Washington State’s history of trail development has resulted in some of the country’s most iconic and well-used trails, making it the ideal western terminus for the Great American Rail-Trail. The preferred route will begin at the Idaho–Washington border on the developing Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, an epic rail-trail that travels in segments across most of the state, ending in Cedar Falls. From here, a variety of trails in King County carry the Great American Rail-Trail into the Seattle area, where the trail will ultimately continue west to the Pacific Ocean along the burgeoning Olympic Discovery Trail.

Related: Beverly Bridge Opening Marks Major Jump Toward Statewide Trail Connectivity in Washington

The “Great American” Route Through Washington

RTC’s route analysis defines the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail through Washington as 538 miles and 73% complete—comprising 394 existing trail miles and 143 gap miles. Click the links below to view full trail descriptions of Washington’s host trails on TrailLink.com.

Washington | Economic Potential of the Great American Rail-Trail, 2022
Washington | Economic Potential of the Great American Rail-Trail, 2022 | Download report

Download Washington Economic Impact

Gateway Trail

Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

Spanning more than 200 miles across Washington, this pathway is one of the longest rail-trail conversions in the United States. Its eastern end begins at the Idaho border, about an hour south of Spokane, and from there the trail traverses rugged and pristine countryside as it makes its way to the Columbia River. West of the river, travelers will find dense forests, bridges with sweeping vistas and passage through a century-old tunnel at Snoqualmie Pass on a journey to trail’s end in the Cascade foothills, just 35 miles from downtown Seattle.

View Blog on Beverly Bridge  View on TrailLink

Route Reveal Celebration

Trail Stories about Washington

Be a Part of the Movement to Complete the Great American

Like you, we can’t wait to see the Great American Rail-Trail vision come to life—but we can’t do it alone. Help us reach 1 million pledges for the Great American, showing the strength and solidarity of the trails community.


Completing the Great American Rail-Trail: Catalyst Initiatives in Washington

In every state along the preferred route of the Great American, needs for completing the trail vary. To spur trail completion, RTC has identified initial catalyst initiatives—projects or challenges that would most benefit from RTC’s national breadth of resources. (View the complete list of catalyst initiatives and criteria here.) Through these initiatives, RTC will support local and state partners, investing time, expertise and organizational resources in specific projects that are critical to the ultimate completion of the Great American Rail-Trail.

Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail near Kittitas Valley | Photo by Marilyn Hedges
Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail near Kittitas Valley | Photo by Marilyn Hedges

Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail Funding

RTC will work with partners in Washington State to help secure the balance of funding for Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail projects in the 2019 Washington state budget, including the Beverly Bridge rehabilitation (Columbia River crossing on Old Milwaukee Road corridor), Malden to Rosalia upgrades (grading and resurfacing of 9-mile section plus trailhead creation) and the renovation of the Tekoa Trestle (decking, rail installation and minor structural repairs on 975-foot-long historic trestle).