Photo Credit: Eli Brownell, King County Parks

Trailhead Direct Enjoys Steady Ridership

Outdoor recreation in the Greenway is more accessible and convenient with Trailhead Direct buses on the road. Riders that take advantage of the convenient service can stress less and hike more. With three routes to choose from, there’s plenty of exploring to do without the parking hassle taking up valuable recreating time. The shuttle service, operated by King County Metro in partnership with King County Parks and other public-private partners, picks you up from centrally located transit points and pulls right up to the trailhead – your hike immediately starts as soon as you step off.

The number of riders discovering the public service are not at all surprising. The summer season is a time that many trails see more activity and overflowing parking lots. Thanks to a service partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation, Trailhead Direct was able to expand this year by providing additional transit service. At the beginning of the service season in April and through the end of July, more than 5,000 people have used the service to access the Issaquah Alps and more than 4,000 have frequented Mt Si. The number of cars redirected from crowded trailhead parking alone is a proactive step towards reducing safety hazards and improving the recreation experience for everyone.

If you haven’t tried Trailhead Direct yet, there’s still time to hop on and experience the convenience for yourself. The service runs on weekends and designated holidays through October, which for many, feels like the extended summer season when temperatures begin to cool off. Browse the online schedule to check routes, fares, and get tips on how the service works, including opportunities to “shuttlepool” with friends. Keep your eye out for an onboard survey as King County Metro will soon begin collecting feedback on the program to help measure how the service is meeting needs. Whether it’s your first or 10th time riding Trailhead Direct, utilizing this transportation option is a great way to show support for a pilot project that aims to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards, and expand access to hiking destinations.

Trailhead Direct is a public-private partnership between King County Metro Transit’s Community Connections Program, King County Parks, the Seattle Department of Transportation, REI Co-op, and Clif Bar and Company.

Many community partners have come together to support this effort, include the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, the cities of Issaquah, North Bend, and Seattle, the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, Outdoors for All Foundation, Si View Metropolitan Park District, The Mountaineers, The Wilderness Society, TOTAGO, U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Trails Association.