Seattle to run bus routes to trailheads

The timber industry used to raise a cry of “elitist backpackers” whenever proposals to create parks, wilderness areas or protected recreation lands in mountains close to Seattle came up for a public hearing.

There are an awful lot of elitists these days, particularly on mountain trails in populous King County. Crowds are such that the first leg of a popular hike is just getting to the overflowing trailhead parking lot.

Enter Trailhead Direct, a program that could use the old Greyhound motto: “Take the bus and leave the driving to us.” The pilot program is already shuttling hikers by Metro bus to nearby out-of-doors.

Buses carried 300 hikers to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps over the weekend of April 21-22, 2018. Service to Mount Si will begin May 19th, and to Mailbox Peak beginning June 16th.

Trailhead Direct is sponsored by King County Parks and Metro’s Community Connections program, explained with the words: “This project seeks to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards and expand access to hiking destinations along I-90.” Outbound buses take off every 30 minutes, starting at 7:44 a.m., the last at 2:37 p.m.

A note on the pricetag: Metro off-peak fares apply, $2.50 for adults 19 and over, $1.50 for ORCA liftware passengers, $1.50 for youths 6 to 18, and free for little kids, up to four traveling with an adult.

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