mile hike up (we hiked a few mikes past the trailhead for the loop). Overall, it was a beautiful hike along the creek and then up the mountain. However, trudging through the snow for 10 miles overall (out and back) with a 30lb pack (for training purposes) left my calves sore and cramped for the entire next 36 hours. The actual Iron Goat Trail, when we finally found it, it was several feet buried under snow. Beautiful, but not really do-able in early March. Maybe in early April the trail conditions will be different, if most of the snow has melted by then. Not sure, but it seems like such a cool hike, so I'd love to try again, ASAP. Two stars obviously isn't any fault of the trail itself -- just don't go in early March and make the same mistake that I did!! Thankfully it was a beautiful day and still quite scenic and enjoyable.
Very easy hike. We did the lower trail and from martin to the interpretive site and back was 6 miles. Be aware there is a bear and 2 cubs in the area so we wear a bell or talk as you are moving. Amazing hike to take your dogs with you.
we only did the lower grade which was a great easy hike with kids. during the month of august there aren't a lot of great views though sadly. good historical signage related to the old tracks and tunnels.
Beautiful trail! It was a misty day which made for some great photos, but we were pretty wet. We started at the interpretive sight off of Hwy 2 and went up the switchbacks. It is pretty steep, but a good start. The rest of the trail is flat. The upper trail gets quite narrow and is overgrown in a few stretches. I would recommend long pants as there are some stinging nettles. The upper trail is muddy in places where water runs down. The history and remnants of the old train route are awesome. Would highly recommend this trail.
Great history along the trail. Switchback to Windy Point is a challenge but I am a beginner. Didn't make it to Wellington...next time. Bug spray is a must!! And lots of it!
We took the lower grade and looped up into the higher grade, which made for a fairly easy enough hike with kids, though a bit long. The lower grade was an easy flat stroll with many tunnels to look over. Just a bit of a gradual slope to hike up toward the upper trail, doable for my seven year old. Once on the upper trail, the trail is a bit narrow, there were a couple streams to cross, and the beautiful waterfalls coming over the walls were simply gorgeous. The switchbacks coming down was a bit on the steep side at times for the seven year old, which made navigating slow and she kept slipping, so I carried her on my back. Easy enough, as I was practically jogging down with her on my back. Definitely easier going down than if we went up it. I don't think we would have made it halfway up before the kids would have wanted to turn around. (:
The lower grade is really easy, our almost 2 year old walked 98% of it himself. The upper grade is a little more difficult (we also started with the lower grade and left the upper grade for last. I skipped it because the switch backs were too hard for me while wearing my 8 month old.) The upper grade had a stream to cross and a few narrow passages with a cliff on the side. I suggest starting at the trailhead and doing the upper grade then the lower grade. The lower grade is very well maintained and level. We loved exploring the tunnles.
The Iron Goat Trail is the abandon roadbed of the Great Northern Railway. The railroad was built in 1893 and was used until 1929 when the present Cascade Tunnel opened.
At Wellington there is teh original Cascade Tunnel built in 1900. It's 2.63 miles long. DO NOT ENTER iy. It is in the process of collapse. Also there is the foundation of a watertank and coaling tower. The snowsheds were built in 1911 after the avalanche.
The BIG walls on the trail are the anchor walls that held the snowsheds into the mountain side. The rest of the snowshed was wood and has rotted away.
At Windy Point it is possible to look down in the canyon and see the west end of the Present Cascade Tunnel.
It is 7.8 miles long and is in use by lots of trains every day.
The trail is not difficult or steep but is nine miles long. Be Prepared. Take only photos and leave only footprints