Hike Mailbox Peak

5.4 miles 4200 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Mikaela Tangeman

Mailbox peak is an extremely tough 5.4 miles roundtrip. Once you make it to the summit, the view is simply incredible. 

Note this adventure covers the old route. For the updated route, check out Hike Mailbox Peak New Trail.

Take exit 34 from I-90. Head north on 468th Ave SE until the intersection with the SE Middle Fork Road. Turn right onto the Middle Fork Road. Follow SE Middle Fork Road 2.2 miles to the stop sign at the junction with SE Dorothy Lake Road. Head left onto SE Middle Fork Road. Take the turnoff to the trailhead on the right and continue a short distance to the parking lot.

The greatest reward is the joy of the effort itself and of digging deep within yourself to find the strength to conquer the mighty Mailbox and be able to place your name in the summit register. The register is contained – appropriately enough – in a mailbox someone installed at the top. The views and scenery along the way are few to none, mostly forest trekking. But once you break to the infamous Mailbox scramble the views of Rainier and the valley are UNREAL.

The way down is worse than the way up. Bring trekking poles. This is not an easy hike, it seems short but the elevation gain is 4200 ft of straight vertical trails. Put your name or a memorable note in the Mailbox at the top, there is a designated hiker who collects everything in the Mailbox and places it in the King County Library Archive :)

It is important to note that this adventure features the old Mailbox Peak Trail. The new trail is approximately 11 miles roundtrip. If you choose to hike the old trail, remember to follow the white diamonds (trees marked). The old and new trail meet approximately 1 mile from the peak. The last 1/2 mile gains about 1000 ft altitude, and is a light scramble to the actual mailbox.

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Overall rating: 

over 3 years ago

Love/hate Relationship

The old trail is awesome. You get an amazing workout out in all while working on navigating skills through the solid 1/2+ mile that is washed out. The views at the top are beyond worth enduring the grueling incline. Please keep in mind this trail is used to train for people who are planning on summiting Mount Rainer and is recognized as one of the top five hardest hikes in Washington. That being said, always carry the ten essentials with you and bring a buddy. Happy hiking!

Old trail is a burner

went up on Saturday, found parking in the main lot pretty easy - arrived by 8:00am. Cars were stacking up on the road, a few spots left in the main lot. be careful when parking on the main road. primarily due to inconsiderate hikers who will park anywhere and block you in. The old trail is steep but still in pretty good condition. very few people on the trail, mostly encountering folks jogging down. even though you are tired, you still need to pay attention to the trail as there are some offshoots that can be mistaken and get you off trail if you're not paying attention. Once you come to the old trail/ new trail junction the bolder field begins. pretty easy to follow the trail - from the boulders, you still have a steep 1/4 to 1/2 mile of trail to the summit - keep at it - you are almost there. Once at the summit....it was all worth it. It was pretty crowded, about 30 or so people at the summit,there was still room for pictures and finding a place to eat some lunch. while we had low clouds on Saturday, you could still see Baker poking her head out through the clouds.


I recommend taking the old trail up & the new trail down. Hiking poles are helpful - and mosquitos were biting me...so bug spray for sure:) I wouldn't start too much later than 1pm or so..

over 4 years ago

Bring Your Endurance Game

Beautiful hike. It's around 9.5 miles round trip. There's lots of mud on the trail so get ready to be dirty. The most challenging section is one mile from the top. Bring lots of water and determination.

over 4 years ago

Distance incorrect

Never take directions from a woman. Hike is actually 9 miles round trip (GPS) not 5.4. Great view but watch out for the weather, gets pretty cold at the top. Just kidding about the woman joke. ;)

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