Our first hike of the summer was supposed to be to Tonga Ridge on July 11th. Unfortunately when we arrived at the Skykomish Ranger Station to get our wilderness pass, we were told that this trailhead was snowed in and they gave us another option, the Iron Goat Trail. You can check the history of the trail out at
http://www.irongoat.org/ . It is pretty interesting.
We went with another mom and her 2 boys which makes it more fun for the kids that they get to go with their friends. This was more of a walk through the woods rather than a hike since it was pretty near flat the entire way, but it was beautiful and about 6 miles round trip. We actually went to the first trailhead turnoff when we were supposed to go to the second one that is marked with a red train caboose. This makes sense since the trail is an old railroad tunnel. Parts of the tunnel are still there and they are amazing! This is a great hike to do on a hot day since you can feel the cool breeze from the exposed tunnels and the cold air from the access tunnels.
This trail is easy for small children and stroller and wheelchair accessible. There was one small 6 ft section that still had a bit of snow, but the rest is flat and well maintained. Actually the day we were there, a maintenance crew was weedwacking and clearing the path to keep the path well maintained. Not as peaceful, but much appreciated.
To get here take the Stevens Pass Highway, U.S. 2, to Milepost 55, 6 miles east of the town of Skykomish or to Milepost 58.3 at Scenic (5.6 miles west of the summit). Turn north on to the Old Cascade Highway, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Road #67. Proceed to the junction with USFS Road #6710 (2.3 miles from Milepost 55 or 1.4 miles from Milepost 58.3). Turn onto USFS Road #6710 and proceed 1.4 miles to the Martin Creek trailhead parking lot.
The above directions go to the trailhead we parked at and we liked this way the best. You hit the turnaround at the caboose and the kids enjoyed playing on it before we turned around and hiked back.
You do need a wilderness pass to park here. You will want to stop at the Skykomish Ranger Station on your way. The pass is $5 and is good for the day. You can buy a yearly pass which is $30.
There is a bathroom at the ranger station and at the trailhead and turnaround for those of you with children (who are we kidding, moms too).
Be sure to check out this link USDA forest service website before you head out to make sure trail conditions are good. Many of these trails are only accessible May-October.