Trailhead Direct, the popular transit-to-trails service that connects city dwellers to nearby hiking destinations, will return this week with even more pickup locations and trailheads.
Starting April 20, King County Metro riders can board shuttles from Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Boulevard, University Street, Mount Baker and Capitol Hill light-rail stations — as well as other transit hubs along the routes — to reach the region’s mountain forests on weekends and Metro holidays.
The Sky Country Trailhead in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park has been added as a new destination this year. Hikers can reach the mountain via the shuttle that picks up riders at Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
That route will also stop at the Renton Transit Center and Renton Park-and-Ride. Passengers can stay on the shuttle and continue to the Issaquah Transit Center, where they can transfer to Trailhead Direct routes that serve the Issaquah Alps and Mailbox Peak.
Hikers who board shuttles at the Capitol Hill and University Street light-rail stations, the Eastgate Freeway Station in Bellevue or the North Bend Park-and-Ride can reach Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe and Little Si.
Boarding at the Mount Baker Transit Center or the Eastgate Freeway Station, hikers can reach Margaret’s Way, Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point, the High School Trail and East Sunset Way. That route also stops at the Issaquah Transit Center.
For detailed information about pickup and drop-off times for each site, visit King County’s website.
The service costs about $913,000 to provide this year, with money coming from Metro, the Seattle Department of Transportation and outdoor retailer REI, Metro said.
In its first year, about 900 people used the service. That was about 40 per day on weekends and on Labor Day between August and October.
Last summer, passengers took more than 10,000 trips, King County reported.
In a survey of more than 1,000 respondents, people said they took Trailhead Direct mostly because the service was “more environmentally friendly than driving.” People also said they relied on the shuttle because they don’t own a car and didn’t want to have to worry about finding parking.
Trailhead Direct riders who board from downtown Seattle and Tukwila will arrive at trailheads in less than an hour, the county said.
Shuttles can carry between 13 and 27 passengers, depending on the size of the bus, plus two bicycles for each trip. Rides cost Metro’s standard $2.75 fare.
Passengers can pay with an ORCA card, the Transit GO ticket, or cash with exact change.
Dogs may ride the shuttles, with a Metro operator’s permission. Larger, non-service dogs may require an additional fare.