Dog Friendly Trail: Mailbox Peak – Oops We Did It Again

Girls holds Dachshund on the top of Mailbox PeakThe Mailbox Peak trail is one of the hardest dog friendly Northwest trails.  We returned a mere three weeks after our first, failed attempt – a terrible, I’m-never-doing-that-again experience.

I totally wasn’t planning on hiking it again – maybe never but at least not until the end of the summer – but I got caught up in the hype. After I complained about how horrible the hike was shared my adventure story in my Facebook hiking group, Mailbox Peak became a hot topic.

People started talking about how hard it was and that grabbed the attention of one particular hiking animal who spends part of his time in Seattle. He was flying in for business so a group of people wanted to take him up Mailbox Peak. They put it out there for others to join and I couldn’t pass up the challenge.

Mailbox Peak Trail is steep
It’s This Steep

I did prepare better this time. I only took Gretel and took trail crampons so I wouldn’t fall on my ass again (review coming later). It took us 3.5 hours to get about a half mile from the summit on our first attempt.

Mailbox Peak Trail Elevation
How Close We Were to the Summit on the First Attempt

Mailbox Peak 5

I was hoping to make it to the top in the same amount of time.

There is nothing like fear to motivate you. Our group got a later start to our hike than we planned and I was afraid that Gretel and I would have to hike out in the dark. Although not preferred, I am usually not averse to hiking a few miles of trail with a headlamp. However, this was NOT a trail I would be comfortable with.

Basically, I took less breaks this time and I think I even hiked a little faster. It was like a turtle race to the top. Gretel and I arrived at the famed mailbox in a mere 3 hours.

I was to exhausted and delirious to get many good photos. I did take a second to take in the beautiful view of Mt. Rainier, check the mail, and scarf down a sandwich before hurrying back to the car.

Mailbox Peak summit with Mount Rainier in the distance
That’s Mount Rainier in the Distance

a miniature Dachshund hikes to the top of mailbox peakWe made it to the mailbox so I can officially check Mailbox Peak off of my bucket list. I MAY go back in the face of a good challenge again but, honestly, this hike is pretty miserable. The UP is steeper than most people feel is humanly possible to hike and the down consists of 3 hours of tiny, slippery root stairs.

I don’t feel like as much of a wimp though because even seasoned hikers thought it was hard. One guy and his dog made it up in 2 hours – a whole hour faster than I – but even this in-shape hiker fell and said he doesn’t plan to go back. A post on PocketRanger blog describes the trail as “sketchy” and “brutal”.

You earn quite the bragging rights for making it to the top but don’t say you weren’t warned.

Trail Stats:

Trail Name: Mailbox Peak
Distance: 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 3,821 feet
Highest Point: 4,841 feet
Permits and Passes: Discover Pass required to park at the trailhead

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


    1. The mailbox is a weird thing. No one knows how the original one got up there. SOMEBODY packed it up. Can you imagine that? I guess it has disappeared a few times over the years and someone packed a new one up. There is a book inside to sign. People leave little presents/trinkets too. I left some business cards for our blog 🙂

  1. Good for you! That looks SO SO beautiful up there! The mailbox thing is super cool also!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your adventure!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  2. WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!!! Well done you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I could never, ever do that!
    I am beyond impressed!
    Your photos are just fabulous too!

    1. Thanks Caren. It’s pretty easy to get good photos when all you have to do is point and shoot. The scenery does the rest 🙂

  3. Congrats! Beautiful view from there.
    I just have a question about hiking with a smaller dog. (we have a chihuahua)
    Did you carry Gretel part of the way? If so, in a pack or what would you suggest?

    1. No, I do not have to carry Chester and Gretel when we hike. I am going to start exploring packs for Chester this year since he is getting old and may not be able to keep up for too much longer. I want to get him used to whatever we use now instead of right when we need it. I do have a couple of packs to try downstairs but I can’t remember what they are. I will look later and let you know. I suspect they would work fine for a Chihuahua but it’s hard to find something safe for a Doxie’s long back.

    1. I call her my accidental athlete (that’s what her Pack profile says) because she is tiny and doesn’t know that things are supposed to be hard. Ha, ha.

  4. TOTALLY AWESOME!! I am now adding this to our “must do” list!! thanks for the review … and I am glad you pushed on!

  5. That trail is steep! And the snow looks so cold! The view at the top is gorgeous though. Congrats on making it to the top and not falling or hiking back in the dark. Gretal is adorable.

    1. Thanks.I plan to do it again this summer. Gretel and I just hiked 8 miles to Blanca Lake yesterday and are both a little sore…so Mailbox will have to wait a bit.

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