Trailhead Direct is expanding this summer! After a popular first season, feedback was gathered from adventurers like you, leading to a greatly expanded bus service this year to local trailheads.
Beginning April 21, Trailhead Direct will provide weekend and holiday service every 30 minutes from Link light rail stations, the first starting at Sound Transit’s Mount Baker Station in South Seattle to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps. A second route to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe near North Bend will start May 19 from the Capitol Hill Station. And, in early summer, the popular Mailbox Peak Trailhead will get Trailhead Direct service from a free satellite parking lot in North Bend.
Time schedules are now available for the Issaquah Alps route, with more details coming soon for the other two routes.
The program 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, aiming to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards, and expand access to hiking destinations.
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.
‘Wilderness on the Metro’ has been a long-cherished idea in the Greenway: of being able to access trailheads not just with a private vehicle but also on public transportation.
The parks and public lands of the Greenway are an essential part of our regional identity and offer tangible health and recreation benefits for all residents. Yet those benefits are out of reach for many who do not have personal vehicles to drive there. By connecting our public transportation system to the outdoors, Trailhead Direct offers an affordable, equitable, environmentally friendly transportation option for people to get outside and enjoy their public lands.
We’re excited to see King County expand Trailhead Direct this summer and will be reporting back in a few weeks with more details about the Mt. Si and Mailbox Peak routes.
Trailhead Direct: www.kingcounty.gov/trailheaddirect
Route – Issaquah Alps
Service begins: Saturday, April 21
Start and end point: Sound Transit’s Mount Baker Station: Rainier Avenue South and South Forest Street, Seattle, WA 98144
Stops: Eastgate Freeway Station, Issaquah Transit Center
Trailheads: Margaret’s Way on Squak Mountain; Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, the High School Trail, and East Sunset Way on Tiger Mountain
Route – Mount Si/Mount Teneriffe
Service begins: Saturday, May 19
Start and end point: Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Station: 140 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
Stops: Broadway and John Street in Seattle, Pine Street and Ninth Avenue in Seattle, Eastgate Freeway Station, North Bend Park & Ride
Trailheads: Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe in North Bend
Route – Mailbox Peak
Shuttle to Mailbox Peak from a satellite parking lot in North Bend will begin in early summer.
Trailhead Direct was first launched in August 2017 as a pilot project sponsored by King County Metro and King County Parks to expand access to hiking trails and reduce trailhead congestion in the Issaquah Alps, where illegally parked vehicles created traffic hazards and safety concerns. About 900 people used the service, averaging about 40 people per day on weekends and on Labor Day between August and October 2017.