6. snoqualmie to Preston & Issaquah
The easy way and the hard way
The Easy Way
I've done the hard way to Preston. This last time I was happy to take the easy way. Here it is.
Head north from the NWRy Museum in Snoqualmie. There's a bike path on the west side of the highway. After the Northern Pacific plow and before the highway bridge, make a left and climb the Snoqualmie Parkway. Take heart - near the top there's a Starbucks in a shopping center.
This easy way goes over the hill and down. Turn west along I-90 to Preston. Go through town, continuing west on a frontage road parallelling the Interstate. When I rode through in August 2011, I was able to access the grade where it appeared between the frontage road and Interstate not far out of town. It was quite obvious then, but it's in development and may change.
The grade to Issaquah becomes a pleasant 2-track road through the woods above the Interstate. Where it ends, head south on a bridge over the Interstate and follow the road west into town.
The Hard Way
I did this with my pal Barry in 2010. I'd do it again - it's fun - but it is somewhat time-consuming and arduous.
Note the "you are here" arrow at the top. Your first challenge is getting to that park. The street leading to it from Snoqualmie Parkway is Douglas Ave SE. As of 4/12/12, google maps didn't show the park, but that's where I shot the map you're looking at.
The park backs up to the woods. There's a long steep winding trail down to the old NPRR grade. Make a right on the grade, and you soon come to the Snoqualmie Falls overlook - and a fence intended to block further progress on the grade. Even 2 miles off we could hear the roar of the falls in the quiet of the woods.
1917-19 Automobile Club of Western Washington strip map
Make a left and you can follow the grade into Preston. Just one little thing - the trestle over the Raging River is gone. Steep switchbacks'll get you down to the river and highway. My notes say they're too steep and loose to ride up or down. The climb back up the other side is on a much easier grade.
Once in Preston a short road link described above will get you on the grade along I-90 into Issaquah.
Off the grade, cross I-90 and follow your nose downhill into town. Keep an eye out for the old railroad depot on your right as you get into downtown. You should have a good nose for old railroads by now.
Not only is the depot a cool place, nicely restored, with a rich little history of railroading and coal mining, but the tracks will guide you through town on the short last road link from here to Seattle.
This year it was a barber shop ~ best wishes!
The tracks end near a good espresso shack. Look where they headed - bearing left, a short ride on a busy arterial, a red caboose marks the start of the next railroad grade. Make a right there and you're just about on it. Just head north, under I-90. You're on your way.