This quiet abandoned line was home to the once mighty Milwaukee Road. It's now part of a comprehensive trail system within King County that spans roughly 31 miles - past fast-flowing rivers, across highways, spanning massive trestles, and climbs effortlessly to Snoqualmie Falls then southeast towards Snoqualmie Pass. By horse or bike, the trail reintroduces even the hardest of urban visitors to what the whole of the Northwest once was - green, overcast, and undisturbed.
It's quiet and not well known. I started bicycling on this line back in the early 1990s, before King County began making improvements. Back then a person could ride from the intersection of State Route 203 & NE124th to SE 356th St between Fall City and Snoqualmie; at that point there was a bridge missing over a deep chasm in the hillside. Now the trail follows most of the old line, with the exception of a stretch of a couple miles that was reclaimed by landowners (riders are pointed towards SR 203 to get back to the trail). A person can still find rail spikes here and there along the route. While I've ridden most of it I've never ridden the entire length, which is a testament to its length of 31 miles.
Stories exist about the route,which ran from Monroe to the MILW connection at Cedar Falls, but to date I've been able to locate only a few photos of anything on the line - and nothing more recent than the early 1900s. I understand from one person who grew up in the area that the Milwaukee started running heavy U-Boats on the line in the 1970s in an attempt to reduce the amount of northbound runs over trackage-rights lines, which completely obliterated the light-grade rails and ballast. Derailments were pushed over the side and into the oxbow lakes that lined the route near Stillwater. While I don't know exactly when it was abandoned, I can't imagine it was in any usable shape by 1980 when MILW pulled out of Washington entirely.
Here's a few photos in a slideshow that I snapped recently along the route!