Mailbox Peak is one of the most popular day hikes in the Seattle area, lying less than an hour east of the city near North Bend. It even sees plenty of visits in the winter, as the approach is mostly in the trees and is without avalanche danger. So, only a couple weeks after our previous adventure in the area, we headed again to exit 34 of I-90 to access the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road. The trailhead is just beyond where the Middle Fork and Lake Dorothy Roads reconnect, on the righthand side. Almost every time I've passed by the lot it is full to overflowing, and the same was true today, as we needed to park on the shoulder of the road. Unlike most of the other trailheads farther down the road, which require a NW Forest Pass, this trailhead is on state land and thus requires a Washington Discover Pass. The pass was instituted in 2011 when steep funding cuts required the government to raise funds for State Parks and DNR lands in other ways. A yearly pass is $30 and a day pass $10, but the relative scarcity of such sites as trailheads makes the pass less valuable than the NW Forest Pass. In any case, it joins with steep increases in National Park entry fees to make visiting public lands in the US more expensive than ever.
Luckily Kenny had an annual pass, so we didn't need to visit the self-serve kiosk at this lot. As was tradition, we headed out at our usual late hour, leaving the car at 11 AM. We walked up and around the corner of the road to the upper parking lot, which has an outhouse, and continued a short distance along the old road to the trailhead and map.
[photo]01_IMG_3884.jpg[caption]Map just above the parking lot. It discourages people from using the old... To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)
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