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Tiger Mountain Trail North

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The crown jewel of the Tiger Mountain trail network will be thirty years old in 2009: the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) officially opened on October 13, 1979. This long trail meanders across the three main Tiger peaks, running some 16 miles from the southeast side of the big mountain all the way across to the northwest corner of the Tiger Mountain State Forest. This hike--the northern end of the TMT--is one of the more scenic stretches you'll find, with grand views and plenty of natural habitat to explore.

With the maze of trails leading away from the trailhead, make sure you are heading south on the path signed "TMT." The trail leads out from the parking lot on the Bus Trail. In just a few paces, turn left onto the West Tiger 3 Trail, then make a quick left again onto the TMT.

The TMT leads east along the Tradition Plateau, running under the broken canopy of a mixed-aged forest. In less than 1 mile the route turns south and climbs a steep series of switchbacks, ascending the northern spine of West Tiger Mountain. This steep climb can be a scorcher in midsummer, since the forest around the trail is mostly young alder and maple. This area was logged repeatedly through the first half of the twentieth century.

At around 1 mile (elev. 1350 ft) the trail sweeps southeast around the nose of the ridge and then climbs more gradually as it traverses into the headwaters of the West Fork High Point Creek. During this traverse of the ridge nose you'll encounter increasingly older and mature forest as past logging operations fall behind you. You'll find massive Douglas-firs and hemlocks--even a few cedars. A high, wide bridge spans the deep cut of the creek.

A final 0.75 mile leads around another ridge nose into the main branch of High Point Creek. Just past the creek crossing you'll intersect the High Point Trail at a viewpoint. Turn back here and enjoy a relaxing hike back down the forested path.
Driving Directions:

From I-90 take exit 20 and then turn right onto the frontage road parallel-ing the interstate. In just under 0.5 mile the road ends at a gate. The gate opens daily, though it is closed and locked at 7:00 PM. Park outside the gate if you'll be returning late in the day. Otherwise, continue another 0.4 mile to the Tradition Plateau trailhead.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 37 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Bootleg Trail, Dwight's Way, Tiger Mountain Trail North, K-3 Trail — Apr 10, 2014 — Quantum Guru
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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A long ramble in the Tigers - about 11 miles - and without reaching a summit. Parked at the big lot ...
A long ramble in the Tigers - about 11 miles - and without reaching a summit. Parked at the big lot at High Point and took the TMT as far as the K3 Trail. Then up the K3 to rejoin the TMT.

Followed the TMT around the south side of W. Tiger, with Mt. Rainier visible occasionally through the haze. Past the Hopping Bridge, past Lone Rock, and as far as Custer's Bridge over Fifteen Mile Creek.

Then back to the Fifteen Mile RR Grade / Paw Print Connector to reach the Bootleg and Preston Trails. Finally, via Dwight's Way and the High Point Trail, back to High Point (but, at the east end, still a half-mile of mostly-road walking to reach the parking lot.)

A beautiful day to be out. More wildflowers now. Lots of trilliums, some yellow violets, coltsfoot, and salmon berry. And skunk cabbage in many of the more swampy spots (even some along Fifteen Mile Creek just downstream from the bridge.)

Trails in good shape. Moist, but only rarely muddy. No major blowdowns. All the small streams still running. Not much wildlife today, just the usual small birds and some squirrels.

The bulldozed "road" heading north from the Paw Print Rest Stop is still rather unsightly, and seems to extend a bit further north now than when I first noted it (my Jan 6, 2014, trip report.) Must be for eventual logging access but, perversely, a few trees large enough to be logged have just been pushed aside to make way for the road with no indication they will be salvaged.

Lots of cars parked in the big lot, but apparently their drivers had other routes in mind today. I encountered only four other hikers, all on the TMT, two at Tom's Crossing and two more near Ron's Corner. Apart from them, I had the trails all to myself.
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Tiger Mountain Trail North, Cable Line Trail, K-3 Trail, West Tiger 2, West Tiger 3, West Tiger Railroad Grade — Mar 27, 2014 — HikingwiththeBlackDog
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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Trail Dog Lucy slept in this morning and missed a great misty morning walk in the woods. Parked out...
Trail Dog Lucy slept in this morning and missed a great misty morning walk in the woods. Parked outside on the road near the trailhead to avoid the moonscape that awaits past the gate.

Did a quick loop covering Tiger 2 & 3 using some of the lesser traveled trails and a little scouting on some side trails. Saw only a few hikers all morning including at the top of the normally densely populated west Tiger 3 summit.

 All the trails were in remarkably good condition with only the occasional squishy spot. That is to say, all but the Cable Line which was miserable... i.e. normal. No photos from the Cable Line... needed both hands and both feet to keep from doing a "dirt glissade" on the way down. Good times!
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Tiger Mountain Trail North — Mar 22, 2014 — icenine
Day hike
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Easy 25 minute run around Tradition Plateau. Parked at gate at 7:00 PM and got back at 7:30. 6 car...
Easy 25 minute run around Tradition Plateau. Parked at gate at 7:00 PM and got back at 7:30. 6 cars with broken glass side windows. We suspect some of the hikers milling about only looked like hikers.

Disgusted! There was nothing visible to take either.
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Adventure Trail, West Tiger 3, Tiger Mountain Trail North — Feb 27, 2014 — bockdip
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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West Tiger 3 Trail was in fine shape. Didn't see any snow until about 2100 feet, and none on the tr...
West Tiger 3 Trail was in fine shape. Didn't see any snow until about 2100 feet, and none on the trail until the last stretch below the summit. I then headed south toward West Tiger 2 and turned east on the TMT. There was a fair amount of snow in this section, mostly 1-2 inches. Heading down the steep section of TMT below West Tiger 2 I was glad I had poles. By the time I hit the K-3 trail, though, the trail was completely snow-free, and there were no further issues as I followed the TMT back to the Tradition Lake trailhead.
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Nook Trail, Around the Lake Trail, Swamp Trail, Tiger Mountain Trail North, Cable Line Trail, West Tiger 3, Talus Rock Trail — Feb 21, 2014 — George & Sally
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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I had not hiked on the north side of Tiger Mtn. in over a year. Started this loop trip from the High...
I had not hiked on the north side of Tiger Mtn. in over a year. Started this loop trip from the High Point Trailhead. Hiked the connector trail east to the parking area for the Cable Line Trail. Went up the trail that switchbacks up to the PSE power line, then the trail goes straight up the steep hill side. When I got to the Tiger Mtn. Trail, I headed back down hill to the West Tiger No. 3 Trail. Then went up hill to the junction with the Talus Rock Trail. Hiked this trail over to Talus Caves. Along the way there was some snow on the trail and the tall water fall at the unnamed creek that was flowing at a good rate. From the caves I hiked down the Nook Trail.

About half way down the Nook Trail, I stopped for lunch at the wooden bench that over looks the creek from the waterfall. A few other hikers were heading up as I ate. After lunch I hiked down to the Bus Trail and went west. At the trail junction by the old bus body, I took the trail around the west side of Tradition Lake. At the lake view spot I could see a few ducks swimming. From there I took the power line trail over to the Swamp Trail and hiked it back to the parking lot to complete the loop. Didn't see to many hikers, except on the West Tiger No. 3 Trail, where there were many people heading up or down the trail. On the other trails I saw very few other hikers. So if you get off of the main trail to West Tiger No. 3, you'll have a better time with no crowds. When I got back to the parking lot, it began to rain. Other hikers were just starting their hikes, some wearing cotton sweatpants. No to waterproof for a winter hike.
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whitebark.jpg
Tiger Mountain Trail: North. Photo by Whitebark
WTA worked here!
2011
Location
Issaquah Alps -- Tiger Mountain
Department of Natural Resources, South Puget Sound Region
Statistics
Roundtrip 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1100 ft
Highest Point 1500 ft
Features
Old growth
Mountain views
Wildlife
User info
Dogs allowed on leash
May encounter pack animals
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Snoqualmie Pass
Green Trails Tiger Mountain No. 204S

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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47.52965 -121.9957
  • Trail Work 2011
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