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Description
Snoqualmie Pass is a popular recreation area at the crest of the Cascade Range. Native Americans used the pass to travel between western and eastern Washington. In 1868 pioneer settlers opened the Snoqualmie Wagon Road. The first automobiles negotiated the single-lane dirt track through the pass in 1915. In ensuing decades the road was gradually upgraded and designated US 10, the Sunset Highway. During the winter of 1932-33 crews kept the road open all year for the first time. The highway was paved in 1934.
The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad opened its transcontinental line through the pass in 1909. The Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel opened in 1915; the 2.3-mile-long tunnel, abandoned by the railroad in 1980, is now part of the John Wayne Trail in Iron Horse State Park in Cle Elum and is one of the nation's longest tunnels open to hikers. Accessible from I-90 exit 54, the tunnel is open May through October; bring a light source and warm clothing.
Several ski areas clustered around the pass make Snoqualmie Pass one of the state's premier winter sports complexes. The first downhill ski area in Washington opened just east of the pass in 1934.
The Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum is on SR 906 opposite Traveler's Rest. The museum features more than a dozen exhibits showcasing winter sports in Washington. Phone (425) 434-0827.
The U.S. Forest Service has a visitor information center, off I-90 exit 52 at 69805 S.E. Snoqualmie Pass Summit Rd., offering information about outdoor recreation in the area. The center is open Thurs.-Sun. 9-4:30, Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day; Fri.-Sun. 8:30-3:30, Jan.-Mar. Phone (425) 434-6111.
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