Ride a Bus to Issaquah Area Trails: Trips Free First Weekend
A new bus route will serve trails in the Issaquah area. The pilot program kicks off this weekend with free rides. The new bus routes will help address overcrowding at trailheads and give hikers an affordable way to get to trails.
“Park, Ride and Hike” is the new slogan of King County Parks and Metro Transit’s pilot program called “Trailhead Direct,” which begins this Saturday. On Friday, collaborators of the pilot program and community members gathered at Margaret’s Way Trailhead, one of the trails that will be accessible via Trailhead Direct, to celebrate a milestone in access to public lands.
Starting at either Issaquah Transit Center or Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride, both of which have plenty of parking spaces and are a bus ride away from downtown Seattle, you can take the Trailhead Direct to the following trailheads: Margaret’s Way, Poo Poo Point and the Puget Power Trail. The service will run every 30 minutes on weekends and designated holidays, through mid-October. The fare is $2.50 for adults (over 19), $1.50 for youth (6-18), $1 for Regional Reduced Fare Permit cardholders and children may ride for free. Orca cards are also accepted.
At the launch event, Bill Bryant, Metro’s managing director, said Trailhead Direct brings together two things the Northwest is famous for: innovation and the outdoors.
The transit route is a smart solution to the growing population in Seattle, which has began to cause problems associated with overcrowding at trailheads, said Jon Hoekstra, executive director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Road congestion and a lack of parking spaces that results in people parking on the road is a safety hazard, but with Trailhead Direct, the impact of people wanting to get to trails should be reduced.
“Trailhead Direct is going to transform park and rides into park and plays,” Hoesktra said.
As more people are eager to hike around the beautiful public lands of our state, services like the Trailhead Direct will become increasingly important to ensure equal access. Not only does this make hiking in the Issaquah Alps accessible for more people, but it also has a smaller footprint on the environment we love to play in as well.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
On August 5 and 6, Trailhead Direct will be free to ride. It’s a great chance to give this pilot project a shot, and experience a hike without the stress of finding parking or sitting in traffic. The more people use the new route, the more the need for transit services like this will be recognized, Hoekstra said. If you do get out on trail, we’d love to hear how it goes. Let us know in a trip report.