4 votes

BNSF - Stampede Tunnel


East Portal

Photo taken by Nathan Morton in January 2009

BH Photo #131500


Tunnel under the Cascade Mountains just south of Snoqualmie Pass on BNSF Railway (former Northern Pacific Railway)
Kittitas County, Washington, and King County, Washington
Open to traffic
Tunnel opened in May of 1888, forced-air ventilation added later
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Burlington Northern Railroad (BN)
- Northern Pacific Railway (NP)
The Stampede Pass railroad tunnel is arched in the center; that is, you cannot see daylight at either end of the tunnel when looking through to the other end; unlike both the first (2 mile) and second (8 mile) Stevens Pass tunnels, which were "boresighted" and ran in a straight line and at a constant downward angle from east to west. Steam engines going uphill in either direction within the confines of the Stampede Tunnel was the cause of many train crews and passengers being nearly choked to death by the buildup of exhaust gasses within the tunnel; this led to a forced-air ventilation equipment being added at the west end of the tunnel at a later date. The grade is 2.2 percent on the east side from the town of Easton and 2.2 percent on the west side from the town of Lester.
Total length: 9,844.0 ft. (1.9 mi.)
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 22.0 ft.
Also called
Stampede Pass tunnel
Tunnel #3
Stampede Hell
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.27001, -121.34992   (decimal degrees)
47°16'12" N, 121°20'60" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/624813/5236490 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Stampede Pass
Inventory number
BH 38491 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 20, 2021: New photo from Carl Johnson
  • December 21, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • June 11, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: Added status
  • June 13, 2012: New photo from Nathan Morton
  • April 27, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • April 26, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Northern Pacific Railroad"
  • March 29, 2009: Updated by Nathan Morton
  • January 9, 2009: New photos from Nathan Morton
  • January 8, 2009: Added by Nathan Morton


  • Nathan Morton - morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Wikipedia - Stampede Pass: Tunnel information included
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


BNSF - Stampede Tunnel
Posted March 30, 2021, by John

Photo six is of Tunnel 4. Stampede Tunnel is tunnel 3.