It's true we are no strangers to hard hikes (see: Grouse Grind), but we wouldn't say we exactly seek them out. What we do love here at Rain or Shine Guides and what we WILL seek out is weird stuff (see: Hat N' Boots). When we heard there was a 4,800 foot+ mountain peak with a mailbox installed on it, we decided, yes, that's weird and we must see it. It didn't matter that Mailbox Peak is arguably one of the hardest hikes in the Snoqualmie area. Weird stuff is always worth it.
Nobody knows exactly why a longtime letter carrier decided to install a mailbox at this particular mountain, but it is what gives this peak its name and is what made it famous. There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain. You can go the old way, which is so steep it's considered a vertical incline, gaining almost all of that 4,800 feet in 2.5 miles. Fair warning now...it's unrelenting. It's torture. It will make you call your Mom crying. The trail will start with a well worn path but quickly becomes a mess of trees, and you must follow the white diamonds stapled to the trees to find the rest of the way to the top. Your other option is the new trail, which was built not too long ago as a result of all the injuries and rescues that were occurring on the old trail. So, why would you even consider the old trail, you ask? The new trail is nothing but a sea of switchbacks and will take you over twice the distance (9.4 miles roundtrip). We decided to take the old trail up and the new trail down, and this worked out well. It cut the distance a bit, but felt safer overall. No matter what option you take, remember to take your time. Your quads, knees, back, calves and sanity will thank you.
When you do finally reach the top, give yourself a pat on the back, crack open one of those beers you remembered to pack, and take in the 360 degree panoramic views.
Insider tip: People leave all sorts of interesting things in the mailbox. It's fun to bring a small token with you to leave or to swap out for something different. We brought a Marshawn Lynch themed poker chip because nothing is more beast mode than this hike. Also, don't forget your Discover Pass!