Culture

Tales from the Trail: Trains, Avalanches, and the Iron Goat Trail

The story of a trail that passes through the site of one of the worst railroad disasters in history where spirits still roam.

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Location: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest in Leavenworth, Washington

Trail: Iron Goat Trail

In March of 1910, a massive blizzard hit the Northwest, breaking records and dumping several feet of snow on Washington state.

In the Cascade Mountains, in a small town called Wellington, the fully-loaded Spokane Express sat stranded at the station, unable to cross the Cascade Crest on the Great Northern Railway.

A vast section of snow on Windy Mountain broke loose, causing an enormous avalanche, sweeping the Spokane Express (as well as a mail train stuck at the station) into the gorge below.

Almost 100 lives were lost that day in one of the deadliest railroad disasters in American history.

The tracks were abandoned after the accident but the path now makes up the Iron Goat Trail, a 12-mile round-trip northeast of Seattle where you can still see rusted metal debris, snapped cables, and eerie partially collapsed tunnels.

“It’s not a place I’ve ever really wanted to camp overnight,” Tom Davis, a trails coordinator for the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, told The Seattle Times.

Hikers have reported disembodied voices echoing through the abandoned tunnels when no one else is there, feeling invisible hands touch them, and some have claimed to have experienced ghost sightings.

Trail runners and hikers heading out to the Iron Goat Trail to get into a bit of history and possibly the paranormal, be advised that this trail is only accessible from March until November.