“Trailhead Direct” is a seasonal service that operates on weekends and designated holidays from spring through fall. The shuttles leave the Issaquah Transit Center every 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and drop off and pick up hikers at three trailheads in the Cascade Mountain foothill. Riders are charged regular Metro off-peak fares.
Trailhead Direct gives everyone has access to more than 5,000 acres of protected lands with 150 miles of hiking trails, even if they don’t own a car. The program provides access to some of the most beautiful places King County has to offer with convenient, reliable and affordable service.
- Trailhead direct is sponsored by King County Metro’s Community Connections Program and King County Parks.
- For more information about Trailhead Direct visit kingcounty.gov/trailheaddirect. Note for 2019: The trailheaddirect site is not working as of April 5, 2019. In 2018, the service began in mid-May, so hopefully the site will be updated by then.
King County Metro ORCA card
We recommend that hikers get an ORCA card, which means you can use Metro services without bringing cash or exact change for the bus ride.
Of course, if you use public transportation daily, then you already know about it. But if you don’t, it’s a handy item to carry with you.
An ORCA card can be filled with a small amount of cash and never expires. (I keep one on hand for trips to the airport, link Light Rail use, snow days, or any other public transportation need that might crop up. It has saved me more than once!)
About Trailhead Direct Pilot Progam
In the first year, Trailhead Direct transit vans departed the Issaquah Transit Center and made stops at the Margaret’s Way trailhead at Cougar-Squak Corridor Park, the Poo Poo Point trailhead on West Tiger Mountain, then the East Sunset Way Trailhead in Issaquah. The service continued its route with a stop at the Issaquah Highlands park-and-ride before returning to the Issaquah Transit Center to begin another loop.
The project was developed beginning in the summer of 2017, in response to growing vehicle congestion at several popular trailheads, where illegally parked vehicles along busy roads created significant traffic hazards and safety concerns.
“In the Mountains to Sound Greenway we have long worked to create a ‘Wilderness on the Metro,’ and the Trailhead Direct pilot program represents a powerful step toward making our great outdoors more accessible by public transportation,” said Jon Hoekstra, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Executive Director. “One by one we’re pulling down the barriers to getting people outside to enjoy the trails and natural spaces that our region is renowned for. Congratulations to King County Parks and King County Metro on launching this pilot program.”
King County agencies had help from a number of partners in developing the pilot program, including Mountains to Sound Greenway, Washington Trails Association, The Mountaineers, Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Outdoors For All Foundation, TOTAGO (Turn Off The App – Go Outside!), REI, The Wilderness Society, Washington Department of Natural Resources, City of Issaquah, Si View Metropolitan Park District and the U.S. Forest Service.