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Abandoned Road And Railroad Tunnels In Pacific Nw?


Sparrowhawk
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After feeling inspired by the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike thread in the NE forum, I gotta ask: does the Pacific NW feature any old, abandoned classic old roads, road tunnels, railroad tunnels, etc. that anyone knows about?

 

How about abandoned railroad routes from loooong past? Any caches thereof?

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The Iron Horse trail sort of parallels I-90 as it winds through the Cascades. I'm not sure how long the trail system is, but it stretches for several miles. It's a nicely maintained trail, usable by bicyclists and hikers alike. Plus, you get to go through a 2.3 mile-long tunnel. I think that much of it is closed during the winter months because of avalanche, but perhaps skiers and snowshoers use part of it?

 

There are quite a few caches along that trail, including these:

 

Iron Horse (which gets you to the Snoqualmie tunnel entrance)

 

Mission 9: Tunnel of Light

 

Avalanche Shed

 

Iron Horse - Hansen Creek (near the trestle bridge)

 

I think there are some other caches on or near Iron Horse as it passes through the Cle Elum area.

 

Cin

Edited by CachinCin
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I don't know of any tunnels other than the ones mentioned here. But I do know of an engine that is still where it was left40 years ago.

 

There was an old logging r.r. bridge built in 1939 and in 1961 they made a movie "Ring of Fire" and rolled an old steam locamotive and two passenger cars over the bridge and blew it up.

 

They two passenger cars were cut in half and remain on the edge of the Wynoochee River in a gorge. The 61 ton steam engine remains under water in the middle of the river upside down and can be seen in low water in the summer.

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There is an old mining railroad complete with tunnels that runs above Granite falls, up to Monte Cristo. There were a couple of caches along it in Robe Valley. Well worth the trip!

I forgot about those tunnels -- haven't been there yet, but it's on my to-do list for next summer.

 

The ghost town of Monte Cristo is pretty interesting, and you can explore the old ruins of mining buildings and mining-car-to-train equipment. One of the oldest geocaches (GCBC, from November 2000) is there. It was originally placed by Jeremy and Samsy, but last summer the Peanut Butter Brigade cleaned it out and adopted the cache.

 

Monte Cristo

 

There is another cache nearby, plus several on the trails surrounding Monte Cristo.

 

Cin

Edited by CachinCin
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They two passenger cars were cut in half and remain on the edge of the Wynoochee River in a gorge. The 61 ton steam engine remains under water in the middle of the river upside down and can be seen in low water in the summer.

Cool! Are there any nearby caches?

 

Cin

Not yet, but I hope to do a series of them in this area.There is a campground close by and there should be many places in the national forest to place caches. Keep watching for these in the spring and summer.

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Between Hood River and The Dalles is the old highway 30 I believe. Part of the old highway is a bike trial. Just above Mosier are the "Mosier Tunnels". Not very big but an interesting hike just the same.

 

Across the river from Umatilla just east of the bridge and before the dam is an abandoned train tunnel that you could drive through if you can get to it. The tunnel was abandoned when the dam was built because the tracks had to be placed above the dam. :huh:

Edited by Got Cache?
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Here in southwestern oregon I only know of sections on private land and the rails to trails series of abandoned raillines. I'd love to explore some of those old tunnels.

 

We have an abandoned train trestle close to my house which is nearly compeltly on the ground now. But again it's private land. Locals don't get hassled walking around it but cachers would probably take the wrong route in so no cache there.

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This cache is down an old railbed near Lewiston, ID. To get to the cache you have to go through 3 tunnels and over 2 large trestles.

 

There is also the Hiawatha Trail in northern Idaho. It is an old railbed converted to a bike trail. It has several tunnels including one that is over a mile long. There is a nice shuttle service if you only want to ride one direction. I believe this is the only cache along the route.

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I think that much of [the Iron Horse Tunnel] is closed during the winter months because of avalanche, but perhaps skiers and snowshoers use part of it?

 

If I remember correctly, the tunnel is closed during the winter so folks won't get impaled by six foot long falling icicles.

 

Otherwise, it's a cool hike.

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I forgot about the legendary icicles in the tunnel -- reminds me of northern cities I've been in, where they close parts of the sidewalks in the spring because of falling icicles and thawing ice sliding off the roof.

 

Above, though, I was actually referring to the trail itself. I read (in one of the hiking guides that I checked out of the library) that parts of the Iron Horse trail get closed because of high avalanche danger. I'm not sure if that's a consistent thing, or they just post warning/closed signs when avalanche danger is high.

 

Cin

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:) Hmm -- I can think of four old railroad trails and forgotton Highway tunnels.

 

1) The Coal Miners Trail is a cool little path in time. We placed Sarah's Happy Hollow There a couple years ago.

 

2) As mentioned above, the Iron Horse / John Wayne Trail, has also become a popular cache destination. I know of about 8 caches placed on it.

 

3) The Cowitche Canyon Trail in Yakima. It use to run from Yakima all the way to the town of Tieton, WA. Now it's just a great place to hike. Plus it has got some really inventive caches located in it, like We Three Sages, and Ghost Rails #4.

 

4) Finally, the old Yakima Canyon Highway Tunnel near Selah WA. ElkMilk hid a cache there and it prooved to be quite an interresting hunt.

Edited by The_Brownies
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Ok, so Vernonia Tracks is not an abandoned railroad tunnel, but it's local and sounds both cool and scary at the same time. It is on our list for this spring, though at my weight (280#) I would prefer to bushwack down and back up the ravine to find the cache.

 

On a different, yet somewhat related note, if you're into old mining stuff, on the way to The Opal Creek Cache you will encounter several old mine entrances, mining equipment, deteriorating half-bridges, and old cars, all of which are very interesting to those into NW history, not mention the gorgeous crystal-clear river and waterfalls along the way. Do your research ahead of time, and you won't be disappointed.

 

A hybrid or mountain bike makes the journey quicker. Leave your bike at the store in Jawbone Flats for the final leg to the cache. They'll keep an eye on it for you. If you're extra motivated, continue on to The Cedar Flats Bonus Cache. See the cache photo galleries for our photos and those by others.

--laurak

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Ok, so Vernonia Tracks is not an abandoned railroad tunnel, but it's local and sounds both cool and scary at the same time. It is on our list for this spring, though at my weight (280#) I would prefer to bushwack down and back up the ravine to find the cache.

 

On a different, yet somewhat related note, if you're into old mining stuff, on the way to The Opal Creek Cache you will encounter several old mine entrances, mining equipment, deteriorating half-bridges, and old cars, all of which are very interesting to those into NW history, not mention the gorgeous crystal-clear river and waterfalls along the way. Do your research ahead of time, and you won't be disappointed.

 

A hybrid or mountain bike makes the journey quicker. Leave your bike at the store in Jawbone Flats for the final leg to the cache. They'll keep an eye on it for you. If you're extra motivated, continue on to The Cedar Flats Bonus Cache. See the cache photo galleries for our photos and those by others.

--laurak

Oh yes Vernonia...forgot about that town. I lived in Jewel for a few months doing wild coho survey work for the ODFW back in 1995/6. Rock Creek was one of our surveys. I'll have to come dwon and do the cache when I'm in the area.

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There is a "Scenic Byways" trail along Stevens Pass also which covers some of the OLD Stevens pass highway. I have not yet explored it, but would like to try it come spring. There is also an old railroad grade and tunnel going under Stevens Pass but it has not yet been coverted to a trail system like the old Snoqualmie pass tunnel.

Edited by Right Wing Wacko
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There is or was a mining shaft in eastern Washington. I saw it in the mid 1980s. It went way into the hill a mile or so as I was told at the time. It was an old silver mine and I was hired to work there as a chemist on a heap leach operation which turned out to be an investment scam. The "company" left a pool of cyanide water in a plastic lined trench which the county supposedly cleaned up in the 90s. The mine shaft may still be there or it may have been closed up. It is located about 10 miles east of Tonasket in an area called Horse Coulee Springs. You can drive to it in a car if there is not too much snow. It may be helpful to look for the old power lines or poles which went to it. I would not advise drinking water from the ditch next to the big pile of ore and tailings. Email me if you have questions.

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There is or was a mining shaft in eastern Washington. I saw it in the mid 1980s. It went way into the hill a mile or so as I was told at the time. It was an old silver mine and I was hired to work there as a chemist on a heap leach operation which turned out to be an investment scam. The "company" left a pool of cyanide water in a plastic lined trench which the county supposedly cleaned up in the 90s. The mine shaft may still be there or it may have been closed up. It is located about 10 miles east of Tonasket in an area called Horse Coulee Springs. You can drive to it in a car if there is not too much snow. It may be helpful to look for the old power lines or poles which went to it. I would not advise drinking water from the ditch next to the big pile of ore and tailings. Email me if you have questions.

I've heard of it. Done some deer hunting around there.

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Thanks, you guys! :D This all is very cool information! :D

 

For the record, I have a musician friend who is always seeking echo-y places to record his unique music. Tunnels, stairwells, whatever works. Maybe some of these tunnel locations can work for him. Be interesting to find out!! Gonna be road-trip time! :rolleyes:

 

I don't suppose any cachers know of any good echo-locations for my friend within easy driving distance from Portland? :rolleyes:

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Ok, so Vernonia Tracks is not an abandoned railroad tunnel, but it's local and sounds both cool and scary at the same time. It is on our list for this spring, though at my weight (280#) I would prefer to bushwack down and back up the ravine to find the cache.

 

...

 

--laurak

Is not so bad... While I have not found the cache yet, I did grow up out there are have been on that catwalk while a train passed by overhead. Now THAT was scary. Remember the warning on the cache page, the tracks at the final location are active. Mostly, I believe, because caches are actually banned on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail that is now what the old logging tracks have become. Really too bad to, I had a cool, but VERY short lived cache at the horseshoe trestle. Spent many a summer afternoon up there in my youth.

 

On a side note. We were in the process of working with the ranger to adopt a section of the B-V State Trail. In exchange for performing trail work on it we would be allowed to hide a couple caches there. We were looking at the mile 7-8 stretch, which is where the horseshoe trestle and Tophill Trailhead are. I hope to follow up on this again soon and see if I can make it happen :rolleyes:.

Edited by bazzle
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Thanks, you guys!  :D  This all is very cool information!  :P

 

For the record, I have a musician friend who is always seeking echo-y places to record his unique music.  Tunnels, stairwells, whatever works.  Maybe some of these tunnel locations can work for him.  Be interesting to find out!!  Gonna be road-trip time!  :lol:

 

I don't suppose any cachers know of any good echo-locations for my friend within easy driving distance from Portland?  :rolleyes:

Depends on whay you call easy, Canyon D'Chelli in Arizona is a very cool "echoy" spot...

Edited by bazzle
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Pictures of the Mitchell Point Tunnel along the Old Columbia River Highway have always fascinated me. Sadly it was destroyed in 1966 when the I-84 freeway was built. Designed by Samuel Lancaster, it was part of his romantic and deeply spiritual attitude toward the environment and mankind's relationship to nature.

 

mitch.jpg

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There is an old rail line that runs from Senca, Oregon through Burns, Juntura and then to Vale. Right at 190 miles from one end to the next. I am not sure how many tunnels are on it but I know of three anyway. Also there is an old rail line that runs from Biggs to Shaniko but it is mostly on Private ground and off limits.

 

And out of Bend, Burns, Bly, Lakeview are miles and miles of old logging rail lines. One of the most interesting old lines would be the one from Salem to the top of the Santiam pass at Hogg Rock to Big Summit Lake. The old grade also was staked clear over to Sisters but work was only done to the top of the pass.

 

I know where there is a lot of old logging plank roads out of Eugene but they are mostly just post and pilings left.

 

logscaler

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Check out:

 

Iron Goat Trail

 

and

 

Historylink

 

concerning the Iron Goat trail, which follows a portion of the original line across Steven's Pass. I have not hiked it yet but it is on my to do list for this spring.

 

The Mountaineers have published a guidebook called The Iron Goat Trail. Apparently there are some interesting day hikes, including one to the west portal of the first Cascade Tunnel.

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There is an excellent cache located at a very old, abandoned railroad trestle here:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...&log=y&decrypt=

 

Fun cache, and challenging.

 

While finding this cache I really noticed how railbeds have to be placed on a level, very gradual incline. Even moreso then than now. At times we would lose the correct path due to overgrowth, and had to really study the terrain to figure out where the engineers of the day would have placed the railbed.

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