Who's done the Iron Horse Trail?


I want to ride the Iron Horse all the way to Ellensberg this spring or summer, but i know nothing of the trail and its condition.

I am mostly interested as to whether i can do it on a touring bike and do i need to be aware of rough surfaces and other pitfalls.

If anyone has input or suggestions, I would appreciate them. 


I did it over 10 yrs ago and unless they have paved it (don't think so) I wouldn't consider it on a road bike.  A 26"x2" tire lets you glide over the gravel sections while thinking "Sure glad I didn't try this with my road bike".   Even the firmer surfaces are pebbly and unsuitable for hp road tires imho.  You could no doubt do it with a 700c x 35, but I can't recommend it. 

BTW, they are not kidding when they say to use a light in the tunnel and have a back up.  You cannot see a hand in front of your face.  The tunnel is over 2 miles long, cavornous, and drips water from cracks above.  My daughter and I stopped mid-way and turned our headlamps off.  The absolute pitch blackness, the sound of dripping water and the echos of your voices...better than Halloween! 

I no longer have a mtn bike, so if I wanted to do it again I would go to Recycled Cycles and rent one.  http://www.recycledcycles.com/rentals











Some friends and I rode the John Wayne Trail from North Bend to Tekoa last summer ("John Wayne" is the name of the trail, "Iron Horse" is the name of the park the trail is in). A touring bike with 35-40 mm tires should be okay as far as Ellensburg. Farther east, you probably want a fatter tire (1.75" or wider). Definitely want lights for the tunnels (you pass through 3 of them between North Bend and Ellensburg). There are campsites every 10-15 miles along the trail (rustic - a tent pad, picnic table, and a pit toilet). Water is readily available at Hyak and Cle Elum. Groceries and other services in Cle Elum.

Tool and skill-wise, be prepared to fix: a) flat tire, b) broken chain, c) broken spoke. As of last September, there are no bike shops between North Bend and Ellensburg (but the one in Ellensburg is a good one: http://www.recycleshop.us/).

Rode it last weekend. Rode from Ellensburg back to Issaquah.

The trail is essentially a gravel road all the way on the section I did. Towards Ellensburg there was more loose gravel, but it was till an easy ride. I rode a Vaya Travel with full panniers on 700 X 40s with no problem. The guy I was riding with had 35s and again, no problem. You could ride that section on darn near anything.