SCENIC — Near Stevens Pass, along a gravel hiking trail that follows an old railroad grade, people can visit what once was Wellington, the site of the deadliest avalanche in American history.
The Iron Goat Trail provides summer hikers a safe way to explore the area where 96 people lost their lives on March 1, 1910.
Steep hillsides and avalanche gullies make the trail dangerous during the winter, officials said.
“It’s a spring, summer and fall hiking trail,” said Tom Davis, a trail specialist with the U.S. Forest Service. “We do not recommend it for winter use.”
While Wellington was long ago abandoned, and in 1929 the railroad diverted the mainline through a new tunnel, there are still remnants of the past, explained by interpretive signs.
The remains of concrete avalanche sheds, built after the 1910 tragedy, still stand along the trail.
Springtime visitors can see snow and avalanche debris from the previous winter piled up on the sheds, Davis said.
Switchbacks climb a hill near the area known as Dead Men’s Slide, where bodies of those killed in the 1910 tragedy were lowered down the hillside.
The portal to the old train tunnel can be seen, but the tunnel itself is impassible, Davis said.
Floods collapsed the tunnel during the winter of 2006-07, he said.
Snow likely will remain on the trail until June.
It’s best to check trail conditions before making the trip.
Trail information is available at the Iron Goat Trail Web site: www.irongoat.org.