Hike through some great second-growth forest to reach the second-highest summit in the Tigers. Then enjoy a superb viewpoint a short distance west of the summit.
To begin, step over the white gate near the High Point trailhead and proceed east a quarter mile on the paved road, dropping slightly. Cross over High Point Creek and, where the pavement ends, find the signed beginning of the High Point Trail. The trail loops around tiny High Point Pond and heads south, gaining about 200 feet in 0.3 miles before reaching a power line.
A sign here indicates "Lingering Trail," with a single arrow pointing south along your route. You're still on the High Point Trail. The sign is there because this is the former location of a junction with the lower end of the Lingering Trail. That trail has been rerouted, and you now will pass the junction 100 yards south of the power line. (The Lingering Trail is an option for your return hike.)
Continue south on the High Point Trail, passing a junction with Dwight's Way. About 0.8 miles from the powerline--and up 500 feet--merge with the main Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) at a signed junction. Turn left on the TMT (Right would take you to the big parking lot on Tradition Plateau.) In 0.1 mile pass a junction with the upper end of the Lingering Trail. Be sure to stay on the TMT, as it takes a sharp right turn here.
Climb about 400 feet and, in a half mile, reach Ruth's Cove. In spring, be alert for coltsfoot, trilliums, yellow violets and other wildflowers here. Ruth's Cove is a pleasant spot where a relatively new small bridge crosses a tributary of High Point Creek. Skunk cabbage also blooms along the creek here in spring.
Continue on another 0.4 miles, climbing about 200 feet, to reach Fred's Corner, a signed trail junction in an area of tall maples. While you are there, look up in the trees. It's not unusual to see a few wild pigeons - very different birds from their urban, street-smart cousins. The trail forks here, with the West Tiger RR Grade heading left and the TMT going right.
Leave the TMT and continue left on the W. Tiger RR Grade. Climb steeply and, in 0.4 miles, reach a signed junction with the Preston Trail (formerly the "West Tiger No. 1 Trail," a name your map may still use.) Turn right on the Preston Trail and climb steadily, gaining about 600 feet in a half-mile, to reach a junction with the Bootleg Trail.
The ongoing Preston Trail continues on west below the ridge top. In 2014, the slope above the trail was clear-cut. Trees at the edge of the trail now are subject to the full force of storm winds, and there have been some blowdowns.
As of winter 2015, part of the Preston Trail was completely blocked by a massive blowdown. Check recent trip reports for the current status.
In less than a quarter-mile, come to a signed junction with the Poo Top Trail. Here, to reach the summit of W. Tiger No. 1 (or as close as an electronics tower will allow) you need to take a short side trip. Hike up the Poo Top Trail, gaining about 75 feet on four short switchbacks to reach a high point next to a large granite boulder. At 2948 feet, this is the second highest summit in the Tigers (only East Tiger, at 3004 feet, is higher.) It may seem somewhat anti-climactic, both because of the adjoining tower, and because there is no view. But don't despair! You soon will have your view.
The Poo Top Trail continues on south to meet up with the TMT and the Hidden Forest Trail. But that's for a different hike! For today, turn around and take the Poo Top Trail back down to the Preston Trail (from this side the sign says it's the Bypass Trail, because it bypasses the electronics.) Turn left and continue west on the Preston/Bypass Trail a quarter mile. Pass through some very dark forest and emerge abruptly into the bright sun (clouds permitting) at the Hiker's Hut Viewpoint.
The hut itself is a small, round metal structure that might serve as a very basic storm shelter in winter. A graveled service road arrives here from the west to reach the electronics gear, and a bench is available across the road. Sit and take in the view. On a clear day, Mount Rainier will be directly in front of you and of a large swath of the Olympics will be visible to your right.
While you are at the viewpoint, you may be visited by a few grey jays hoping to beg a sample of your lunch, but be sure not to feed them. Humming birds also often are seen here and, in summer, large dragonflies. In spring, check the surroundings for wildflowers such as lupine and tiger lily--a few years ago tiger lilies bloomed right under the bench!
When you have had your fill of the view, and finished your lunch, it's time to think of returning. Either head back the way you came, possibly taking the optional Lingering Trail, or see below for another possibility.
Extending your hike
With a little additional effort you can include the W. Tiger No. 2 summit in your hike, then see some different trails on your way back down to Fred's Corner to rejoin your ascent route. This option adds a half-mile to your distance and an additional 250 feet to your total elevation gain.
If this sounds appealing, hike down the gritty service road, dropping about 400 feet. Come to a metal gate adorned with crude lettering "No Trespassing." That's just meant to discourage unauthorized vehicles. Hikers are welcome to proceed around the right end of the gate on a short trail signed "W. Tiger No. 2 Trail." Once you are past the gate, the road again serves as your ongoing trail.
Continue on the road, gaining about 250 feet, to reach the West Tiger No. 2 summit. There's not much of a view. A signed trail continues on west 0.4 miles to the ever-popular W. Tiger No. 3 summit. But, unless you are seeking lots of company, or are intent on traversing all three West Tiger summits today, don't go there.
Like many Tiger summits, W. Tiger No. 2 has its share of electronics gear. Hike up to the surrounding metal fence and head around the right (east) side, where you will find a sign for the ongoing W. Tiger No. 2 Trail. Descend this short trail, dropping 270 feet, to reach the TMT at Tom's Crossing. It's the highest point on the TMT at about 2,500 feet. It's not actually a crossing, but a T-junction (as in "crossing the T.")
Turn right on the TMT and continue descending on a few switchbacks. When you reach the junction of the TMT and K-3 Trails you will be faced with a three-way trail split. The left fork is the "unmaintained" K-3 Trail, the center fork is the former route of the TMT (now just a way to connect with the W. Tiger RR Grade) and, since fall 2014, the right fork is the ongoing TMT (Your map may not show this change.)
Continue on the new TMT, descending gently and crossing High Point Creek on a new, very secure bridge. Descend some more and reconnect with the former route of the TMT east of the creek. The ongoing TMT from here initially is fairly level, then it drops steeply to reach Fred's Corner.
From Fred's Corner, either return to your trailhead at High Point the way you came or, optionally, when you come to the junction for the Lingering Trail, take it instead. The Lingering Trail passes through some nice forest and crosses Dwight's Way before rejoining the High Point Trail just above the power line.