Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Washington

Snoqualmie Valley Trail Facts

States: Washington
Counties: King
Length: 31.5 miles
Trail end points: NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd. (Duvall) and Rattlesnake Lake at Cedar Falls Rd. (near Riverbend)
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032111
Trail activites: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Snoqualmie Valley Trail Description

Note: As of June 29, 2016, the river bank construction about 5 miles south of Duval that interrupted the trail is mostly complete, but use may be interrupted during the 2016 summer as King County finishes surfacing, fencing, and repairs to adjacent SR 203. The Tokul Trestle repairs are complete and the trestle is open as of June 2016. The road construction on Tokul Road is also complete and no detours are required.

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail rolls from verdant dairy land in the north to a clear blue mountain lake in the south. Along the way, travelers are treated to numerous trestle crossings, historic towns, views of mountains and farmland, and a roaring waterfall.

The 31.5-mile packed gravel trail follows an extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the Milwaukee Road) that linked Everett in the north to the main line heading east-west over the Cascades. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail joins the former Milwaukee Road main line, now known as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail (which extends east to the Idaho border).

People on foot, bike, or horseback can expect extended flat sections and a couple of graded climbs. Trail users can choose their terrain by trailhead: Duvall to Carnation for a flat ride, Carnation to Snoqualmie Falls or North Bend to Rattlesnake Lake for a climb, or Snoqualmie to North Bend for preserved natural features. Multiple trailheads allow easy access to smaller chunks of trail and leapfrogging with a second car.

In the north, Duvall's McCormick Park sits on the banks of the Snoqualmie River. The relocated railroad depot is restored nearby at Stephens Street and Railroad Avenue. The next 9 miles cross several farm entrances and roads en route to Carnation, which earned its name from the dairy industry that once boomed in the area and is remembered by large hay barns that dot that landscape. Wetlands, waterfowl, and songbirds create a peaceful, open setting and a barrier between trail and road. The trail arrives at Nick Loutsis Park in Carnation, where you can take a side trip a couple blocks west to visit riverside Tolt-MacDonald Park. The trail crosses the Tolt River and passes Remlinger Farms, open to the public.

Leaving Carnation, the trail begins a moderate, 400-foot climb to the upper valley. Over the next 8 miles, three trestles offer stunning valley and river views framed by evergreens. An on-road detour begins at a stairway immediately before the Tokul Road underpass at about mile 18. Climbing the stairs, the 2.5-mile detour turns right onto Tokul Road and then left onto Southeast Stearns Road. The road name changes to Mill Pond Road as it passes a lake once used by the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co. and Weyerhaeuser. The crumbling remnants of the mill, which at one time employed 1,200 people, are visible in the distance and remain a King County historic site.

The road name changes to SE Reinig Road as it approaches a trestle on the right. The path resumes on the bridge deck at the top of the stairway. (To avoid the steps, turn right onto Meadowbrook Way SE before the trestle. Cross the Snoqualmie River on the Meadowbrook bridge, and then turn left onto SE Park Street. The trail is accessible on the left from a dog park path or the entrance to Mount Si Golf Course.)

A worthwhile side trip in this area joins the 1.5 million visitors a year who witness the Snoqualmie River plunging 268 feet into the valley. To visit Snoqualmie Falls, remain on Tokul Road at the detour, and turn right onto State Route 202. Cross the road to Salish Lodge and the rest area overlooking the falls. From here, an alternate route back to the trail passes the extensive collection of locomotives and railcars owned by the Northwest Railway Museum in old town Snoqualmie. This option starts with a right turn onto SR 202 from the falls, crosses a bridge, and meets the City of Snoqualmie Centennial Trail in less than a mile. The trail parallels the highway, passes the train collection, and ends at the old railroad depot, now a museum and ticket office for tourist trains. Continuing through town on SR 202/Railroad Avenue, the alternate route turns left onto Meadowbrook Way and returns to the detour.

Mount Si remains the dominant feature over the next few miles as the route crosses the trestle and passes through the Three Forks Natural Area, where the North, South, and Middle Forks of the Snoqualmie converge. A mobile fixture here is a herd of some 450 elk that migrate out of the hills to feed at the Mount Si Golf Course and the publicly owned Meadowbrook Farm, south of the trail on Boalch Road.

The North Bend trailhead, at Fourth Street and Ballarat Avenue, marks the last leg of the trail. Reaching the outskirts of town, the trail begins a barely perceptible grade past rows of blackberry bushes. Passing beneath Interstate 90 and then a short bridge over the rushing South Fork Snoqualmie River, the path begins its winding, 450-foot climb to Rattlesnake Lake over the next 5 miles. Most of the trail is shaded through this section, and it crosses a high trestle over a Boxley Creek tributary.

Signs at the summit point toward Iron Horse State Park, where the trail continues as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Ahead are Rattlesnake Lake and the Cedar River Education and Conference Center, where visitors can learn more about the area.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the trail from McCormick Park in Duvall, take Exit 22 from I-90. At the end of the ramp, head east, and turn right onto SE High Point Way, which becomes Preston–Fall City Road SE after 0.5 mile. After approximately 4 miles, which takes you into Fall City, cross the bridge and take the roundabout north onto SR 203/Fall City–Carnation Road SE. Proceed through Carnation to Duvall; in 14.8 miles, turn left onto NE Stephens Street to reach McCormick Park.

To access the trail from Rattlesnake Lake, take Exit 32 from I-90, and head south on 436th Avenue SE/Cedar Falls Road SE for 3.2 miles to the parking lot at Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail Reviews

I've ridden the parts of the trail many times over the years. I rode the leg of the trail between Duvall and Carnation most recently. The construction of the river bank levee is nearly complete, with crews erecting safety fencing on that section, so soon the detour onto the nearby road and that scary situation, will be unnecessary.

Meanwhile, I found crushed rock had been applied, very thick in spots, for about 2 1/2 miles going south. This is a terrible surface for bicycles. I'm not sure if the intention is to continue with this surface. If so, it will sure make the going tough. I emailed King County Parks to ask them not to do this anymore! If they do, I would downgrade my review to one-star, as it really ruins the trail. We'll see what they do next.

While riding the trail yesterday I noticed the trail closure signs have been updated to say that the completion will not be until November 2017. That's two years longer than it originally stated!
However, if you are determined to go thru that area, it isn't a 3 mile detour, more like a couple hundred yards or so. But it is on busy highway 203 with a small shoulder. I didn't do it, just drove by that part.
I have ridden this entire trail in the past (first from Duvall to Snoqualmie falls and back, then later from Snoqualmie to Rattlesnake lake and back.) and I just love this trail. The trestles are probably my favorite parts, but the falls, the valley, the views, its just incredible! You've gotta check it out. :)

I stumbled across a short piece of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail about 4 1/2 miles north of Carnation that is closed from now until Oct. 31, 2015. King County offers no detour around the river bank stabilization project, however, so the Duvall is effectively cut off from Carnation via the trail route.
State Route 203 runs past the site, but using this as an alternative route requires more than 3 miles on a two-lane truck route with few if any paved shoulders. I would not advise it.
King County press release.. http://tinyurl.com/qxrztdd

Accordion

This was my first time out on this trail and overall I was pretty happy. I started in Duvall at McCormick Park; while there could be limited parking here on a busy day, I find sharing the parking lot with the Police Station to be a good trade off...figured it would lower the incidence of any car prowling and is only about 1 mile south of Taylor Landing.

The trail is flat, wide, and well groomed, however, I would recommend more off-road oriented tires to minimize flats (I saw one rider fixing a flat and noticed he was riding on more urban style tires). The first 5 or so miles starts out pretty rocky and it looks like they recently put down a layer of 'crushed' gravel. After that it turns mostly into packed dirt, which makes the ride a lot smoother.

Through the first ~9 miles you're riding mostly on the valley floor through farm lands, which offers some pretty views, including some of Mt. Rainier. Once you hit the Remlinger Farms area in Carnation you start in on more forested terrain. At this point also I think I began to notice a slight uphill grade, maybe 1%, but it was enough that I noticed my pace begin to fall off (and subsequently pick up on the way back). The views for me turned towards the more spectacular now in the trees and being higher up on the valley slope.

I went to the point where the trail ends and you need to cross streets to pick it up again (about 18.75 miles from where I started), before taking a break and heading back.

I enjoyed the ride and look forward to another trip during the summer when more of the trees and plants have bloomed...the majority of the trees through the first part were deciduous so there was a lot of brown which I will be excited to see more green from later in the year.

For those considering walking this 3.5 mile section:

(1) getting to the Falls requires walking along Tolkuk road for a half mile.

(2) you can avoid the dangerous crossing of the highway next to the Falls by taking a small trail on the right side of the Tolkuk Road about 10 yards before the highway. This takes you up into the parking lot where a sky bridge crosses the highway.

(3) the hike is marred by being close to an active gun range for about a mile.

Saw a pretty big black bear on The Snoqualmie Valley Trail on September 1, 2014.
It was approximately 100 yards west of the three Forks off leash dog park. It was near where the trail dead ends at the bridge, and you have to take the stairs to the street.

Pretty big bear, running fast north to south across the trail.

Tried to report it to the various agencies, got the runaround. Did not seem an aggressive bear, but was kind of scary anyway.

To: TrailLink Webmaster
Please do not intersperse my photos among the existing ones. Post them together and in the correct sequence in which they are numbered.

This is another detailed exploration of the northwest segment of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (SVT) from Duvall to Snoqualmie. Miles are in (parentheses), GPS coordinates are in {braces} and numbers in [brackets] refer to the images posted herewith. Although earlier trip reports by others already contained some nice pictures and a detailed description, I have added another 26 more up to date and geo-coded pictures with this report covering the main part of the trail, starting at its north-western terminus in the city of Duvall. Note that the trail does NOT start at Duvall Park, which is a baseball park along Highway 203 but has no connection to the SVT.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail starts at Taylor Landing (a park and boat launch) at the northern end of the city of Duvall on Highway 203 (0.0) {N47.74490; W121.98685} [1]. There is parking here and also at a nearby Park and Ride lot closer to the bridge. The trail goes under a bridge and at 0.3 mi. comes to McCormick Park along the river, with picnic facilities and green spaces [2]. Restroom facilities are upland between the trail and the road and have flush toilets and a drinking fountain. The reason why the facilities are not in the park below becomes obvious when looking at the post marking the high water level during the annual flooding of this part of the valley [3]. At (2.6) {N47.70876; W121.98495} the SVT crosses 124th Street N.E. near a roundabout which connects to Novelty Hill Road. At (4.2) [4] the river is taking a bite out of the trail (and the road?) and the shore had to be reinforced with riprap. At (5.6) and (6.3) are two Washington Game Department parking and trail access areas that require a Discovery Pass to park there. One is marked as the "Snoqualmie Wildlife Recreation Area, Stillwater Unit" {N47.68245; W121.92384} [5]. There are wetlands on either side of the SVT where you can observe beaver mounds [6] and water fowl in the ponds. Just don't leave the trail in the fall while the duck hunting season is going on or you might encounter lead shot in the air! Just before crossing Highway 203, here is the only place where you can see the top of Mt. Rainier from the trail [7]. At (7.9) {N47.66543; W121.90737} the trail crosses Highway 203 (a dangerous crossing) and at (9.1) {N47.64780; W121.90738} [8] arrives at Nick Loutsis Park in the city of Carnation, a convenient access point with a trail kiosk and a portable toilet. Bring your frisbees for a round of frisbee golf in the park. From Duvall to here the elevation gain is only 140 ft. At (9.6) {N47.64115; W121.90729} [9] the SVT crosses Tolt River on a bridge that was closed several years ago while the landings underwent repair and rebuilding. A resting bench and interpretive signs invite for a pause. Here a trail downstream along the Tolt River [10] connects with Tolt-McDonald Park, a worthwhile county park with parking, camping, toilet facilities, showers, a suspension bridge and an extensive network of mountain bike trails west of Snoqualmie River. The remaining central section of the SVT goes through a wooded area adjoining the Snoqualmie Tree Farm. At (11.3) {N47.61783; W121.90330} the SVT crosses Griffin Creek Rd., a convenient access point with parking. Griffin Creek Road used to provide access to the vast Snoqualmie Tree Farm with hundred miles of logging road trails, but the access has been closed. I once crossed the maze of logging roads in the Snoqualmie Tree Farm on a mountain bike riding up the Griffin Creek from here and down the Tokul Creek drainages to emerge at the Snoqualmie saw mill and rode the SVT back for a challenging 45-mile loop. At (11.5) the SVT crosses Griffin Creek on a large trestle with interpretive signs [11][12][13][14]. At (14.6), trails ("Beaver Pond", "Jerry Springer" lead to a mountain bike area above. There used to be an access from Rutherford Slough below, but is has now been closed [15]. In 2013 when I rode the SVT, I saw a black bear crossing the trail at a spot close to here. So the warning signs along the trail are there for a good reason [16]. At (16.2) {N47.56755; W121.86440} the SVT crosses 365th Drive S.E., Spring Glen-Lake Marie Road with limited parking and a portable toilet. A sign advises trail users that the trail ends at Tokul Road [17]. At (18.5) {N47.55761; W121.82454} [18] the SVT crosses Tokul Creek on the Tokul Creek Trestle, a true masterpiece of wooden trestle building [19][20]. King County Parks and Trails needs to be congratulated for having the foresight to preserve this trestle and enabling the trail crossing at this point. The official web site for the SVT is at http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/regionaltrailssystem/svt.aspx. We wished the old trestle on the other side of the valley would also be preserved and reopened for Preston-Snoqualmie Falls trail users. At (19.1) an unmarked trail leaves to the right that allows trail users to ride through the woods to Snoqualmie Falls, a truly spectacular sightseeing spot and well worth the detour (or make it a destination of your trip). At (19.3) {N47.54938, W121.82855} [21] the SVT passes under Tokul Road in a large culvert. The stairs leading up to the road are on the far (east) side of the culvert. One can ride Tokul Road down to get to Snoqualmie Falls, but there is no shoulder to ride on. The elevation gain from Carnation to here is 440 ft. The trail becomes undeveloped beyond this point. Unfortunately, the SVT ends at a gate and fence of private property at (20) [22]. There is a 2-mile missing link between here and the 1910 bridge at Reinig Road. There are two 4-mile detours going around the obstruction on either side on paved roads. At the 1910 bridge, the SVT resumes for its eastern segment between the city of Snoqualmie and Cedar Falls/Rattlesnake Lake junction with the Iron Horse Trail. That segment was already mapped and described in an earlier TrailLink submission (dated 21 May 2012).
There are several mileage marker systems in use along the trail that may be confusing to the uninitiated [23]: (1) The blue plastic slats with both miles and kilometer markings every half mile, (2) the square black plastic posts with engraved numbers for miles, not always very visible and (3) a sporadic system of white numbers on green fields that seems to start at Highway 203 going in both directions (useless).
The trail surface is excellent packed gravel, some places are as smooth as asphalt. Easy to ride with a city bike. Uneven spots at the bridges have recently been leveled by adding more gravel [24].
This is basically an all-season trail but the best time of the year to do it is in the spring when the wild cherry trees are in bloom along the trail [25].
It would be nice to continue the trail from Duvall north to Monroe, but it is not known what the right-of-way situation is further north [26].

Just a note to correct some references to the railroad that passed through Cedar Falls, the Snoqualmie Tunnel, and Hyak. Some references omit the word "Chicago." The railroad was the "Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, often called "The Milwaukee Road." The latter name appeared on freight cars owned by the company.

I rode the Snoqualmie Trail this morning (4 hrs) from Duvall to the so-called Tokul Tunnel (a very large culvert) and back and had a very enjoyable ride with flickers, squirrels, and deer that just stood and watch me roll by. I have one question for the membership: the King County trail mile markers (very nice, every 1/2 mile) start in Duvall at "3.5 miles". The absolute north end of the trail is at Taylor's Landing about 1/4 mile north of the first trail mile marker. Where the heck are the other 3 miles? Does anyone know? Michael.

Went on a Sunday. Very few riders. Can do as much or little as like. Slight uphill grade after about 6 miles. Unpaved but easy riding on mountain bike. Would not recommend road bike.

(pictures and details at http://tandemriding.blogspot.com/2012/07/snoqualmie-valley-trail.html) We just took the trail Jul28 from the Duvall Police station to Rattlesnake Lake and back. Longer than we usually like to try in one day but the downhill trek back was fast making it worthwhile. We are on a tandem trike so some of the work-arounds mentioned by others we thought may not be appropriate if you are triking? One, the single lane track which continues under the culvert at Tokul road, I wouldn't take again. We took it on the way up, but carefully brought the trike back down the slope at the side of the culvert on the way back. Then I think it's better for a trike to cross at Meadowbrook Way, the bridge is single lane but the walking path across the bridge is wide enough for a trike allowing you to cross without having to get off the trike. You only miss a portion of the trail (taking a left on Park after crossing the bridge, continuing into the golf course where you meet the trail again).

Read this:
TrailLink Webmaster:
Please do not intersperse my photos among the existing ones. Post them together and in the correct sequence in which they are numbered!!!
Please remove this instruction before posting the trip report.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Southeast Segment
It is unfortunate that the Snoqualmie Valley Trail between Duvall and Cedar Falls is not contiguous, but a section is missing between Tokul Creek Road and the bridge at Reinig Road. It is also deplorable that it does not connect to the Preston-Snoqualmie trail along the old RR right-of-way past Snoqualmie Falls. The Rails to Trails website contains numerous photos taken on the southeast segment of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail between Reinig Road bridge and Cedar Falls. The TrailLink website displays them in a disordered, random sequence, and we do not have a mile-by-mile detailed account of this scenic section of trail. Here we describe a nice afternoon ride along that section of the trail and a bit beyond to where it connects with the Iron Horse Trail. Miles are in (parentheses), GPS coordinates latitude;longitude are in {braces} and numbers in [brackets] refer to the images posted herewith. The first section of the trail is level and in the plains surrounding North Bend, WA, and then it gains only 450 ft. elevation between I-90 and Cedar Falls. Trail surface is packed gravel and very easy to ride on, even with a street bike.
Starting at Reinig Road bridge, which Harvey Manning once referred to as 1910 bridge (after the black iron sign marking its year of construction), this is mile (0.0) {47.52979;-121.80661} [1]. At (0.79) {47.51904;-121.79904} is Meadowbrook Slough, a good place to observe water fowl (and, not far from here, at Mt. Si Golf Course, golfers. Beware of low flying golf balls!). In the winter, the surrounding meadows provide forage for a herd of 40+ elk which can sometimes (dawn or dusk) be seen from the Snoqualmie Valley trail (there are several elk tracks crossings) or from a new paved trail going through Meadowbrook Farm Park paralleling Boalch Ave. A welded steel arch "Water Echo" [2] is an art object created by students of a local school. At (2.14) {47.50222;-121.78648} the trail crosses the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River [3] on a steel pony truss bridge [4] for the first time. At (2.58) {47.49676;-121.78173} is a convenient access point at Ballarat Ave. in North Bend adjacent to a school with a large parking lot and a trail bulletin board/pavilion [5]. This point is not far away from Route 209 Metro bus stops on Bendigo. If there is a need to use a restroom, it may be possible to visit the nearby North Bend Library at 115 E. 4 th Street. At (4.82) {47.47587;-121.74702} the trail crosses North Bend Way [6] at the location of the former Tanner lumber saw mill, a trail access point with plenty of parking. The trail crosses under I-90 and at (5.30) {47.47019;-121.74186} comes to the second crossing of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River [7][8]. At (6.52) is a picnic table, but it is in the woods and not placed at any of the more scenic spots of this trail. One of the more scenic spots is where the trail crosses under the powerline, with views of the Zorro cut and Mailbox peak [9]. At (7.36) is a trestle over a gully bridging an unnamed creek, close to a sign marking Boxley Creek Natural Area [10] where trampled trails are branching of on both sides, waiting to be explored on foot. At (9.73) {47.43537;-121.76851} is the trailhead for the Rattlesnake Ledge trail, a very popular trail where one would have difficulty finding a parking spot on a weekend. If it was not for the popularity of this place on a weekend, this would be a convenient access point to both Rail-to-Trail conversion trails. The elevation gain to this point is 570 ft. Here one can interrupt the bike ride and enjoy a swim in Rattlesnake Lake or sit and rest on the lake shore and enjoy the scenery, looking up to Rattlesnake Ledge [11]. For the more energetic biker, a short excursion up the lower section of the Iron Horse Trail is a potential add-on extension of this afternoon outing. Here (9.8) {47.43309;-121.76619} is the connection between the end of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and the start of the Iron Horse Trail [12]. In the summer months at this Iron Horse State Park parking lot at Cedar Falls one can board a shuttle bus (http://www.busup90.com/) to hitch a ride up to Hyak and then ride through the 2.3-mile long Snoqualmie tunnel back down to Cedar Falls. (One can also ride the bus down from Hyak to Cedar Falls, but that is less fun.) Cedar Falls [13] was once a major support station for the Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad where additional locomotives were hitched to the trains to help them ascend the steep grade to Snoqualmie Pass. A trail sign [14] gives distances from Cedar Falls to other destinations along the Iron Horse Trail which would require a separate day trip. At (10.49) {47.43284;-121.75248} the Iron Horse trail crosses Boxley Creek [15]. At (12.65) the trail crosses Boetzke Creek [16] with a view of Boetzke Falls somewhat obstructed by trees and in the shade, a nice waterfall when it is flowing full throttle during the snowmelt. At (12.86) {47.44002;-121.70991} we ended our excursion at the location of a former railroad camp and quarry, RAGNAR [17], a convenient turnaround point for an afternoon outing. The elevation gain to this point was 830 ft. On the return trip, time permitting, one should visit the City of Seattle Public Utilities Watershed Education Center [18], fill up all water bottles with the best water in the world, learn about the importance of protecting the water shed and creatures living therein, and listen to the rythmic polyphony of water droplets hitting the drums in the water garden [19].

Bridge construction at the Tolt River Bridge is complete, save a few cleanup jobs and re-greening of the banks, and the SV trail has re-opened. The photos submitted here show the construction work as it was nearing its completion in October 2011. Several vital utilities including a sewer line are crossing on this bridge.
See
http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/regionaltrailssystem/svt.aspx
Quoting from:
http://kingcountyparks.wordpress.com/alerts/
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November 23, 2011
Snoqualmie Valley Trail: Tolt bridge improvement project nearly done – trail is open to the public
The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is now re-open to the public, as the Tolt Bridge approach improvement project is being completed on time and on budget. Remaining tasks include landscaping and site restoration and finishing up the guard rails, but these activities can be completed with the bridge in use by the public. The bridge improvements were necessary for safety reasons and now allow for unrestricted access by pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, and emergency and utility vehicles.
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http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/dnrp/newsroom/newsreleases/2011/february/0207SVT-closure.aspx

Feb. 7, 2011
Safety upgrades to Snoqualmie Valley Trail require long-term closure in Carnation
Tolt River bridge approaches to be replaced; Nine-month closure starts Feb. 21
Replacing the aging approaches to the Tolt River Bridge on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail will improve public safety by increasing the currently restricted pedestrian capacity on the bridge, and by allowing access to this stretch of trail by utility and emergency vehicles.
But the significant work involved to make these upgrades – including building a new, nearly 200-foot-long approach bridge from the south and a new 32-foot-long approach bridge from the north – requires an extended closure of the trail through the south portion of Carnation and the Remlinger Farm area.
Beginning Feb. 21 and running through mid-November, all public access will be closed along a half-mile-long section of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail between Loutsis Park at Entwistle Street and Northeast 32nd Street, also called Northeast Tolt Hill Road.
Trail users are advised to use alternate routes.
King County crews will have to do extensive groundwork leading up to the construction of the two approach bridges on either side of the Tolt River, including excavation and installation of rock armor around in-water piers, and replacing dilapidated timber approaches to the bridge over the Tolt River.
The new 198-foot-long approach bridge at the south side over the floodplain will consist of a concrete driven shaft foundation system with concrete bulb-tee girders. The new 32-foot-long north approach bridge replacement will consist of a new steel-framed pier at the bank with a precast concrete deck.
The historic steel box girder spans and piers over the Tolt River itself will remain.
The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is King County’s longest trail, running alongside the Snoqualmie River for more than 31 miles. The trail goes from Duvall southeast to Rattlesnake Lake and Seattle’s Cedar River Watershed above North Bend.
More information about this project is available by calling Chris Erickson, King County Parks project manager, 206-263-0445.
----------
Comment: But it is relatively easy to detour around the construction zone via Blanche St., Hwy. 203, NE 32nd, Tolt-Bunker Rd.

TRAILBEAR’S TRESTLE TOUR: The Tokul Creek Trestle and three more

7.14.10 - Snoqualmie Valley Trail

As soon as he learned of a big timber trestle on Tokul Creek, the TrailBear knew he would be up there, camera in hand. Big wood trestles are rare; they tend to burn down and often did. However, the cost was cheap and they went up quick. On the Milwaukee Road they were designed to allow the Road to come back later and build a fireproof steel trestle inside the wooden one. Meanwhile, the Road was open and they were running trains.
You can start the ride in Carnation at …


CARNATION TRAILHEAD – NICK LOUTSIS PARK, GE: N47.64768 W121.90766

Here is a small trailhead: parking, portapotty, tables, info kiok. The only water tap was turned off. The turn from the main drag is Entwhistle St. and the city has signs there pointing to the trail. Wish other towns would be so nice. Head south down the trail for a half mile to the first feature, the …


TOLT RIVER BRIDGE, GE: N47.64119 W121.9072

There is a neat wayside just before the bridge. Three info signs explain about the salmon and why the Tolt is such a nice place for salmon. Notice the fish tiles on the bench platform. Some public trail art. The bridge is closed to all motorized vehicles until they can rebuilt it. Something about a fire.

Cross the river and ride on. Now you are on a long embankment. Remliger Farms are to the left and someone has a scaled down rail road system to play down there. Ride 1.7 miles to the


GRIFFIN CREEK TRESTLE, GE: N47.61582 W121.90426

This is a nice long trestle located by the Griffin Creek Natural Area. The GCNA has a large gravel parking lot and portapotty on 11th St. NE, just a few hundred feet from the trail crossing. There is also room for a few cars at the crossing. Head south on the trail for 600’ to the trestle.

The advantage of this trestle is that you can drive to the bottom for photos. So many are in brushy ravines and getting down involves bushwhacking. NE 8th St. on the far side runs under the trestle. Drive on in and take a look.

That done, keep pedaling south. The next trestle is 1.8 miles along – as the crow flies. As the trail twists, it is over two miles out. Once you leave Griffin Creek you enter the woods.

The woods are "lovely, dark and deep", which is nice on a hot July day. All you see is a green tunnel behind and before you. While you may thing you are in the Amazon, there are homes and farms on both sides – up on the plateau and down on the river bottomlands. If you head downhill, you normally cut a road or field within 600’.

Of course, just when you wonder if there is another human within miles (yes, several), you reach the cougar and bear warning sign. There actually is an elk herd further up river – which is cougar sushi. Make a noise and announce your coming. TrailBear thinks: Do not be here at twilight. It’s the dinner hour. But not to worry, you’ve reached the …


NAMELESS TRESTLE, GE: N47.58966 W121.89991

Here is a line of timber piling bents crossing a ravine without a name. Notice that there have been repairs to a number of the bents. You see new cap timbers, new flashing and some of the pilings look rather new. Those plastic “tin cap” nails used to secure the tar paper to the piling tops are not original.

From here it’s two miles along to homes within view of the trail and …


THE STEEL TRESTLE, GE: N47.56952 W121.86932

Here is a change of pace. No timber. I-beams and spindly steel tubes instead. While it’s fireproof, it seems to lack the “presence” of a good timber trestle. The steel trestle marks the end of the miles of woods. Civilization is only 0.2 miles ahead, where the trail crosses 356th Drive SE (N47.56772 W121.86540). There is a large trail access parking lot here. (No other facilities.) Now that you’ve seen civilization, ride on into more woods – but watch the traffic on 356th. They move. Another 2.34 miles puts you on …


THE TOKUL TRESTLE, GE: N47.55724 W121.82446

The Tokul is well worth the ride. Here is a dramatic long curved trestle on a hairpin bend over a deep ravine. The creek seems a long way down. Notice that this trestle is built out of squared timbers instead of the far more common round pilings.

Timber trestles this large are increasingly rare in the West. TB knows of one magnificent one on the Banks Vernonia Trail at Buxton. Another is in downtown Belleuve – the Willburton Trestle. Still in use after a hundred years. Anyone have more? Let us know. From here another 0.77 miles takes you to the end of the northern section of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail at the …


TOKUL TUNNEL & TRAIL END, GE: N47.54885 W121.82816

Here is a very large culvert underpass below Tokul Rd. The trail ends at the far side, where steps lead up to the road. The wide gravel track turns to singletrack dirt. The mountain bikers can explore onward. The Right of Way runs below a large gravel pit, around an industrial complex and across the swamps to the river.

A car on the road would have trouble spotting this tunnel and there are no signs up there. The only clue is a small gravel parking lot just short of SE 60th.


@@@ A QUICK WAY TO TOKUL TRESTLE

Just want to see the Tokul Trestle and skip the woods? Start at the tunnel.

From SR 202 down at the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls, you head up Tokul Rd. The first left, in about 0.6 miles is SE 60th St. Turn around here; you have gone too far. That grotty parking lot on the right side of the road about 400’ back was the one you wanted. Park, walk back up to SE 60th on the right side of the road and you will stumble over the steps down to the trail. Through the tunnel and off to the trestle.


ACCESS POINTS AND TRAILHEADS ON THE TRESTLE TOUR …

CARNATION TRAILHEAD – Nick Loutsis Park at N47.64768 W121.90766
GRIFFIN NATURAL AREA – parking and porta potty at N47.61838 W121.90431
356th DRIVE ACCESS – parking at N47.56772 W121.86540
TOKUL TUNNEL ACCESS – parking at N47.54885 W121.82816


NOTES ON THE TRIP

Distance is approximately 12 miles one way from Carnation to the trail end.

Trail surface rates a C. While listed on the county map as soft surfaces, it is hard pack. So hard that horses have not been able to chop up the surface. It is smooth in places but there are a lot more places where the surface has a mixture of 1-3” river rock amid the smaller gravel and it feels like cobble stone.. The bike was set to full suspension.

The scenery ranges from C to A. The trestles are A, but one mile of woods look like another mile of woods: C.

Facilities are limited. There is parking. There are two outhouses. There is no water at any of the trailheads or access points. Bring lots of your own. Portapotties are at Carnation and Griffin Creek.


Ride on!

TrailBear
The trestles are out there somewhere.




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