The sunshine we ordered for your weekend plans is about to deliver, along with the anticipated launch of expanded Trailhead Direct bus service to the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead.
Mailbox Peak is the latest addition to the Trailhead Direct pilot project, sponsored by King County Parks and Metro’s Community Connections program. The newly launched bus route offers a convenient shuttle from the Twin Falls Middle School in North Bend that loops every 20 minutes for a quick return. The school has about 125 parking spaces and is on the way to the trailhead, which makes it a great spot to drop the car and pick up a shuttle without any trailhead parking headaches waiting for you.
Trailhead Direct addresses our region’s growing challenge of trailhead congestion and the safety issues that come with it. And the first few months have shown promising improvements. Since the initial launch of the Mt. Baker to Issaquah Alps route in early spring, the bus service has logged more than 4,000 boardings and counting. The service is designed to get your hike off on the right foot by easing the uncertainty around limited parking at congested trailheads – nobody really wants to spend their Saturday trying to park bumper to bumper at a 45 degree angle. It’s proving to be an easy way to get you exactly where you want to go – hiking! – and back again.
Mailbox Peak is popular for its rigorous 4,000 foot elevation gain and a legendary mailbox at the peak. Hikers are delighted by the chance to find a written treasure inside the mailbox or leave a trinket behind for the next fellow hiker to reach the top. Reaching the peak and opening the mailbox is a special experience that brings frequent visitors. The work to keep the trail viable for these visitors has been rooted in many years of recreation enhancement projects implemented throughout the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley.
At the western edge of a vast Cascades wilderness, the Middle Fork Valley is a wildly beautiful landscape that attracts visitors with safe and easy access adjacent to the 15th largest city in the nation. This is where a growing number of Washingtonians find adventure and respite, and nurture their connection to the outdoors. With trail systems leading to alpine lakes, old-growth forests, mountain peaks, and historical sites, the Middle Fork Valley is one of the jewels of our region.
Our challenge: How do we not love the Middle Fork to death? With increased visitation comes a responsibility to steward this special place. A huge amount of work has gone into conserving and cleaning up the Middle Fork Valley over the past 20 years in the midst of continued growth in our region. The Greenway Trust is leading a collaborative effort to take care of this Valley. Learn more about current projects in the Middle Fork Valley.
Trailhead Direct is an example of the type of creativity that is needed to take care of our region’s special open spaces. It 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. King County Parks
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.