Tag Archives: parking

Comment period opens for Teneriffe trailhead

The DNR has released detailed project materials for a proposed new Teneriffe trailhead along the Mount Si road. The SEPA documents are available on the project’s web page and comments should be submitted by Sunday, July 24, 2016. The planed site is not at the school bus turn-around, but at a location closer to the Mount Si trailhead. The plan is very similar to the one discussed at the public forum in January, 2016

Update: In mid-August the DNR released the Notice of Final Determination for the Teneriffe parking lot project. Comments were generally positive but with concerns similar to those that came up in the public forums.


Proposed Mount Teneriffe Trailhead location


Proposed Mount Teneriffe Trailhead – Site Plan (Draft for planning purposes only)

DNR hosts Teneriffe trailhead forum

On January 26, 2016 the local DNR staff hosted a neighborhood forum to discuss early stage plans for a new trailhead at the base of Mount Teneriffe. The DNR had previously met with selected neighbors and scheduled a previous forum that was lightly attended because a strong windstorm hit the area that day. This event drew about 40 people, the higher attendance probably due to an article about the meeting in a local newspaper.


Neighbors filter in as the DNR staff prepares to start the meeting

After a brief overview, Doug McClelland of the local DNR office fielded questions and concerns from the audience for over an hour and half. Doug emphasized that the DNR is not trying to draw more recreation related traffic up the narrow SE Mount Si Road, rather it is trying to solve a problem of inadequate parking at the school bus turn-around as the Mount Teneriffe trails become more popular. This Mount Si NRCA project is only one part of a comprehensive Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Plan including DNR lands on Tiger Mountain, the Raging River valley, Rattlesnake Mountain, and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA. Most of the trailheads being developed are close to I-90 and do not involve hikers walking or driving through a residential area. That makes this trailhead particularly sensitive and neighbors from the affected area were not shy to voice their concerns.


  • Parking and traffic on SE Mt Si Road and in nearby neighborhoods. A few spots along the road are legal to park on, but parking in areas where it’s prohibited only incurs a $20 ticket which most felt is not enough of a deterrent.
  • Safety concerns due to hikers walking along the road when the Mt Si parking lot is full. There are no sidewalks and the shoulder is narrow so the hikers often walk in the traffic lanes
  • Increased traffic on a service level 4 road that receives only minimal maintenance. Most of these issues must ultimately be addressed by King County, but integrated planning by all parties and a coordinated request will probably yield the best results.
  • Concerns about visitors trespassing on private property and inappropriate behavior. One resident found visitors having a picnic on her lawn. Some hikers feel free to change clothes in the middle of the street. Ungated parking lots invite activities unrelated to hiking, including some users frequently staying overnight.
  • Concerns about levels of police patrols and enforcement. This is another issue that extends well beyond the DNR, but should be addressed as part of the plan.


Doug McClelland fields neighbors questions and concerns


These problems are not going to be easy to solve, but Doug emphasized that there is good cooperation between the various levels of government and other groups funding the projects. Visitation levels have been increasing for years and doing nothing is not a solution. Some of the possible mitigations discussed were

  • Installing a vending machine for purchase a Discover Pass to reduce pressure to park outside the designated areas
  • Continuing the experiment with a shuttle service started in the summer of 2015. It got a lot of publicity but very little use. Ultimately a shuttle service will be needed for both the Mount Si and Middle Fork areas because there will not be enough parking for the anticipated demand. The Middle Fork paving project actually reduces the number of possible parking places because the road is being raised to improve drainage and this results in steep shoulders.
  • Avoid building new trails beyond those that currently exist in the Mount Si NRCA and encourage use of trails in other nearby areas with better access.
  • Consider electronic surveillance to help safety and law enforcement. Automatically monitoring how full the lots are and making the information available online could direct hikers to less busy areas.
  • Improve signage for parking, pass requirements and purchase, and other nearby hiking options


Attendees got a chance to visit with the local DNR staff after the meeting

Concept Plans

Work on the Teneriffe trailhead and other Snoqualmie Corridor facilities is being funded by a $100,000 grant – RCO 14-1841 Snoqualmie Corridor Facilities Design. The initial thinking when applying for the grant was to build a new parking lot uphill from the school bus turn around where hikers currently park.


An early trailhead concept from the grant application showed a multi-loop parking lot uphill from the school bus turn around, near the water tower.

Work done as part of the grant evaluated the possible trailhead locations more carefully and the preferred site shifted to area B shown below. The DNR staff stressed that these are still concept drawings. Actual plans require significantly more study to evaluate wildlife, drainage, traffic and other impacts.

Locations evaluated for a new trailhead. Relatively flat ground and distance from streams and wetlands are advantageous which made the C and D sites unworkable.


A comparison of the two most likely sites. Site A was initially favored but turned out to have steeper slopes and more difficult drainage problems than site B, the current front runner.

Related news

01/11/2016 Living Snoqualmie – New Hiking Trailhead, 70 Car Parking Lot Planned for Mt. Si Road, Residents Voice Concerns

MTSG dinner features Middle Fork appeal

The Mountain To Sound Greenway held it’s annual celebration dinner on December 2, 2015 at the Washington State Convention Center. As always they presented a series of accomplishments over the year, with the acquisition of land around Valley Camp being of interest here.


Mountain To Sound Greenway Dinner & Celebration. Photo by MTSG via Twitter

Besides that acknowledgement, each seat had a flyer on it with an appeal for contributions to support needed infrastruction in the Middle Fork valley. Pages from that flyer are reproduced here and it’s available as a PDF file from the MTSG website. If this is a cause you support, please consider donating to the MTSG which does an enormous amount of good work there.

Middle Fork 101 – Page 1


Middle Fork 101 – Page 2


Middle Fork 101 – Page 3

Of course, it was gratifying to see the use of two photos from this website’s author.

Sunbathers on rock with Garfield Mountain in the background


Possibly a stump from what may have been Washington’s biggest tree. 42.5′ circumference, 13.5′ diameter

DNR expands NRCA near Mailbox trailhead

An earlier post described potential parking problems across the road from the Mailbox Peak trailhead shortly after a new trailhead was constructed. Today, the DNR announced that they had successfully negotiated a purchase of the five parcels of land including the disputed parking pullout and other parcels surrounding Valley Camp. While there have not been problems reporting by hikers parking in the pullout north of the road the “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs were unnerving. This pullout provides overflow parking when the lot up the hill is full or for hikers who get a late start and might get down after the gate is locked.


Property purchased by Trust for Public Land that will extend the boundaries of the Mailbox Peak NRCA when transferred to the DNR


Mailbox Peak overflow parking on north side of road

According to county records, the property was purchased in August, 2015 by the Trust for Public Lands for $1.4 million. The deal was delayed for years because the seller was not satisfied with the amount being offered by the DNR, saying that it was substantially less than the assessed value he was taxed on — $1.643 million for 2015. The title is expected to be transferred to the DNR in January, 2016 but King County will retain the development rights. It’s good news that the parties were able to come to an agreement as the seller recently cleared old logging roads on the property so potential private buyers could inspect the parcels for sale. This is also good news for Valley Camp which will continue to be surrounded by undeveloped property.

The announcement states that the DNR and others are “exploring options for the property, possibly by restoring roads and access points remaining from timber harvesting as the basis for establishing ADA-friendly trails. This purchase also enables DNR to provide better access and amenities for those coming to hike Mailbox Peak.” It may take a while to realize those ambitions, but the area is already worth a side trip as part of a visit to Mailbox Peak. Most of the old logging roads in the lower areas are excellent for walking with one leading to an old yarding area known as Greg’s Valley View Point. There are no detailed maps of this area so navigational aids such as a GPS are recommended. Please respect Valley Camp’s property and exit via the Mailbox trailhead road.


Spring growth on lower Grouse Ridge road


Greg’s Valley View Point


Some of the old logging roads climbing Grouse Ridge could be easily converted to hiking trails

Related News

Last two miles paved

The last 2 miles of the Middle Fork road were paved in early October, 2014 from the MP 10.6 bridge to the Taylor River campground. The Middle Fork trailhead parking areas were paved at the same time.


Middle Fork trailhead prepped for paving

Aerial shot of Middle Fork Trailhead (from construction newsletter, courtesy of WFLH)

Middle Fork Trailhead parking lot paved (from construction newsletter, courtesy of ACI)


Newly paved Middle Fork trailhead parking lot

Mailbox parking lot open weekends

As of Friday, March 7, 2014 the Mailbox peak parking lot will be open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the same time the concrete gabions with a “No Parking” message in the pullout north of the road were turned around. Is it ok to park here now? Probably not — no agreement has been reached between the DNR and the property owner so if the gate is closed or the parking lot is full you are better off parking on the south (gate) side of the road if there’s room, or along the road.


A welcome open gate


Still lots of room today


Concrete gabions temporarily turned around

Mailbox parking problems



Signboard appears offering land for sale in April, 2011

Trailhead parking for Mailbox Peak has been a problem ever since the hike started appearing in guidebooks in ~2007 and it’s popularity started rising. The DNR built a new parking lot off the road in 2013, but it’s not scheduled to open regularly until the new Mailbox Peak trail is completed in 2014. For many years hikers parked in the pullout on the north side of the road, and in the small loop in front of the gate leading to the trail itself. But some trouble started in 2011 when for sale signs appeared for property on either side of the road.

Typical busy day at Mailbox with the north pullout full and overflow parking along the road


Location of parcels


“Sale Pending” in 2012

Nothing changed for a year and a half until the property was nearly sold and “Sale Pending” placards appeared. But something clearly went south because the property was not sold and a year later four large concrete blocks were placed in the pullout parking area with messages making it very clear that parking was forbidden. In the next couple weeks an access road to the parcels on the south side was cleared and more concrete blocks showed up.

Excavator opening access to property


Cleared road provides access to property for sale

This site does not cover private property issues other than transfers to public status, so no attempt will be made to explain this sequence of events. However, as of February, 2014 the DNR seems to be negotiating to purchase these properties to prevent development from creeping farther up the valley.

Mailbox parking lot opens

As of July 1, 2013 Mailbox Peak hikers can start using the new parking lot on weekends and holidays from 7am to dusk. Don’t know when dusk is? It will be posted on the gate so you will know ahead of time what time to be back to your car. The hours are limited to prevent late-night partying — city (North Bend), county (King) and state (DNR) budget crunches prevent frequent patrols of the parking lot.

As at many easily accessible trailheads, vandalism continues to be a problem. Cars parked along the road experience regular breakins, most often the less busy days (Monday through Thursday) when the perpetrators are likely to be alone long enough to avoid detection. Never leave valuables in the car while hiking.

This gallery captures a series of steps in the construction of the new parking lot. Enjoy the restrooms!

More construction photos in this August 2012 post.

Mailbox parking lot

DNR begins construction of the new Mailbox Peak parking lot.


Building a solid shoulder for 2 lane access to the parking lot


Many trucks coming and going


Later the same day the shoulder has been built up to the level of the former single-lane road


View toward the new Mailbox parking area