In the Chinook Trade Jargon, Hyak is a word for “swift” or “fast.” The unincorporated community of Hyak is located at the eastern portal of the Snoqualmie Tunnel. The community once boasted a railroad station, a post office and school.
The Snoqualmie Tunnel opened in 1914 to allow passage of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the Milwaukee Road) underneath Snoqualmie Pass on a snow-free route. The 2.3-mile-long Snoqualmie Tunnel, now managed by Washington State Parks as part of the 250-mile-long Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, is open to hikers, cyclists, horses, wagons, and non-motorized recreation.
Hyak was also the location of the Milwaukee Ski Bowl, which opened in 1938 and was only accessible by train at the time. The Milwaukee Bowl had the only ski lift in the Pacific Northwest, lights for night skiing powered by the railroad’s electric lines, and a world-class championship ski jump.