Washington has some of the most incredible mountains you’ll ever see. But aside from their captivating beauty from far away, there’s nothing quite like the view you can enjoy from on top. Mailbox Peak in particular is a challenging trip in the North Bend area, but what you’ll find on the summit of this famous Northwest peak is truly extraordinary.
The history of Mailbox Peak dates back to the '60s when a postman named Carl Heine was working as the director of Valley Camp, a Lutheran retreat near the base of the mountain. He had built a mailbox at the top, and challenged the youth to climb the summit behind the camp's facility. To prove that they actually made it, he hid a notebook inside for them to sign.
It's definitely not an easy trip up. The steep path follows up several switchbacks along the northwest face of Mailbox Peak. The summit's new trail goes for about 9.4 miles roundtrip, with about 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Even though the trip is known to be intense, the views from up top and infamous mailbox make it one of the most popular peaks in our state.
There's an old trail that heads up this iconic peak as well, but a new route recently opened in 2014. The previous path had been used for years, however it had become eroded over time so the Department of Natural Resources finally built a new one. It's still tough to climb up, however the new trail offers a much safer trip.
There's usually only one mailbox at the top, however it's been replaced several different times throughout the years, each covered with signatures and stickers. Hikers will often leave handwritten notes and miscellaneous treasures inside the box for the next visitor to discover.
At the top of the summit, you'll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the Cascade mountains, Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak, downtown Seattle and the nearby valleys. It's also covered in vibrant, blooming wildflowers come springtime.
It may be steep, but Mailbox Peak is a classic Northwest hike for good reason. Its unique position at the end of a long ridgeline promises spectacular 360-degree views of Washington unlike anywhere else. And who knows what could be hiding inside the mailbox when you reach the top?
Have you been up Mailbox Peak in Washington before? Share your stories with us below.