Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 1.2 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: United States Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Iron Mountain Trail #242, also known as the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A, is a historic trail located in the beautiful Cascade Range of Oregon, United States. This trail holds significant historical importance as it was originally established in the early 1900s to provide access to the Iron Mountain Lookout, which was constructed in 1925. The trail was primarily used by forest rangers and fire lookouts to monitor and protect the surrounding forests from wildfires.

During the early years, the Iron Mountain Trail served as a vital transportation route for supplies and personnel to reach the lookout tower. The trail was initially developed as a footpath, but over time, it was widened and improved to accommodate horses and mules. The construction of the trail was a challenging task, as it required cutting through dense forests, traversing steep slopes, and crossing several creeks and ridges.

The Iron Mountain Lookout, perched at an elevation of 5,520 feet, provided panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, allowing fire lookouts to spot smoke and potential wildfires from a distance. The lookout played a crucial role in fire detection and prevention, helping to safeguard the vast forested areas of the Cascade Range. Over the years, the lookout underwent several renovations and upgrades to enhance its functionality and ensure the safety of the fire lookouts stationed there.

Today, the Iron Mountain Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A continues to attract hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who are drawn to its historical significance and breathtaking natural beauty. The trail offers a glimpse into the past, allowing visitors to experience the same paths that were once traversed by forest rangers and fire lookouts. As hikers make their way along the trail, they can appreciate the rich history and legacy of the Iron Mountain Lookout and the important role it played in protecting the forests of the Cascade Range.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Iron Mountain Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Iron Mountain Trail #242. It is located off Forest Road 2750 and offers parking facilities.

2. Cascade Falls Trailhead: This is the starting point for the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A, which branches off from the Iron Mountain Trail. It is also located off Forest Road 2750 and has parking available.

3. Iron Mountain Saddle: This is a major access point along the Iron Mountain Trail, located at the saddle between Iron Mountain and Cone Peak. It offers panoramic views and is a popular spot for hikers to rest and enjoy the scenery.

4. Cone Peak Trailhead: Although not directly on the Iron Mountain Trail, the Cone Peak Trailhead is a nearby access point that connects to the Iron Mountain Trail. It is located off Forest Road 2750 and provides parking facilities.

5. Elk Lake Trailhead: Another nearby access point, the Elk Lake Trailhead is located off Forest Road 2750 and offers parking. From here, hikers can connect to the Iron Mountain Trail via the Elk Lake Trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Iron Mountain Trail #242 and its branch, the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.

Transportation Available

1. Iron Mountain Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.
2. Cascade Falls Shuttle – Shuttle service offering convenient transportation options for hikers visiting Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.
3. Mountain Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for those looking to explore Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A on two wheels.
4. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the vicinity of Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.
5. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service providing transportation options for hikers and visitors near Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.


The amenities available at the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A may vary depending on the specific location and management. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Some trailheads or visitor centers may have restroom facilities available for public use. These can be flush toilets or pit toilets.

2. Parking: There may be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: Depending on the trail and its regulations, there may be designated camping sites along the trail or in nearby campgrounds. These sites may have amenities such as fire rings, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic areas: Some trailheads or designated spots along the trail may have picnic areas with tables and benches. These areas provide a place for visitors to rest, have a meal, or enjoy the surroundings.

5. Water sources: Depending on the trail and its location, there may be natural water sources such as streams or rivers where visitors can access water. However, it is always recommended to bring your own water or purify water from natural sources.

6. Trail markers and signage: The trail may have markers or signs indicating the trail route, distances, and points of interest. These help visitors navigate the trail and stay on the designated path.

7. Information boards: Some trailheads or visitor centers may have information boards providing details about the trail, safety guidelines, and any specific regulations or closures.

8. Benches or seating areas: Along the trail, there may be benches or seating areas where visitors can take a break, enjoy the view, or simply relax.

It is important to note that amenities can vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities, visitor centers, or trail management for the most up-to-date information on the specific amenities available at the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.

Nearby Services

1. Iron Mountain Inn – Cozy lodging with scenic views near Iron Mtn. Trail #242.
2. Cascade Falls Campground – Campground with basic amenities near Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.
3. Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina – Lakeside lodging and dining options near Iron Mtn. Trail #242.
4. Cascade Falls Cafe – Casual eatery serving comfort food near Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.
5. Iron Mountain Fire Department – Emergency services located near Iron Mtn. Trail #242.
6. Cascade Falls Medical Clinic – Medical services available near Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.

Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A Difficulty Notes

The Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers seeking a challenging yet rewarding experience. The trail encompasses a variety of terrains, including steep ascents and descents, rocky sections, and occasional stream crossings. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, hikers should be prepared for some strenuous sections that require a good level of fitness and agility. The breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the stunning Cascade Falls make the effort worthwhile, making it a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a moderately challenging adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Iron Mountain Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington state. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other points of interest. Here are some notable ones:

1. Iron Mountain Lookout: At the summit of Iron Mountain, there is a historic fire lookout tower that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

2. Cascade Falls: This beautiful waterfall is located along the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A. It cascades down a rocky cliff and is a popular spot for photography and relaxation.

3. Old-Growth Forest: The trail passes through sections of old-growth forest, where you can see towering trees, lush vegetation, and a diverse range of plant and animal species.

4. Wildflowers: During the spring and summer months, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, including lupines, paintbrushes, and Indian paintbrushes.

5. Mountain Views: As you hike along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of nearby peaks, including Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the North Cascades.

6. Alpine Meadows: The trail passes through alpine meadows, where you can see a variety of wildflowers, grasses, and other alpine vegetation.

7. Wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the trail, including deer, elk, mountain goats, and various bird species.

8. Historical Logging Sites: The area around the trail has a rich logging history, and you may come across remnants of old logging camps, equipment, or rail lines.

9. Glacier Views: On clear days, you can catch glimpses of glaciers on the surrounding mountains, adding to the scenic beauty of the trail.

10. Rock Formations: The trail passes by interesting rock formations, including cliffs, boulders, and outcroppings, which add to the rugged and picturesque landscape.

These are just a few of the highlights along the Iron Mountain Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A. Exploring the trail will provide you with a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty and history of the area.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Camping is not allowed along the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
– Hunting or trapping is not permitted.
– Fires are only allowed in designated fire rings or grills.
– Littering is strictly prohibited; please pack out all trash.
– Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths.
– Respect wildlife and do not feed or disturb them.
– Do not remove or damage any natural or historical features.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or during specific wildlife mating seasons.
– Bicycles are not allowed on the trail.
– Fishing is allowed in designated areas only and requires a valid fishing license.
– Swimming or bathing in the waterfall or any other water bodies along the trail is not permitted.
– Be aware of and follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Iron Mountain Trail #242 and its side trail, the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A, offer breathtaking views and a serene hiking experience in the beautiful Cascade Range of Oregon. The best times of the year to visit these trails are during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall, allowing hikers to fully enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Late spring, from May to June, is an excellent time to visit as the trails come alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque landscape. The summer months, from July to August, offer longer daylight hours, making it ideal for those who wish to spend more time exploring the trails. The warm weather during this period also allows hikers to take refreshing dips in the crystal-clear pools formed by the Cascade Falls.

It is important to note that the Iron Mountain Trail #242 and the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A may have seasonal closures due to snowfall and hazardous conditions. The trails are typically closed during the winter months, from November to April, as heavy snowfall can make them inaccessible and dangerous. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the U.S. Forest Service before planning a visit to ensure that the trails are open and safe for hiking.

Overall, the best times to visit the Iron Mountain Trail #242 and the Cascade Falls Trail #242-A are during the late spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is pleasant, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the trails are open for exploration. These trails offer a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the Cascade Range and experience the awe-inspiring views and cascading waterfalls that make this area truly special.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and steep inclines.
2. ADA Accommodations: There are no specific ADA accommodations available on the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A, as it is a natural trail without modified features for accessibility.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and rocky terrain.
2. Length: The trail is approximately 5.5 miles long, offering a moderate-length hike.
3. Elevation Gain: Expect an elevation gain of around 1,500 feet throughout the trail.
4. Trailhead Access: The trailhead can be accessed from the Iron Mountain Trailhead parking area.
5. Trail Conditions: Be prepared for uneven surfaces, loose rocks, and potentially muddy sections, especially after rainfall.
6. Weather Considerations: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changing conditions, as the trail is exposed to the elements.
7. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky terrain safely.
8. Water Availability: Carry an adequate amount of water, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
9. Wildlife Awareness: Be aware of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from any wildlife encountered.
10. Trail Markings: Look for trail markers and follow them to stay on the designated path.
11. Trail Etiquette: Practice Leave No Trace principles, respect other hikers, and yield to uphill traffic.
12. Cell Phone Reception: Cell phone reception may be limited or unavailable in certain areas, so plan accordingly.
13. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a map, compass, first aid kit, and any necessary emergency supplies.
14. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety purposes.
15. Time Management: Start early to allow enough time to complete the hike before sunset and avoid hiking in the dark.
16. Notify Others: Inform someone about your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
17. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting this moderately difficult trail.
18. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or restrictions before heading out, as conditions may change.
19. Leave No Trace: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it to preserve its natural beauty.
20. Enjoyment: Take your time, enjoy the scenic views, and have a memorable hiking experience on the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A.

Conservation Notes

The Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A is a popular hiking trail located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington state. In terms of conservation status, this trail is considered to be in good condition and well-maintained by the forest service. The trail is regularly monitored and managed to ensure its sustainability and minimize any negative impacts on the surrounding environment.

Efforts have been made to protect the natural resources along the trail, including the preservation of the diverse plant and animal species found in the area. The forest service has implemented measures to prevent erosion and maintain the integrity of the trail, such as installing erosion control structures and maintaining proper drainage systems. These conservation practices help to minimize the impact of hikers and ensure the long-term sustainability of the trail.

Additionally, the Iron Mtn. Trail #242/Cascade Falls Trail #242-A is subject to regulations and guidelines aimed at preserving the natural beauty of the area. These regulations include restrictions on camping and campfires, as well as guidelines for waste disposal and wildlife interaction. By adhering to these regulations, visitors can help protect the fragile ecosystem and maintain the conservation status of the trail for future generations to enjoy.

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