Name that trail: What to call the Iron Horse State Park/ John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Landscape view of rolling hills and water
View of trestle over gorge with trees

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is considering a name change for the Iron Horse State Park Trail /John Wayne Pioneer Trail. We are starting a public comment process and need your help.

Why change the name of the trail?

The name of the trail is not consistent with State Parks’ policy for naming trails. The agency’s naming policy gives preference to trail names that are based on geographic locations, culturally significant events and places, geologic features, or relevant botanic or biological references.

The names of the other long-distance trails in the state park system are consistent with the policy: the Spokane River Centennial Trail, Columbia Plateau Trail, Klickitat Trail and Willapa Hills Trail names are based on geographical and geological references.

State Parks also wants to eliminate confusion about the trail name. Technically, the entire trail is named “Iron Horse State Park Trail,” which includes the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. However, many people identify the eastern part of the trail, the portion that runs from the Columbia River to the Idaho border, as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Giving the trail one meaningful name will highlight its significance as one of the longest cross-state trails in the country.

Public comment welcome

We want to hear from you! Based on the naming criteria above, State Parks staff has provided several recommendations for consideration:

Public Comment thru May 4, 2018

Proposed names:

  • Cascalouse State Park Trail (a contraction of the Cascade and Palouse geographic areas)
  • Columbian State Park Trail (a named passenger train that operated on the trail)
  • Cross Washington State Park Trail (descriptive trail name)
  • Iron Horse State Park Trail (current name of this State Park trail acknowledging the trail as a former railway)
  • Milwaukee Road State Park Trail (name of the railroad that operated on the trail)
  • Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (geographic description of the trail route)
  • Trail of the Olympian State Park Trail (name used to describe the route from Chicago to the Puget Sound)

Let us know what you think!  Do you like one of these recommendations, or do you have another name idea that’s based on the policy criteria described above?  

State Parks staff will collect and consider all ideas and comments and make a recommendation to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission at its May 17 meeting in Spokane. The Commission will make the final decision. 

To provide your comments, please select the “Provide Comments” button below. If you have questions contact the project lead directly. The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. Friday, May 4.

About the trail

The Iron Horse State Park Trail, which includes the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, passes through diverse landscapes as it traverses the state through the densely forested woods of the Cascades and across channeled scablands carved by the Ice Age floods.

The 285-mile trail extends east from North Bend to the Town of Tekoa, on the Washington-Idaho border, running roughly parallel to Interstate 90.

The trail consists of former railroad right-of-way and tunnels from the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.

Learn more about the Iron Horse State Park Trail.

Provide Comment button

Contact Us

Randy Kline, Park Planner
Project Lead
P.O. Box 42650
Olympia, WA 98504
Ph:  (360) 902-8632
Fx:  (360) 586-0207 

Background Information