For those who enjoy the challenge of Mailbox Peak-style climbing, look no further than Issaquah to find her little brother, tightly packaged in a quad-exerting, heart-jerking direct climb to West Tiger 3’s hilltop vista. Those who survive will enjoy the same great views we’ve all come to love on the summit— the Snoqualmie Valley, the Issaquah-Hobart basin and, on clear days, Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline.
The trail starts off on the Tradition Plateau, which I’m pretty sure was a trail-builder’s prank, built in an effort to confuse hikers. So many great trails start here; walking in nearly any direction will lead you to immediately pull out your map and scratch your head. Adding to the befuddlement is the simple fact that nearly all the trails can make loops by using other trails. The Section Line follows that pattern and can be started or completed in a number of directions.
My favorite way utilizes the Nook Trail as its starting point. Find the Nook Trail by following the Bus Trail to the southwest. Pass the West Tiger 3 Trail and look to the south (left) for a small sign indicating the Nook Trail’s start.
Climb the Nook Trail through dense Northwest forest canopy, enjoying the sounds made by quiet brooks, the tremble of evergreen ferns and the flitting of dark-eyed “Oregon” juncos in the trees above. At 1.5 miles, arrive at Talus Rocks Loop Trail. Stay right (southwest) for another 0.3 mile and find the Section Line Trail, where you’ll lace up your boots and begin your ascent. Technically, the trail is “unmaintained”—hiker code for “this puppy is steep, steep, steep.” Stop often to rest as you make your way up a very rocky, somewhat loose and tree-rooted 0.5 mile. Cross the West Tiger Railroad Grade which gives you hope, inspiration and some flat ground, before popping back into the climb. Continue your high-stepping, hand-to-tree holding huff-’n-puff for another 0.4 mile before you are spit out onto the unmarked West Tiger Cable Line. Turn right (south) 0.1 mile and arrive at the West Tiger 3 vista with endorphins dancing. After treating your eyes, resting your quads and catching your breath, descend the way you came, or go easy on your joints and take the West Tiger 3 Trail back down to the Bus Trail.
- 6.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 2,000 feet
- Highest Point
- 2,525 feet
Hiking Nook Trail
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.5298, -121.9959 Open in Google Maps