Iron Horse State Park is a 1,612-acre park that was once part of the path of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad. More than 100 miles of trail extends from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River. High trestles provide spectacular views of the valley below.Want to support Washington State Parks? Get involved by joining a friends' group. For more information, visit the Friends' Group web page.
Summer: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Winter: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The park is open year round for day use.
A Sno-Park permit is required from Nov. 15 through April 30.
Winter Schedule for all Washington State Parks
Public safety notifications for Tunnels 46 and 47 (near Thorp) if you enter these tunnels you do so at your own risk. Prior to entering the tunnels visitors are required to fill out a waiver form and place it in the drop box located at the entrance of each tunnel. For further information please call Lake Easton State Park at (509) 656-2230.
Don't move firewood: Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by obtaining or purchasing your firewood at or near your camping destination (within 50 miles). Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by buying and burning your firewood locally. For more information, visit online at www.dontmovefirewood.org or the Washington Invasive Species Council website.
The Discover Pass now can be used on either of two vehicles!Annual pass: $30
One-day pass: $10
(Transaction and dealer fees may apply)
A Discover Pass is required for motor-vehicle access to state parks and recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Exemptions:
Your purchase of the Discover Pass supports recreation on state lands. However, the Discover Pass is not required if you are camping or renting overnight accommodations, for the duration of your stay at that state park. For additional exemptions and more information, please visit the Discover Pass website
There are four campgrounds along the trail, each with three to four campsites, one picnic table and a vault toilet. They are located at milepost 2109.5 at Roaring Creek, milepost 2113.2 at Cold Creek, milepost 2123.2 at Carter Creek and milepost 2127.1 at Alice Creek.
Camping is also available near the trail at U.S. Forest Service campgrounds at Tinkham, Denny Creek, Lake Kachess and Crystal Springs. There is state park camping at Lake Easton and Wanapum.
2013 camping fees:
Please note that the following general fee information is not customized for each individual park, so not all fees will apply to all parks (for example, primitive campsite and dump station fees listed apply only to parks that have primitive campsites and dump stations).
May 15 – Sept. 15 (peak season)
Primitive campsite and water trail camping: $12
Standard campsite: $23 non-premium site, $26 premium site
Partial-utility campsite*: $30 non-premium site, $35 premium site
Full-utility campsite*: $32 non-premium site, $37 premium site
*Please note: Camping fees during the 2013 peak season are $28 for partial-utility sites and $29 for full-utility sites at Beacon Rock, Lewis & Clark and Schafer state parks. These parks are first come, first served.
Jan. 1 – May 14 and Sept. 16 – Dec. 31 (off-peak season)
Primitive campsite and water trail camping: $12
Standard campsite: $22 for non-premium and premium sites
Partial-utility campsite: $28 for non-premium and premium sites
Full-utility campsite: $29 for non-premium and premium sites
2014 camping fees:
For specific campsite prices, please visit the camping reservation website.
|Primitive and water trail campsites||$12||$12||$12|
|Standard campsites||$20 to $31||$20 to $29||$17 to $25|
|Partial-utility campsites||$30 to $39||$27 to $38||$26 to $32|
|Full-utility campsites||$32 to $42||$29 to $40||$27 to $35|
Note: Peak, shoulder and winter season dates vary by park. See listing of seasons by park.
Maximum eight people per campsite.
Second vehicle: $10 per night is charged for a second vehicle unless it is towed by a recreational vehicle. Extra vehicles must be parked in designated campsite or extra vehicle parking spaces.
Dump stations (if available): Year-round dump station fees are $5 per use. If you are camping, this fee is included in your campsite fee.More about park hours
Check-in time is 2:30 p.m., and check-out time is 1 p.m.
Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Engine-driven electric generators may be operated only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Length of stay: You may stay up to ten consecutive days in any one park from April 1 through Sept. 30; the stay limit is extended to 20 days between Oct. 1 and March 31.
Located from Rattlesnake Lake to the Yakima River Valley in King and Kittitas Counties.
From Cedar Falls:
Leave I-90 at exit #32. Drive south on Cedar Falls Road 3.5 miles.
From Twin Falls:
Leave I-90 at exit #38, eastbond traffic turn right off exit, cross river and turn right into parking lot marked “Twin Falls natural area.”
Turn left at exit, drive approx. two miles and park in the second lot on left marked "Twin Falls Natural Area."
From McClellan Butte:
Leave I-90 on exit #42, USFS Trailhead, turn south at exit. Follow signs.
From Annette Lake:
Leave I-90 on exit #47, USFS trailhead, turn south at exit and follow signs.
Leave I-90 at exit #54, turn south at exit, turn east (left) on Hwy-906, 1/2 mile turn right on Lake Keechelus boat launch road, turn right on next road approx. 200 ft. In winter, you will need a Sno-Park permit to park in this lot.
Leave I-90 at exit #71, turn south to stop sign, cross Railroad Street, railroad tracks, turn left. Drive 1.4 mile to the parking area.
From South Cle Elum:
Leave I-90 at exit #84, follow signs to South Cle Elum. Once in town, follow signs to parking area.
Leave I-90 at exit #101, turn north on Thorp Hwy, 1/2 mile turn left on Thorp Depot Road and 1/4 mile to parking area.
Iron Horse downloadable pdf map #1
Iron Horse downloadable pdf map #2
List of all downloadable Washington State Park maps
The park offers more than 100 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trail along the route of a historic railroad. Winter sport opportunities are available.
Permits are needed for any groups larger than 20 persons. Fees for special activities permits vary depending on the size of the group. For more information, call (509) 656-2230
Originally, the trail right-of-way was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. The railroad operated between 1908 and 1980, when the company went into bankruptcy. The state's Department of Natural Resources acquired much of the property and turned it over to State Parks, which continues to acquire land and make improvements to the area.
Kiosks and panels are installed at Hyak, Easton, South Cle Elum, Thorp and Kittitas with a map of the trail and interpretive information.
| ||Available in the area|
| ||• Camping|
Most services are within a few miles, either side of the length of the trail.
|• 110 mi. Hiking Trails|
• 110 mi. Bike Trails
• 110 mi. Horse Trails
|• Fishing (freshwater)||• Bird Watching|
• Interpretive Activities
• Mountain Biking
• Rock Climbing
• Wildlife Viewing
The 100-mile-long John Wayne Pioneer Trail meanders through a variety of ecosystems and geological zones. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail with the exception of snowmobiles in winter, which are allowed from Stampede Pass Rd. to Cabin Creek. Horse-drawn wagon users must obtain a key to the gates of Lake Easton State Park.
A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
Free days at state parks
: Visit Washington state parks for free. The Discover Pass is not required to visit a state park on designated free days.
2014 State Parks free days:
Jan. 19 and 20 – In honor of Martin Luther King Day
March 19 – In honor of Washington State Parks' 101st birthday
April 19 – A spring Saturday free day
April 22 – Earth Day
May 11 – A spring Saturday free day
June 7 and 8 – In honor of National Trails Day and WDFW Free Fishing Weekend
June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day
Aug. 25 – In honor of National Park Service’s birthday
Sept. 27 –National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11 – Veteran's Day weekend
Please note: A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during State Parks free days. For more information, please visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov
Full list of events
at Washington State Parks
• Cross-country Skiing
• Dog Sledding
|Mammals||Birds||Fish & Sea Life|
• Deer or Elk
|• Crows or Ravens|
• Doves or Pigeons
|Physical Features|| ||Plant Life||Special|
|In the Cascade Mountains, the trail cuts through basalt outcroppings, exposing large cliffs that tower above the trail. West of Thorp, the trail cuts through a sandstone deposit.|| ||• Cedar|
• Nobel Fir
• Ponderosa Pine
• Moss or Lichens
|Remnants of the old railroad are still present: trestles, tunnels, bridges, signal foundations, ties, spikes, etc.|
Park photo gallery
We'll be adding photos to this page soon.