Mailbox Peak Hike

Mailbox Peak is one of those character builder hikes. It’s also another popular hike that I’ve never done. It’s a 9.4 mile round trip with 4000 ft of elevation gain.

We are meeting at the Preston Park & Ride at 6:30.

The weather forecast looks good. Should be fun.

Driving Directions

Take exit 34 from I-90. Head north on 468th Ave SE for approximately half a mile until the intersection with the SE Middle Fork Road. Turn right onto the Middle Fork Road. Follow SE Middle Fork Road 2.2 miles to the stop sign at the junction with SE Dorothy Lake Road. Head left onto SE Middle Fork Road and drive .3 miles. Take the turnoff to the trailhead on the right and continue a short distance up the paved road to the paved parking lot with 40 spots and a vault toilet.

I’ve never done this hike mostly because it’s one of those that has the reputation of just being hard without much payoff. It’s also close to Seattle so it’s very popular. The same reasons that I’ve never hiked the even more popular Mt. Si.

There was a lot of people but contrary to expectations the payoff was also pretty good.

We got to the trail head early, around 7:00 and even that early the sizable parking lot was mostly full. It was a partly cloudy day but with the promise of sun.

There are two trails up to the peak. The one we took was put in a few years ago to replace a shorter (i.e. steeper) one. It was a nicely maintained trail

Our track is in red, the old trail is the white dotted one to the south

It’s 4000 feet of elevation gain so you shouldn’t expect a lot of level paths, just relentless up.

Note that it gets even steeper after mile 4.5 or so to the top. The steep part begins at a talus field

Up to the left

The path is pretty well marked and laid out like steps in many places. It’s not too bad.

At this point we were above the clouds which made for some dramatic views

Of course, the reason everyone comes is to see and put stuff in the mailbox

Mail call!

Why is there a mailbox at the top? There is a report that claims it was dragged up there in 1960 by a letter carrier named Carl Heine. This is corroborated by a few other sites but who knows? It’s a nice destination nonetheless.

There were a lot of people up there. If you’re looking for solitude pick another peak. It was pretty though. Lots of bear grass in bloom at this time of year.

It’s definitely worth another trip. Next time I’ll bring something to post.