King County’s Trailhead Direct is returning on April 20 for a second full season. This year, the transit-to-trails service returns with more routes.
Trailhead Direct is a pilot project co-led by King County Metro and King County Parks. The pilot project hopes to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards and expand access to hiking destinations along Interstate 90.
The 2019 season will include more pick-up sites with services to more trailheads. The four routes include Cougar Mountain, Issaquah Alps, Mailbox Peak and Mount Si, all with their own trailhead.
The newest route offers service to the Sky Country Trailhead in Cougar Mountain Regional Widland Park. The route will start at Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Boulevard station, with stops at the Renton Transit Center and Renton Highlands. Hikers have the option to continue to the Issaquah Transit Center where they can transfer to Trailhead Direct routes to additional hikes in the Issaquah Alps, or east to Little Si, Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe and Mailbox Peak.
At Little Si, a new drop-off and pick-up location was designed and constructed. Trailhead Direct Mailbox Peak returns with service starting at the Issaquah Transit Center with a stop at the North Bend Park-and-Ride.
Three of the four routes connect to Sound Transit Link light rail. Transfers between Trailhead Direct routes are accessible at Eastgate Freeway Station, Issaquah Transit Center, and North Bend Park-and-ride.
Hikers can board Trailhead Direct at four Sound Transit Link light rail stations: Tukwila International Boulevard, University Street, Mount Baker and Capitol Hill. All four routes connect to transit hubs including the Issaquah Transit Center, Eastgate Freeway Station in Bellevue and the North Bend Park-and-Ride.
Executive Dow Constantine has said the transit-to-trails service offers the “opportunity to give everyone access to the great outdoors, to the magnificent wilderness and recreation opportunities that King County has to offer.”
More than 10,000 hikes were accomplished last year through Trailhead Direct.
Trailhead Direct Operates vehicles with as many as 27 seats, and they all have a rack for either two or three bikes. Passengers pay the standard $2.75 Metro fee, or pay with an ORCA card, Transit Go Mobile ticket, or cash with exact change.
Issaquah Alps Trails Club executive director Lindsay Frickle said the club is thrilled to partner with Trailhead Direct and it is looking forward to offering a variety of accessible guided hikes.
“We are very excited about the new route to the Sky County Trailhead at Cougar Mountain Regional Widland Park,” Frickle said. “We look forward to guiding more hikers of all abilities via Trailhead Direct this spring and summer.”
To learn more about Trailhead Direct, go online to www.trailheaddirect.org.