Grab your boots, water bottle and ORCA card — Trailhead Direct returns this Saturday, April 21, with seasonal transit service to some of our region’s most popular hiking destinations.
Now you won’t have to hike a mile from your car to the trailhead. You don’t even need a car. Trailhead Direct runs every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays from the Mount Baker Transit Station in South Seattle to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps. It stops along the way at the Eastgate Freeway Station on I-90 just a short walk from the Eastgate Park-and-Ride, and the Issaquah Transit Center.
On May 19, a second Trailhead Direct route to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe will start from Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Link light rail station.
To connect to Trailhead Direct:
- From Seattle: Ride Link light rail to Mount Baker Station and transfer to Trailhead Direct at the Mount Baker Transit Center. Link operates about every 10 minutes during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. See the Link schedule page for more information. Regular Metro routes 7, 8, 14, 48 and 106 also serve Mount Baker Transit Center. Alternatively, ride Sound Transit Route 554 to the Eastgate Freeway Station and transfer to Trailhead Direct there.
- From Bellevue and the greater Eastside: Ride Metro routes 226, 240, 241, 245, and 271 to, or park your car at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride and transfer to Trailhead Direct service that stops at the eastbound and westbound Eastgate Freeway stations, just south of the park-and-ride.
- From Mercer Island: Park your car at the Mercer Island Park-and_Ride, Ride ST 554 and transfer to Trailhead Direct at Eastgate Freeway Station.
Trailhead Direct is being expanded to Seattle and Bellevue this year as the result of a public-private partnership between Metro, King County Parks, the Seattle Department of Transportation, REI Co-op, and Clif Bar and Company. It first launched in August 2017 as a pilot project sponsored by King County Metro’s Community Connections program 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.
For the 2018 hiking season, Trailhead Direct services will operate 13-, 17-, 19- and 27-seat vans with capacity for two bicycles for each trip. Passengers pay Metro’s standard off-peak adult fare of $2.50 until July, when Metro implements a $2.75 flat fare. Passengers can pay with an ORCA card, Transit Go Mobile ticket, or cash.
In early summer, the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead will get Trailhead Direct service from a free satellite parking lot in North Bend. Visit Trailhead Direct online for more information.