I have done the Mailbox Peak Hike many times, yet somehow it has always escaped becoming a part of this site. It could be because I’m too tired by the time I get back home. Or, it could be because I don’t want to be the "next hiker" with my photo by the mailbox.
Either way, Mailbox peak hike is a Washington state legend and it must get its day. Over the past few years a new trail got installed making the summit far easier to attain. While I still love to hike the old trail to the summit of Mailbox, the two combine for a loop that is growing on me.
To get to the old trail, hike up the road from the parking lot. After half a mile there is a faint trail that leads off into the woods. There are some warning signs about the danger in front of you. Heed them as the trail is no joke. The “old” trail is a brutal hike straight up the side of Mailbox peak.
Right now it is icy and snow-covered starting halfway up the hill. microspikes or some kind of traction are must this time of year if you want to take the old trail. There is nothing to distract you from the climbing. You will be in the woods for several hours. It will hurt and you will question why you are doing this.a
On this occasion, in the area where the old and new trails meet, there was a considerable amount of snow. Though, there always seems to be an ample size boot path to follow to the summit. From here follow the switchbacks and other climbers. You will cross a large boulder field amongst other features as you work toward the summit.
Heading through the rock fields the snow was deep and icy. I had crampons to get me through it, though many people seemed to be doing fine with less intense traction.
Reaching the end of the Mailbox Peak hike felt like a joyous end to a trying moment. The several times that I have stood on this peak I get the same feeling. I wish I could freeze the moment in time along with the sense of accomplishment that climbing it brings. Instead, I will have to settle for another photo with the famed mailbox. After all, I know I will return again at some point when I forget how painful it is to reach the summit.
Though it is not the tallest of mountains you will get some great views from the summit. Rainier dominates to the south while dirty box and Dirty harry’s peak lay to the east.
On your way back down, be careful to follow the main trail past the trail junction. It should be obvious as you walk. The new trail is very easy to follow and well-cut compared to the old one. This will allow you a good loop of both of Mailbox peak's trails.
An excellent way to start off the new year. Can’t wait to see what the rest of it holds in store.