Weekend Wheeling: Tempus Puget
My first mountain biking experience in Seattle came via the Iron Horse Trail. Located approximately 35 miles east of Seattle on I-90, this ride enjoys an easy grade and great views. I am always surprised to see how little this trail is used despite how easy it is to get to. This converted rail bed of the now defunct Milwaukee railroad serves bikers and hikers alike.
Take I-90 east past North Bend to Exit 38, bearing to the right off the exit. Go east approximately one mile to Olallie State Park and park there. Hop on your bike, go just a few feet up the road, and take a right past the locked white gate (it's okay, it's just used to keep motorized vehicles out). Follow the dirt trail up the hill to the clearing. Stay left on the narrow trail. Keep following it until you have to hike your bike up the last few feet to get up onto the main trail.
Going west on the trail would take you over Hull Creek on a new trestle and connect you to many miles of rail-trail. However, I recommend going east toward the Snoqualmie Tunnel. It's 16 miles one-way from the Hull Creek trestle to the Snoqualmie Tunnel, giving a total distance of 32 miles for the out-and-back. But if you want more, the ride can be extended for quite a few miles in both directions.
Once headed east you'll come to the Mine Creek trestle and discover spectacular vistas of the Cascades all around. If you're afraid of heights, keep riding; otherwise, get off the bike for a minute and enjoy the view.
From here, keep going east, winding your way on hard-pack up to the Snoqualmie Tunnel. In my experience so far on this trail, I've been kept from going through the tunnel due to closures of various sorts; but if you have a headlamp or can ride one-handed with a lantern or flashlight (not recommended), head on through and let me know how it went.
If you ever want to do a long route that will lead to some interesting places but don't care for the ups and downs of classic single track, give this infrequently used rail-trail a ride. You'll get awesome views and no crowds.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication