Ghost Story | Iron Goat Trail, Stevens Pass, Washington
A hiker uncovers a haunted tunnel along Iron Goat Trail in May 2018. Get the scoop after the jump.
Tim* had been an active hiker for decades until he tore his ACL a year ago. Now healed, he headed out to Iron Goat Trail, which winds along the central Cascades, to get back to nature. The trail has a gentle rise and paths that range from a few miles up to nearly 8 miles long. For Tim, it would be perfect to test out his knee.
He decided to take the upper trail, which has a few steep points, and has overlooks of the mountains, river valleys and a few other historic landmarks. Namely, tunnels for the Great Northern Railway and the remains of Wellington, a ghost town.
He was a few miles along the trail when he approached a tunnel. You could walk 40 feet inside before a barricade and signs warned you to stop. He was a bit winded and his knee felt stiff, so this was a good spot to rest for a few minutes.
But, Tim was a curious fellow and he went over the barricade to the edge of a collapsed section. He could see the rubble piled up to the ceiling and it smelled like a rotting trees. Drips of water fell from the darkness and splashed on his head. It felt cool. He wiped the water off his forehead and adjusted his glasses.
As he reached for his cell phone to take a picture, he felt the ground drop a few inches and rumble. Could it be an earthquake?
Tim turned toward the opening. At forty feet or so, it would only take him a few seconds to get out, even with a stiff knee. He took a few steps, when he fell to the ground, cracking his injured knee on the tunnel floor. Tim rolled over to his side, wincing and grabbing his knee. He tried to stand, but had to roll over toward the tunnel wall to prop himself up.
As he stood, holding his knee, the rumbling sound got louder and louder and louder. He put his fingers into his ears to help soften it. Tim slid down the wall with his head between his knees. His knee seemed to creak like a rusty door hinge. The sound had stopped, but he could no longer breathe. Something felt like it smothered him and he began to freeze.
He mustered what he could take in for air and shouted for help. Luckily, a young lady heard him. She and a friend had stopped outside the tunnel to catch a breather, too. They rushed inside and found him curled up against the wall and only 10 feet from the barricade.
Tim didn’t try to explain what happened. He just said he was foolish to go inside. His 50-something body and injury caught up to him and he’d over-exerted himself. The young women helped him back to his Jeep and Tim has never gone back to Iron Goat Trail.
During February of 1910, blizzards covered Wellington, Washington with a heavy, wet snow. It piled up on the mountain slopes and became unstable. At 1 a.m. on March 1st, an avalanche raced down the mountains and crashed into the rail depot in town. The impact destroyed it and hurtled two rail cars down a ravine, smashing them and then smothering those trapped inside. Nearly 100 people died in the tragedy. The last victims were removed in July of that year.
Today, the park has closed most of the tunnels. Their ceilings have collapsed in many places and it’s no longer safe for hikers to go through them. You can still hike along the snow sheds, but don’t try to climb them. They, too, are near collapse.
Iron Goat Trail is part of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in the Central Cascades region. Take Hwy 2 from Seattle toward Skykomish to get there.
*Name changed to protect the hiker’s identity
4 thoughts on “Ghost Story | Iron Goat Trail, Stevens Pass, Washington”
I just came back from a hike 10.18.2020 with a couple friends to explore the east spur of the Iron Goat Trail from the Interpretive trailhead up the switchbacks to the Old Cascade Tunnel. My original intention was to record some vocals in one of the tunnels and on a whim, I did a couple in the concrete snow shed. Normally I just see shadows in haunted places and maybe feel a presence. I was beyond not prepared for what happened here. For those who’ve watched ghost hunter shows where they try to talk to the resident spirits and try to hear responses through their audio recorders, usually through static? That’s exactly what I got. Static periodically cropping up as I sang. This device is new and has no reception capabilities aside from the built-in microphone (or external mic if I plugged one in). The first time it happened, I turned to report to my friends only to find them missing (they’d ducked to the side to stay quiet and rock hunt) and realized I’d stopped next to a graffiti painting of a ghostly figure in black paint staring back at me. The intermittent static came through on a couple other recordings and one of my friends caught an interesting pic of me at the mouth of the Old Cascade tunnel while I was doing recordings there. The pics of me walking up were clear, but ones where I had started singing, had this pale haze to my right covering the top outer right corner of the tunnel and a human-shaped haze in bright blue standing in front of me. I have not found the nerve to listen to the recordings I did yet. I opted not to monitor the Cascade tunnel recording as I was still kind of shaken from what I’d heard in the snow shed.
That night, I dealt with an unexplained sense of sky-high anxiety and fear that lacked the accompanying train of thoughts that often come with both feelings. My normal resting heart rate is about low 70s but my Fitbit informed me it hit ranges of 91BPM that night. Yesterday, I did some crystal work to ground and cleanse. I wound up falling asleep with my stones after intending to just do a second short meditation with them before sleeping. Used smoky quartz, selenite, and black obsidian. It was funny. I found an article where the author said she avoided using black obsidian cause it’s too heavy duty of a grounding stone, but my 5-ish pound chunk and my other stones is what it took to dissolve most of the anxiety and fear I’d picked up. I’m writing this at day 2, the 20th. There’re still lingering sensations, so it’ll take a little more work. One of my friends had to ground as well.
If you are an empath, take precautions. Use any shielding, warding, and neutralizing tools you have while you’re on any stretch of the trail. It was interesting what Willie said about the presence of demons. The friend who was also affected, said she sensed that black magick had been used in the snow shed more than once. We don’t know what for though.
Would I go again? Yes, but never would go alone, and not for a while longer. There are a lot of physical hazards here with the old tunnels and depending on the day, if something happened, it might be a while before another hiker came through to help you.
I am the one that wrote this.this comment it is nothing compared to what i had went threw on this trail.i have the gift of seeing spirits.do not go alone.
I hiked the Iron Goat Trail two years ago alone. I did not know the place was haunted. I do now. I cannot tell the whole story of what happened to me. It would take too long. But I spent a half-hour looking for a little girl crying. I could not find her. She was crying very loud and I yelled “Get off of her!” to scare someone even though I could not see anyone. The long story is nothing short of hell. I was never afraid of ghosts. I am now. I will never go there agin. I found out the little girl was a common ghost heard up there. I still get nervous when I talk about it. There are demons up there too. Never again.
Note: Jake edited this comment to remove some personal information.
Let’s treat this story as an urban legend. The avalanche didn’t cover the train tunnels, so I’m not so sure you’d have that kind of experience, even as a residual haunting. You might have this experience in the ruins of Wellington, if anything remains behind.
Anyway, I’m totally psyched to go on the trail and check it out!
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