Old Government Trail #733

Starting off on the old railroad grade, photo by Martha Rasmussen

The Old Government Trail is a pleasant stroll through lowland forest. The trails begins on the Barlow Point Trail #709 and at 0.3 mile you will see a sign pointing to another trail descending to the lower forest, this is where the Old Government Trail begins. The trail starts where the Old Monte Cristo–Everett Railroad used to run.

Looking down at the wetlands from the trail, photo by Martha Rasmussen

This railroad was to take the ore from Monte Cristo to the smelter in northern Everett, making a trip of 70 miles. The railroad to Monte Cristo was plagued with hardships from the day it was started in 1892. Severe storms causing heavy snows, floods and landslides, delayed completion of this project. In 1893 the train reached Monte Cristo. After the mining began to dry up, the Rucker Brothers from Everett operated a gas car to bring wealthy guest to their Big Four Inn.

A healing forest and giving way to new growth, photo by Martha Rasmussen

About mid way on this hike you will come to a woodland bog a great place to sit quietly and observe wildlife or enjoy a chorus of frogs. At about this point you will notice the large burnt stumps along the trail. This is a recovering forest from a massive fire that started from a locomotive spark in 1905. The fire started at the Buck Creek area and swept up the mountainside of Dickerman Mountain. 

Type of Trail: USFS
Length: 2 miles one way
Elevation: 2,400 - 2,100
Level of difficulty: easy

Best Seasons:  Late spring thru fall

Seasonal interest: 
  • This is a great hike for wildflowers during the earlier seasons and seasonal waterfall.
  • Nice shady walk in the woods with interesting wildflowers such as Indian Pipe & Silver-back.

General information:
History: This trail roughly follows the old railroad grade from Hartford to Monte Cristo.  This forest burned in 1905 when sparks from the train ignited the forest.

Wilderness Restrictions: No

Restrooms: Vault toilet at trailhead

Bring drinking water

Getting There: To get to Old Government Trail #733 from the Darrington Ranger Station drive 23.4 miles south on the Mountain Loop Highway. When you reach Barlow Pass you will see a parking area and toilet facilities. This is the trail heads for Barlow Point #709, Monte Cristo and Old Government Trail #733. Bring you own drinking water and Trail Pass is require.