Scenic to Berne

The Original Tunnel Through the Cascades

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

A snowshed near Wellington. Photo by Peter Lewis.

The original Great Northern line through the Cascades Mountain Range was completed in 1892, and reached the summit via a series of switchbacks, climbing to over 4,000 feet about sea level. In 1929, a new tunnel, the Cascade Tunnel, was completed at a length of over 7 miles, which considerably shortened the distance -- naturally, the GN abandoned the original alignment. These pictures show the old tunnels and snowsheds that still remain today on the original right-of-way.

Coming across abandoned snowsheds and tunnels such as these would be a truly incredible experience.

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY


Chasing abandoned tunnels and snowsheds is not only an incredible experience but also physically challenging. However this part of railroad history was adopted by the Forest Service and put a cadialac style trail in the abandoned 9.5 miles. The trail was built primarily by volunteers under the direction of the Forest Service. The USFS took great care to preserve the historical features and make them accessible. The lower trail is ADA wheelchair accessible from Martin Creek Trailhead to the lower Scenic trailhead. The 2.2% grade makes this a very easy trail to hike, even with children.

Dave Cox
Yakima, WA


The Iron Goat Trail is a excellent hike and many remains of the GN are still there. At Wellington there is the west portal of the original Cascade Tunnel and the concrete snowsheds.

The GN still lives in the area

Cliff W West
Rainier, OR


I used to live in Everett, and would take my 4X4 up to Wellington. Way back, Wellington [formerly Tye] was the sight one of the worst rail disasters in American history with 100 people killed in an avalanche- looking at the wreckage in the valley below, I don't think they found everyone- with pipe poking up from under house sized boulders.

Steve McGee
McKinney, TX


When was this abandoned?

Alexi Lauto
Las Vegas, NV


The official abandonment was 1935 when the salvage crews came in and took everything of value. The new line opened in 1929 when the first official train rolled through the tunnel (despite technical difficulties with condensation shutting down one of the motors). The last passenger train, the Oriental Limited, passed through Tye in January 29. The track was left operational in case of a tunnel problem on the new line.

Dave Cox
Yakima , WA


Shortened Link:

Do you have any pictures or information about The Original Tunnel Through the Cascades? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.