Update, May 16: With Issaquah Alps service well underway—we gave it a try on opening weekend—King County Metro is preparing to launch service from Capitol Hill to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe, with stops downtown and at the Eastgate and North Bend park and rides. The new route starts this weekend, on May 19.
Want more hikes you can get to without a personal vehicle? Earlier this month, we explored 10 hikes you can get to car-free, including the destinations just added to Trailhead Direct.
Original article, April 6:
While Seattleites, for the most part, aren’t driving their cars to work, there are a few activities that make giving up that Subaru Outback a little daunting. Among them: the classic Northwest pastime of hitting one of our many area hiking trails.
But there are a lot of issues in inherent to driving to a trail. Aside from passenger vehicles being responsible for around half of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions, parking around the trailheads can fill up really fast for everyone but the earliest birds.
One solution: Trailhead Direct, a shuttle bus that moves hikers between Seattle transit centers and various trailheads along Interstate 90 on weekends and holidays.
The vans shuttle passengers along two routes with different hiking destinations. One route runs from the Mount Baker station to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps like Poo Poo Point. A second route runs from the Capitol Hill station to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe. Both make a few extra stops along the way to pick up passengers at park and rides or other central locations.
The Issaquah Alps route starts service April 21; the bus to Mount Si starts a month later on May 19. Vans have capacities of either 19 or 27, and each can carry two bikes.
The service first started running last August to help reduce congestion and illegal parking along the Issaquah trailheads, and was apparently popular enough to return for the whole hiking season this year. The King County Metro shuttles are actually a private/public partnership between King County Metro, the Seattle Department of Transportation, REI, and Clif Bar.