Iron Horse Trail from Hyak to Olallie State Park
|Description:||The Iron Horse Trail (a.k.a. the John Wayne Pioneer Trail) is an old railroad line converted to a trail. The ride features a 2.5 mile long tunnel and several high trestle bridges. The long tunnel and the bridges help make the ride especially fun. Near Olallie State Park you may see some rock climbers climbing on the cliffs above the trail.|
|Location:||Parallels I-90 starting at Hyak park near Exit 54 and going down to Olallie State Park near Exit 38.|
|Distance:||About 17 miles|
|The Trail:||Since it is an old railway grade the trail grade is
very constant and gradual. The trail is lightly graveled,
very similar to a hard packed gravel road. There is some
deep gravel on some of the trestle bridges that will
likely be too difficult to ride through. The maximum
grade along the Iron Horse Trail is about 2.2%. The end
of the ride where the trail goes down to Olallie State
Park and the Twin Falls Trailhead there is a short
section where the grade is over 10%.
The ride starts up at Hyak and immediately heads right through the tunnel. At mile 4.5 you will pass a snowshed. At mile 7 you will cross the first trestle bridge. The next trestle bridge is at mile 14. At mile 15 you will come to the third trestle bridge and an area that is used for rock climbing. If the weather is good you may see some rock climbers on the cliffs above the trail. You will cross one more trestle bridge at about mile 15.5. After mile 16 keep an eye out for the Twin Falls Trailhead heading downhill on your right. The turnoff is a wide doubletrack trail with the same gravel surface as the Iron Horse Trail. Take the trail down to Exit 38 and Olallie State Park. Be careful, the downhill section is more than a 10% grade. At the bottom of the Twin Falls Trailhead it is about 1/2 mile along the road to get to the parking area near Olallie State Park.
|Notes:||Since it is a gravel trail a unicycle with a wider
low pressure tire will work better than a unicycle with a
skinny tire. A Coker is ideal on this trail. A unicycle
with a skinny high pressure 700 cc tire may have some
difficulty with the gravel. The tunnel is very dark. It
has a type of darkness that swallows photons. There is no
ambient moonlight or starlight in the tunnel so it is
darker than what you would experience on a normal night
ride. A standard handheld flashlight will not put out
enough light to ride. A powerful special purpose cycling
light is highly recommended. I use a 15 watt NiteRider
light mounted on my helmet and it seems barely adequate.
If you try riding the tunnel with an inadequate light you
will likely end up walking most of the tunnel instead of
riding it. The tunnel is one of the best parts of the
ride so bring a good light so you can enjoy it.
There are no drinking fountains along the trail. Carry enough water to get you through the ride. You will need to fill up on water before driving to the trailhead. There is no drinking water at either Hyak or Olallie State Park.
The trail is exposed and will get lots of sun. Sunscreen is a good idea.
Bring basic tools to be able to make common trail repairs. Things like a patch kit, pump, spare crank bolt, socket and wrench for the crank bolt, allen keys, etc.
A small first-aid kit would also be handy. A fall on gravel can leave you a little scraped up and bloody.
Total ride time will proabably be about 3.5 hours. Larger group rides are slower than indivdual rides. An individual rider who does not stop to socialize at all of the view points along the trail will be able to finish the ride much faster. Don't expect to ride as quickly on gravel as you do on pavement.
|Maps:||Overview map of the
trail 1451 KB
The overview jpg maps don't have a high enough resolution for good printing. The purpose of the overview map is to give you an idea of the area. I'll have high resolution printed maps to hand out at the convention.