While people have often been advised against leaving things of value in cars parked at trailheads, this one is new to me. Friends just told us that the catalytic converter was stolen from their Prius 2 days ago, while it was parked at a popular trailhead near Seattle.
While I had heard about this theft problem, I had no idea that it was such a big threat here, nor that it might occur at a trailhead parking area in broad daylight. Apparently the Prius is the most popular target, because their CC's are deemed more likely to be in good condition ( since the gas engine does not operate much of the time the car is on the road). But other vehicles are also vulnerable---mainly pickups and SUV's with higher clearance, so the thieves can get underneath to do their dirty work without jacking up the car.
I am posting this for the benefit of visitors who will be renting cars (especially SUV's) to access trailheads for hiking this summer. Regulars here routinely advise travelers that most rental car contracts contain a prohibition against driving on unpaved roads. Many are going to do so anyway, deeming the risk of actually causing damage to the vehicle to be fairly low if they are careful. They are probably justified in thinking that----at least until they consider this additional possibility.
I think we will use our electric Chevy Bolt to access our hiking this summer instead of our SUV.