Hikers who complete the challenging trek up Mailbox Peak will now be greeted by the insightful words of Ira Spring, who was one of our region’s leading voices for trails:
“It isn’t enough to have just a few righteous people talking about preserving trails. We need a lot of them.” –Ira Spring
Many years after they were spoken, Ira Spring’s words still ring true: we need the power of many voices to take care of the areas we love.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway was created thanks to the foresight of Spring and others who saw that collective effort was the key to protecting our region’s unique quality of life, recreation, and our heritage of a closeness to nature. And protecting trails, like Mailbox Peak, was core to that vision.
The new Mailbox Peak trail was built thanks to not one, but many different agencies, organizations, and hikers who pooled their resources to undertake this major feat. The new trail was a labor of passion—it took over a dozen years of planning and more than three years to build a trail that helps carry thousands of hikers a year up to its summit.
A solution was direly needed. The old Mailbox Peak trail was a daunting ridge route plagued by erosion due to its extremely steep grade, and hikers routinely lost track of the trail. The newly designed trail employs switchbacks on the north side of the mountain to ascend at a much more reasonable pace. Hikers still need to climb 3,800 feet to the peak, and the trip definitely pays off with stunning views into the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley and towards the crest of the Cascades. Both trails will remain open for hikers to choose which route they want to take up to the peak.
In celebration of the spirit of collaboration that ensures we have a bounty of recreational access in the Greenway, a monument has been installed at the top of Mailbox Peak. Perched on top is the iconic mailbox itself, ready for the many letters and keepsakes that hikers leave behind as mementos of their climb. Underneath, embedded in a simple rock stand, is Spring’s quote and a plaque commemorating the nearly 10,000 volunteer hours and the many organizations who strove to make this new trail possible, including:
- Washington State Department of Natural Resources
- Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
- Washington Trails Association
- Washington Conservation Corps
- Spring Trust for Trails
- Federal Highway Administration
- Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
- Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program
Completion of the new Mailbox Peak trail last fall was the start of many recreation access projects coming to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley over the next few years. Paving of the (notoriously potholed) main access road into the Valley will be completed next fall, and the Greenway Trust and our partners are working hard to ensure the Valley is prepared to accommodate the influx of visitors expected to come. Learn more about the vision for the Valley.