After three summers of construction work, the new Mailbox Peak trail officially opened to hikers in September. The 4.7 mile trail was built by Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Mountains to Sound Greenway, Washington Trails Association, and EarthCorps. Funding for the trail was provided by DNR, Spring Family Trust, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and the Federal Highways Administration.
The old Mailbox Peak trail is a daunting ridge route that is plagued by erosion due to its extremely steep grade and hikers routinely lose 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.
The opening of the new Mailbox Peak trail is the first of many recreation enhancement projects scheduled for the beautiful Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley.
The valley is a nationally recognized example of public lands that are easily accessible from the metropolitan area. A huge amount of work has gone into conserving and cleaning up the valley over the past 17 years, and a road construction project which began this summer, will be complete in 2016 and will bring thousands of more visitors into the valley each year. The Greenway is working with the State DNR and the U.S. Forest Service to prepare for this increased demand by planning for new parking areas and facilities, improved trailheads and trails, and new river access points.
Learn more about upcoming recreation projects in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley.
The same day as the grand opening, the Greenway Trust also “mailed” a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, from atop Mailbox Peak in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is a critical program that helps to establish local parks and access to our public lands, protecting clean water sources and creating jobs through outdoor recreation.
Former Greenway President Bill Chapman and Greenway Board Member Vik Sahney hiked up Mailbox Peak and put the letter in the iconic mailbox for Secretary Jewell as a reminder to her Washington roots and as motivation for her to continue to be a champion of the LWCF and the conservation of our public lands, including Mailbox Peak.
Check out these recent news articles about the Mailbox Peak trail:
(photo credit: Ray Lapine)