Looks like the weather is planning on being nice this weekend. Let's get out for a conditioner this weekend. Make sure to bring some traction device as there is still snow and maybe ice on the trail. We are meeting at 9am at Eastgate P&R. Call me if you get lost. [masked]-6096. This is a pretty steep hike so please know your own fitness level.
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 4100 ft
Highest Point 4926 ft
Wimpy hikers, turn the page. This trail offers nothing for you but pain and heartbreak. If you think you've got the goods to scramble up more than 1000 feet per mile, read on. Mailbox Peak brings a serious burn to the thighs of even the best-conditioned athletes, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. From the top of this jutting lump of rock, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the lower Snoqualmie River valleys. The entire Issaquah Alps range sprawls at your feet, with the rocky-topped Mount Si directly across the Middle Fork Valley and the sheer wall of Rattlesnake Ledge just across the South Fork Valley. After soaking in the views, pull the summit register out and leave your signature--you'll find the tattered pages of a notebook in an old metal mailbox wedged above the summit rocks.
Start hiking by rounding the gate and walking up the road (avoiding all side roads). At around 0.5 mile from your car, watch for a sign on the left marking the Mailbox Peak Trail. This trail is rough-hewn, since it was built by boots and only recently received any real trail work--and that done mostly by ad hoc volunteers.
The trail leaves the road and turns near vertical, climbing ever-more steeply over the next 2.5 miles--the first 0.5 mile of road walking gains only a few hundred feet of elevation, leaving about 3800 feet for the last 2.5 miles. That means you'll be climbing about 1500 feet per mile, and most hikers consider anything over 1000 feet per mile to be steep!
The first mile of climbing makes use of a few switchbacks--though a few more would moderate the pitch more reasonably. From there on, turns and twists become fewer and farther between. The trail climbs with ruthless focus--to get to the top in as direct a line as possible. As you move above 4000 feet, the forest falls away, the views open, and all pretense of switchbacks disappears. You'll now be scrambling up steep, open hillsides. An old forest fire scoured the slope here, removing the tree cover but making space for a wonderful mix of heather, beargrass, and dense huckleberry thickets.
Finally, after one last scramble through the rocky crown around the summit, you're there, standing beside the battered mailbox on the top of Mailbox Peak. After you catch your breath, pat yourself on the back--because if you're on the summit, you've conquered per-haps the most difficult hike in this book!
From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Turn left (north) onto 468th Street and follow it to the junction with the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (Forest Road 56). Turn right and continue up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road to the end of the pavement (about 3 miles from the I-90 exit). Turn right onto a gated road and park, being sure not to block the gate.