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Old 08-25-15, 11:12 AM   #1
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State of Washington peoples: what state is the Iron Horse trail in now?

Planning to be up there end of the month, riding from North Bend to Cle Elum. Some older web postings say many of the tunnels are closed, can't find anything recent.

Edit:Route looks good so far. 4 miles of new gravel just pass the Snowqualamie tunnel that's reportedly difficult to ride on unless you've got really fat tires. I have a potential alternate detour taking fire roads. I'll update as more info becomes available.

List of people wishing to ride up to Cle Elum on the John Wayne/Iron Horse Trail on Friday, 9/25 from Seattle area
-me, gugie (from this list) Leaving from North Bend, will wait for group from Seattle to
-Drillium Dude (from this list) Leaving from Seattle area, will ride up to Snoqualamie Pass then return to Seattle
-Neil H. from google's 650b Group, riding from Seattle area all the way to Cle Elum
-Calvin R. from 650b Group, finaggled a work related flight into Seattle, riding from Seattle area to Cle Elum. Don't tell his boss!

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Last edited by gugie; 09-10-15 at 05:50 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 08-25-15, 11:25 AM   #2
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The one I know is in Pennsylvania.
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Old 08-25-15, 02:01 PM   #3
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I think the tunnel over Snoqualmie Pass is open but not totally sure. @rogerM or @northbend might know. Other than that the trail is in good shape in that section. East of Ellensburg gets more dicey with larger rock, goathead thorns and fewer places for water, etc.
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Old 08-25-15, 05:54 PM   #4
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It appears the only tunnel currently closed is Boylston, but that won't affect your planned ride as it's east of Cle Elum and there's a detour at Boylston in any case. Even the forest fires seem to have calmed down a bit and the skies are much clearer.

I'd like to hijack this thread momentarily to see if there are others locally interested in doing a group ride? Would you like some company? If so, I wonder if there are others interested?

I'd be up for it

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Old 08-25-15, 06:12 PM   #5
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I don't know, either, but I'd like to do this ride before the weather turns. Maybe we should see if we could turn this thread into a local appeal for a group ride?

I'm in

DD
I'm planning on attending the Bicycle Quarterly "un-meeting", making that part of an 8 day credit card tour. I'm leaving Portland by Amtrak on Sept. 24, then riding to North Bend (same day). North Bend to Cle Elum via the Ironhorse Trail on 9/25, 2 days in Cle Elum for the BQ "non-event", then ride back to Portland over the next 4. I have a buddy who's riding up on 9/27.

I'd be happy to meet more C&V folk and ride!

Feel free to PM me for more info.
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Old 08-25-15, 06:32 PM   #6
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Wow, cool trip you've got mapped out! Myself, I'd probably show up for the trip up to and including the Snoqualmie Tunnel and then turn around and head back home the same day. Maybe there are others that would like to do this?

As your trip gets closer, let me know what time you want to start on the 25th and I'll be in North Bend at the appointed time.

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Old 08-25-15, 06:47 PM   #7
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Planning to be up there end of the month, riding from North Bend to Cle Elum. Some older web postings say many of the tunnels are closed, can't find anything recent.
All tunnels headed east out to Ellensburg were open when I rode it there June 30-July 3.

Only condition of note when I went was what seemed like 4 miles of fresh, soft, deep gravel just past Hyak. That was pretty brutal. Had me wishing I had run 2.3" tires there for a bit. There were some good firm spots on the edges for some of that length.


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Old 08-25-15, 06:52 PM   #8
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Here are my sketchy notes and pics from when I went.

Solo bike tour Seattle - Ellensburg - Yakima - Vancouver, USA
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Old 08-25-15, 08:38 PM   #9
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All tunnels headed east out to Ellensburg were open when I rode it there June 30-July 3.

Only condition of note when I went was what seemed like 4 miles of fresh, soft, deep gravel just past Hyak. That was pretty brutal. Had me wishing I had run 2.3" tires there for a bit. There were some good firm spots on the edges for some of that length.
Thanks, that's exactly the info I was looking for. I had read someone else's posting about the quicksand-like gravel on that patch. From the maps, it looks like it's the part that borders Keechelus Lake, just outside the tunnel, correct?

Any way to do an end run? I do see some National Forest roads paralleling the Ironhorse trail. Ridewithgps shows me that this would add some climbing, which I would much prefer over loose gravel!
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Old 08-25-15, 08:54 PM   #10
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Thanks, that's exactly the info I was looking for. I had read someone else's posting about the quicksand-like gravel on that patch. From the maps, it looks like it's the part that borders Keechelus Lake, just outside the tunnel, correct?

Any way to do an end run? I do see some National Forest roads paralleling the Ironhorse trail. Ridewithgps shows me that this would add some climbing, which I would much prefer over loose gravel!
Yep, just rolled out of the tunnel, luxuriated at the Hyak restrooms for a bit, had lunch, then just a few dozen yards past Hyak it began.

Hyak Road > NF 9070 > NF 115 > NF 4080 sure seems doable, but I've not ridden those roads. The Map View on Google maps shows a break in NF 115, though. Dunno if that indicates a washout at one time or what.

I also can't recall whether soft gravel ended by the NF 4080 crossing or Stampede Pass Road. Even though it seemed interminable at the time , surely it didn't go all the way to Stampede Pass Road.
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Old 08-25-15, 09:15 PM   #11
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Yep, just rolled out of the tunnel, luxuriated at the Hyak restrooms for a bit, had lunch, then just a few dozen yards past Hyak it began.

Hyak Road > NF 9070 > NF 115 > NF 4080 sure seems doable, but I've not ridden those roads. The Map View on Google maps shows a break in NF 115, though. Dunno if that indicates a washout at one time or what.

I also can't recall whether soft gravel ended by the NF 4080 crossing or Stampede Pass Road. Even though it seemed interminable at the time , surely it didn't go all the way to Stampede Pass Road.
I'm seeing the same thing, ridewithgps won't let me navigate past it. Gate? I know how to get around those...
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Old 08-25-15, 09:23 PM   #12
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I'm so tempted to do this thing again. I'd like to ride more dirt on the Yakima to Vancouver leg. I'd planned to ride mostly gravel and dirt from Yakima but the heat (108° in Yakima) was getting to me and I was longing for the cooler weather of Vancouver so took the fastest way home.

The Unmeeting sounds fun, too!
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Old 08-25-15, 09:35 PM   #13
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Here are my sketchy notes and pics from when I went.

Solo bike tour Seattle - Ellensburg - Yakima - Vancouver, USA
Wow! Thanks! I now have a whole new understanding of the gravel grinder trend. Thanks again.
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Old 08-25-15, 11:22 PM   #14
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I'm starting to get into it-did the Velodirt North Trask route a few weekends ago. It's not all unpaved-only 50%. You want a bike that performs well on the road and is capable of going on fire roads. It opens up LOTS of new opportunities. You can link paved areas with unpaved ones that you maybe haven't thought of before.

The best part? Just about NO CARS to deal with!
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Old 08-25-15, 11:49 PM   #15
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Talk about timing...yesterday I rode from Northbend to the summit and back. Trail and tunnel are in great shape. I went almost to the end of lake Kechelus and the gravel was noticeably thicker. I was on my rivendell Bleriot with 650b x 38 tires....it wasn't too bad but I wouldn't want to ride anything much narrower. On the Seattle side you could go narrower...ride a fat tired C and V bike and freak everyone out.
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Old 08-26-15, 12:45 AM   #16
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Here are my sketchy notes and pics from when I went. Solo bike tour Seattle - Ellensburg - Yakima - Vancouver, USA
thoughtful. entertaining. and beautiful photography. nice work.
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Old 08-26-15, 07:40 AM   #17
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Wow, cool trip you've got mapped out! Myself, I'd probably show up for the trip up to and including the Snoqualmie Tunnel and then turn around and head back home the same day. Maybe there are others that would like to do this?

As your trip gets closer, let me know what time you want to start on the 25th and I'll be in North Bend at the appointed time.

DD
Will do!
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