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Mailbox Peak

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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!
Driving Directions:

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.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 611 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mailbox Peak — Apr 20, 2014 — turayza
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail | No water source
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Great sunny weather today, the trail was mostly dry from yesterday's rain and only small patches of ...
Great sunny weather today, the trail was mostly dry from yesterday's rain and only small patches of mud. There was snow/ice at the top starting when the boulder field begins. It was fairly warm up until the snowline started, and rather chilly at the peak.

We went with hiking poles, I was in athletic shoes. Walking up, we took the boulder field (pictured below) but tried the forest filled with ice and snow coming down from the peak. Would not recommend the forest without spikes--I slipped and slid on my butt a couple times.

Took about 4 hours up and 2 hours down (leisurely pace).
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Mailbox Peak — Apr 20, 2014 — Philo
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mud/Rockslide | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Lots of mud on the trail due to the rains the day before and melting snow. Couple of blowdowns but e...
Lots of mud on the trail due to the rains the day before and melting snow. Couple of blowdowns but easily passable. Some snow on trail once you clear the tree line. I used my spikes in the area where you circumvent the boulders through the woods. That part is a bit sketchy and some care needs to be taken to make sure you stay away from the steep northern dropoff. But other than that not much snow until you reach the top where the mailbox is half buried in 18-24 inches of snow.

Trail is tough as ever. Weather was nice at the top with 360 views. There was a light breeze and then no wind for about 20 minutes. The big peaks were not clearly visible but all the close ones were out in their full spring glory. 2:30 ascent, 1:15 descent.

BTW, thanks to the rangers for not issuing me a ticket. Forgot to take out the Discover Pass from the glove compartment and hang it up. Remembered about half way up but was glad to see only a reminder slip when I got back :)
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Mailbox Peak — Apr 19, 2014 — Shruti
Day hike
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For the first timers and new to hiking we had a false start. We saw the Trailhead and continued stra...
For the first timers and new to hiking we had a false start. We saw the Trailhead and continued straight instead of taking left. After the wrong start we started hiking late at 12.30. It was wet and cold day. Thankfully no snow on the trail till the last part i.e the stones. You have to scramble up the stones to reach the summit. It was too wet and windy at the top so we did not attempt it. There were few who did attempt it successfully.

Overall it was muddy and wet trail. However we enjoyed the hike.
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Mailbox Peak — Apr 19, 2014 — William
Day hike
Issues: No water source
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Packed Snow / Ice is pretty much absent from the trail except just below the bolder field and in the...
Packed Snow / Ice is pretty much absent from the trail except just below the bolder field and in the woods to the left of the boulder field where I had to go with my small dog. Wished I had instep crampons there - the boulder field where everyone else went was fine

Trail is very muddy.

Windy in the open on the way up and down except for strange reason on top where it was dead calm and had been for somewhile according to the two people eating lunch.
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Mailbox Peak — Apr 12, 2014 — YoshiSan
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail | No water source
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Today was a busy day on the trail. I hiked with my dog and we met several other hikers with their do...
Today was a busy day on the trail. I hiked with my dog and we met several other hikers with their dogs on the trail. It seems to me that the tougher the trail, the nicer the people you meet along the way and this trip was no exception.
We had hiked this trail last weekend and found much of the snow that was present last weekend is now starting to melt away, leaving much of the boulder field uncovered. Many people opted for climbing the rocks, but since my dog has relatively short legs, we decided to take the snow route. As expected, when you are on the snow, it was a little chilly, but off the snow, the temps are quiet pleasant. Micro spikes helped on the icy sections (not many and melting fast), without which we would have been on our bottoms as those who decided to try it in tennis shoes.
Overall, it was an enjoyable hike(or as enjoyable as a hike up steep terrain can be).
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Mailbox_19A.JPG
The Mailbox at the summit by Jesse Wise
WTA worked here!
2012, 2013
Location
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest - Snoqualmie District
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 3821 ft
Highest Point 4841 ft
Features
Rivers
Old growth
Mountain views
Summits
Wildlife
User info
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Bandera No. 206

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerMailbox Peak
47.4674166667 -121.67485
  • Youth Trail Work 2013
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
(47.4674, -121.6749) Open in new window
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