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Snoqualmie Pass

Snoqualmie Pass is not just the I90 summit, zooming by the windshield between Seattle and Washington. There are two interesting cycling goals up here. The more popular one is also lower, a tunnel through the top. It is on the Snoqualmie Tunnel(sh) page.

Snoqualmie Pass itself has enough non interstate pavement over the top, that I have to put it into the paved category. But in order to connect it to the rest of the world on both sides with a bicycle, you have to put up with some unpaved roads.

01.(00.0m,0940ft) START-END WEST: eastern trailhead for Iron Horse Trail
02.(05.3m,1390ft)profile leaves Iron Horse Trail and descends dirt road into valley
03.(05.7m,1200ft)route joins paved Homestead Valley Rd
04.(07.9m,1320ft)profile goes onto I90
05.(10.6m,1480ft)profile goes from I90 onto unpaved Tinkham Rd
06.(17.0m,1940ft)route changes from Tinkham Rd to Denny Creek Rd
07.(22.8m,3040ft)TOP:Snoqualmie Pass
08.(25.6m,2560ft)route joins Iron Horse Trail again.
09.(33.5m,2530ft)profile crosses Stampede Pass Rd
10.(55.5m,1950ft)START-END EAST: old Cle Elum station on Iron Horse Trail


From West.
The lower part of the profile follows the Iron Horse Trail, an unpaved rail trail. The profile leaves the trail at an unsigned intersection with a dirt road (poinr 2). It is obvious that this intersection is close to I90, because of loud traffic noise. The dirt road connects with an old paved road, paralleling the interstate through the woods, passing Olallie State Park, a good place to get advice, water and other things. Ranger Thor was extremely helpful in gathering information to describe the rest of the way to the pass.

After a few km the nice quiet forested highway merges into the Interstate. The recorded route follows I90 to the next exit, even if there is a "no bicycles" sign at the entrance. These couple of kms are the only part of the route that is on I90.

At the next exit a quiet dirt road, Tinkham road stays on the south side of the Interstate for many kms. It has lots of holes, but an easily bikable surface with any type of road bike. It passes a campground and many impromptu campsites. These are busy woods.

After many kms of this quiet woods cycling Tinkham Rd reaches the next I90 exit. Even though it is possible to stay on this side of I90, the route switches over onto the north side. There are no signs here, but if you continue on the south side the road eventually ends.

Surprise - this side is paved, apparently for the campground traffic that is a couple of kms up Denny Creek Rd. The sign give no hint, that this road actually goes through to the summit. Neither do the drivers on the road seem to know. They just drive to and from the campground. Apparently tourists here do not venture far from their Interstate highways.

But this little paved Denny Creek Road is actually a beautiful climb through the woods, with twisting turns, all confined between opposing lanes of the Interstate, which are still at a comfortable distance. A mountain or two can be seen poking through above the trees. The profile again switches over on the south side of I90 at the next exit "West Summit"

The highest point is in a collection of strip mall businesses, gas stations and an expresso stand, ugly and kitschy enough so that you might expect a National Park entrance starts just on the other side.

From South. (described downwards). The paved road descends just a little less than 500ft, before it meets the East Summit exit. Another "no bicycles" sign adorns the entrance to I90. But it is easy enough to switch to the Hyak trailhead of the Iron Horse Trail. Here an old railroad station has been refunctionalized into a series of toilets that stand in the middle of  a large parking lot. I have seen more attractive railroad stations, but not more attractive toilets.

The Iron Horse trail follows the quiet south side of Keechelus Lake, but the noise from I90 on the other side from a major road construction event still make it over to this side. The approach is described further on the Snoqualmie Tunnel(sh) page. There is very little elevation drop for many miles, and the profile continues till .

A Dayride with this point as highest summit:


( < Stampede Pass | Steens Mountain Loop Rd s(u) > )

Snoqualmie Pass : near intersection Iron Horse Trail - Stampede Pass Rd > Iron Horse Trail west > Snoqualmie Tunnel(shp) > Iron Horse Trail west > Cedar Falls Trailhead > Rattlesnake Lake > Cedar Falls Rd north > SE North Bend Way west > Snoqualmie Valley Trail in many directions > back to Rattlesnake Lake > Iron Horse Trail east > unsigned dirt road between Ragnar and Garcia north > Olallie State Park > SE Homestead Valley Rd west > I90 west > Tinkham Rd west > Denny Creek Rd west > Snoqualmie Pass > Snoqualmie Pass East summit > Hyak > Iron Horse Trail east > jct Iron Horse Trail - Stampede Pass Rd <> out and back on Iron Horse Trail east as far as next tunnel ~150ft lower than Snoqualmie Tunnel(sh) : 78.0milesw with 3050ft of climbing in 6:31hrs (garmin etrex30: m5:17.8.30)