Wellington, Washington Ghost Town

Wellington Washington Ghost Town

Wellington Washington Ghost Town: A Chilling Journey Through History

Wellington Washington Ghost Town, once a bustling railroad community, now stands as an eerie reminder of a tragic past. Nestled in the Cascade Range of Washington State, this abandoned town draws visitors captivated by its haunting history and the surrounding natural beauty.

Join us as we explore the chilling story of Wellington, Washington, and uncover the secrets within this ghost town.

The Birth of Wellington

Wellington, Washington was founded in 1893 as a railroad community along the Great Northern Railway. Situated at the west portal of the original Cascade Tunnel, the town was built to support the railway’s expansion through the rugged terrain of the Cascade Range.

The Great Northern Railway

The Great Northern Railway was an ambitious project to connect the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the United States. Engineers faced numerous challenges, including constructing tunnels and bridges through the treacherous Cascade Mountains.

The town of Wellington was established to facilitate the construction and maintenance of the railway, providing a crucial stopping point for trains and workers.

The Cascade Tunnel

The original Cascade Tunnel was a remarkable feat of engineering, stretching 2.6 miles through the heart of the Cascade Range. Completed in 1900, the tunnel was the longest in the United States.

The town of Wellington was strategically located at the tunnel’s western entrance, providing a critical hub for trains and workers.

A Town Plagued by Tragedy

Despite its humble beginnings, Wellington Washington Ghost Town would soon be thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The town would become synonymous with disaster, as it witnessed the deadliest avalanche in US history.

The Wellington Avalanche

On March 1, 1910, a catastrophic avalanche swept through the town of Wellington, claiming the lives of 96 people. Two trains, a passenger train and a mail train, had been stranded at the Wellington Depot for nine days due to a relentless blizzard.

As the storm showed no signs of easing, the passengers and crew settled in for another night, unaware of the impending disaster.

During the night, an avalanche was triggered on the slopes above the town, barreling towards the unsuspecting trains and depot below. The avalanche obliterated everything in its path, sending the trains and station crashing 150 feet downhill into the Tye River valley.

Of the 96 people killed in the tragedy, 61 were railroad employees, and 35 were passengers. Only 23 people survived the horrific event.

The Aftermath

Following the devastating avalanche, the town of Wellington was renamed Tye in October 1910 to distance itself from the catastrophe. Simultaneously, construction began on a series of concrete snowsheds designed to protect the rails and passing trains from future avalanches.

Some of these snowsheds still stand today, a testament to the town’s tragic past.

The Abandonment of Tye

The town of Tye was ultimately abandoned in 1929, following the completion of the second Cascade Tunnel. This new tunnel rendered the original tunnel and the need for trains to pass through Tye obsolete.

The town was left to decay, and eventually, it was consumed by fire, leaving only the haunting remnants of a once-thriving community.

Exploring Wellington Washington Ghost Town Today

Today, visitors can explore the remains of the original town of Wellington along the Iron Goat Trail near Stevens Pass. The trail, which follows the original path of the Great Northern Railroad, offers a unique glimpse into the town’s history and the chilling events there.

A Journey Through Time

As you walk the Iron Goat Trail, you’ll encounter the remnants of the town’s past, including old foundations and the west entrance to the original Cascade Tunnel. The trail also passes through several miles of snowsheds and tunnels, providing an eerie reminder of the dangers faced by the trains and workers who once traversed this route.

The Wing Luke Museum

The Wing Luke Museum offers guided hiking tours of the area’s history, providing a fascinating insight into the lives of the workers who built the Great Northern Railway. Many of these workers were Japanese immigrants, and the museum’s tours shed light on their contributions and experiences.

The White Cascade

For those interested in delving deeper into the history of the Wellington Washington Ghost Town and the avalanche that defined its fate, Gary Krist’s 2008 book ‘The White Cascade’ offers a detailed account of the events surrounding the tragic disaster.

Ghostly Encounters

Visitors to the Wellington Washington Ghost Town often report feeling an eerie presence as they wander the abandoned townsite and surrounding trails. Some claim to have experienced ghostly sightings, while others describe an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there’s no denying the chilling atmosphere that permeates this once-thriving community.

Tips for Visiting Wellington Washington Ghost Town

If you’re planning a trip to Wellington, Washington Ghost Town, there are some essential tips to remember to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


The Iron Goat Trail is easily accessible from US Highway 2 near Stevens Pass or Scenic, east of Everett. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. However, be aware that some sections may be overgrown or affected by seasonal conditions, so always check for updates before setting out.

Required Permits

All trailheads leading to Wellington Washington Ghost Town require a Federal Recreation Pass. In addition, be sure to familiarize yourself with any local rules and regulations to ensure a safe and responsible visit.

Weather Conditions

The Wellington Washington Ghost Town area is prone to unpredictable weather, particularly during winter. Always check the weather forecast before embarking on your adventure and be prepared for changing conditions. It’s also a good idea to pack extra layers, as the temperature can drop significantly at higher elevations.

Historical Preservation

As you explore Wellington Washington Ghost Town, remember to treat the site respectfully and leave no trace of your visit. The town’s history is a valuable part of our cultural heritage, and it’s essential to preserve it for future generations to experience and learn from.

Final Thoughts

Wellington Washington Ghost Town offers a unique and chilling journey through history, providing a haunting glimpse into the tragic events that have shaped this once-thriving community.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, ghost hunter, or simply seeking an unforgettable outdoor adventure, the Wellington Washington Ghost Town is a must-visit destination.

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