Want a great, spooky hike for Halloween night? Look no further than the Snoqualmie Tunnel. Part of the 110 mile long Iron Horse trail, this 2.3 mile long tunnel cuts under Mount Hyak and the Summit at Snoqualmie ski area. The tunnel was constructed during 1912-1914 in order to allow trains to easily cross the pass while avoiding avalanches and deep snow.
For Halloween 2013 we rounded up a group of our friends to tackle this hike. We figured since we’ll be in a tunnel we won’t miss any scenery by going in the dark. Plus it adds to the spookiness!
All of us met at the large parking lot near Hyak. The lot features an automated pay station for purchasing a day or annual Discover Pass. After everyone in our group arrived we headed the 1/3 mile to the tunnel entrance. Watch out for the gate that keeps motorized vehicles off the wide Iron Horse trail. In the dark it can be easy to trip over (as I discovered while trying to navigate without a light). The tunnel’s opening features two enormous doors big enough for trains to drive through. These doors are shut and the tunnel is closed from November 1st to May 1st every year due to ice formations inside the tunnel. Halloween is your last chance to experience this hike before the snow flies.
As we trekked through the tunnel we amused ourselves by turning out our lights and seeing how far we could walk before getting too scared or becoming completely disoriented. Inside the tunnel it is absolutely, completely dark so make sure you bring plenty of batteries for your headlamp or flashlight (even during the day). Eventually we made it out the other side of the tunnel and celebrated our half way mark. There were a few nooks and crannies to explore along the way and at the other end so we poked around before heading back.
On the way back some friends of friends thought it would be fun to play a little prank on the rest of us. I was actually surprised shenanigans took so long to occur considering the time spent in a dark and scary tunnel. One of the guys had recently butchered a deer so he brought along a leg and planted it along the trail. As we came back around one of us stumbled upon these gory animal remains and some of us started freaking out (I may or may not have been on such scaredy-cat). We couldn’t figure out how we could just walk past a huge bone on the way in or what kind of an animal would’ve dragged it in!
Besides our group we didn’t see a single soul the entire night.
This was a very successful Halloween hike. The trail is wide and flat so it’s great for all ages. You could even push a stroller on it with ease if you wanted to bring really little kids. The trail is also popular with bicyclists so a light and reflective clothing will help keep everyone safe.
Fun fact – the two longest trails in Washington cross one another here but never touch. The Pacific Crest trail runs on top of the tunnel connecting Canada to Mexico whereas the Iron Horse trail extends 110 miles from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River.