Public Invited to Comment on Possible Name Change for Cross-State Trail
Mia Carlson

Public Invited to Comment on Possible Name Change for Cross-State Trail

Should the ‘Iron Horse’ and ‘John Wayne Pioneer’ trail names be changed?

OLYMPIA, WA - The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is considering consolidating and changing the names of the Iron Horse State Park Trail and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, and the agency is asking for the public's recommendations.

The two trails are technically one trail - the Iron Horse State Park Trail. However, many people identify the eastern portion - from the Columbia River east to the Idaho border - as the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

“Determining one name for the trail will help eliminate confusion,” Statewide Trails Coordinator Randy Kline says. “Also, giving the trail one meaningful name will highlight its significance as one of the longest cross-state trails in the country.”

From Parks & Recreation:
In addition, the trail name is not consistent with State Parks’ policy for naming trails, which gives preference to trail names based on geographic locations, culturally significant history, 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 this policy: the Spokane River Centennial Trail, Columbia Plateau Trail, Klickitat Trail and Willapa Hills Trail names are based on geographical and geological references.

Seeking public comment

Based on State Parks naming policy, staff has recommended several names that call out the geographic and railroad history associated with the trail.  

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)

The agency is asking the public to comment on these recommendations or to provide suggestions based on the policy criteria for naming trails.

The public can learn more about the trail, view maps and comment online at:  Comments may also be directed to Randy Kline, project lead, at or (360) 902-8632. The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. Friday, May 4.

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