While driving on US 2, west of Stevens Pass, I got lucky and found a nice little attraction in the little town of Skykomish.
Skykomish is the last community you pass by when you travel eastbound over Stevens Pass. Or, I guess, it could be the first community on the west side that you reach when heading over Stevens Pass from Eastern Washington. Regardless, it’s a cute little town and definitely worth a quick pull off from the highway.
Skykomish has some nice ties to the railroad and logging industries, and though I’d stopped there before, what caught my attention this time was some small signs along the highway promoting “Free Train Rides”.
Having kids in the car with me on this trip, I decided this was worth some investigation. Truth be told, we were about due for a snack anyway. As we crossed the Skykomish River, we saw that the signs led to the small historic train depot in the center of town. We pulled into the parking lot just in time to see the train leave the station. The train in question that day was a miniature narrow gauge train run by an engineer and ferrying children, some “disguised” as adults, around on a fairly good sized track. We’d just found the Great Northern & Cascade Railway.
The train passes over a bridge, goes through a tunnel, and passes by several full size rail cars and railroad equipment. Needless to say, the kids had an excellent time.
The town’s historic depot, dating back to 1898, contains some interesting things to see too. Restoring the depot and bringing the railroad history to visitors and locals is a big project and you can support that project by purchasing some of the shirts, books, and other souvenirs found inside. There are also other things to see there including a historic train bell waiting for you to ring it, replica train cars and engines done to scale, and more.
The Great Northern & Cascade Railway is located at 101 North 5th Street in Skykomish, Washington. The facility is open Saturday and Sunday from the end of May to the end of October. It’s great for a quick stop, especially if you are traveling with kids or have an interest in history. Plus, you can’t pass up the feeling you get supporting small community projects like this.
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Or check out the Great Northern & Cascade Railway website!