Hiking Tiger and Granite Mountains

Tiger Mountain
By David Wortman
  |  Gorp.com
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Tiger Mountain Practicalities

Location: Tiger Mountain State Forest

Distance: Tiger Mountain 3 Summit, 5.2 miles round-trip

Elevation gain: Maximum of 2,200 feet

Maps: Green Trails No. 204S — Tiger Mountain, Tiger Mountain State Forest Map

Getting there: To get to Tiger Mountain's High Point Trailhead, drive east from Seattle on Interstate 90, exiting at High Point Road, Exit 20. Take a right, and then another quick right, following the sign for the Tradition Lake Trailhead. The gate is open seven days a week from dawn until 8 p.m. There is a trail map at the trailhead, or Tiger Mountain State Forest maps are available at the chamber of commerce in downtown Issaquah. Green Trails map number 204S also covers the area and is available at the REI store in Seattle.

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If your schedule is squeezed or you're just looking for some quiet downtime wandering in the woods, Tiger Mountain may be your best bet. The mountain is part of Tiger Mountain State Forest, encompassing over 13,000 acres with 80 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails.

Snug in the Cascade Range foothills only 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Tiger Mountain lets you easily plan a morning, afternoon, or even after-work hike during the long Northwest summer days. Because of Seattle's close proximity, Tiger Mountain is a popular destination for sure. Though you may encounter a full parking lot at the trailhead, you may also find a surprising amount of solitude on the trail due to the area's large network of trails, which readily disperses hikers throughout the area.

Spectacular Views Worth the Effort

Tiger Mountain's West Tiger 3 Trail is a good option for peak-baggers and more serious hikers. The trail climbs 2,000 feet over 2.6 miles, at times moderately to steeply, winding under a cool canopy of forest and through stately groves of ferns to Tiger Mountain's western summit. The last 1.2 miles consist of a series of switchbacks with views gradually opening west and north through the trees. From the partially forested summit you'll find spectacular views south and west toward Puget Sound and Mount Rainier, and east toward the heart of the Cascade Range.

Tiger Mountain also offers a healthy variety of more sedate walks well suited to hikers with less time or ambition, or even those with small children.

Try the Bus Road Trail or Around the Lake Trail, which comprise various loops less than two miles long on fairly level terrain, offer views of Tradition Lake, and provide interpretive signs describing the Pacific Northwest plants and animals you're likely to encounter.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 13 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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