KCEHC Trail Guide

King County Executive Horse Council

Iron Horse Trail

Also known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, this rail-trail runs along the I-90 corridor in the bed of the former Milwaukee Railroad. Starting at the Rattlesnake Lake parking area, the trail climbs very slowly up to just below Snoqualmie Pass, where it enters a 2.3 mile tunnel (now reopened). On the way, it crosses a number of dizzyingly high trestles over mountain streams. A number of rock faces along the way are popular with rock-climbers, and they and their gear may be scattered along the trail sides nearby.

Riders planning to enter the tunnel should remember to bring warm waterproof clothing, as it is cold and damp inside the tunnel, and at LEAST a headlamp and backup light -- it's really dark.


View Rattlesnake Lake Parking in a larger map

To Rattlesnake Lake: Take exit 32 from I-90 and turn south on 436th Ave SE (Cedar Falls Road). Follow 3 miles to Rattlesnake Lake, where the road ends at a gate leading to the Cedar River Watershed Education Center. Turn left into the Iron Horse Trail parking, then immediately right into the RV/Trailer Parking area. There are six pull-through spots, though on busy weekends "normal" vehicles will sometimes park there, inconveniently.

Trailhead is uphill from the parking area -- cross back over the road where you turned into the parking to find a gravel trail leading up (to the right) to the trailhead, or down (left) to the beginning of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to North Bend.

Current Status Notes

Open. The pass tunnel reopened on July 5th 2011, and should be open during the warm seasons.


Length: 18 miles one way from Rattlesnake lake to the tunnel

Surface: hard gravel

Share with: hikers, bicycles, rock-climbers


At Rattlesnake Lake are restrooms and picnic areas

Parking for: 6 trailers, though on crowded weekends you will often find passenger vehicles in these spots

Jurisdiction & Links

WA State Park:
The Trail is part of Iron Horse State Park.