Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Northwest Hike #2: Tiger Mountain Trail
Last weekend I went hiking at Tiger Mountain Trail. Tiger Mountain is about 30 minutes from Seattle, and the whole Tiger Mountain Trail is around 16 miles and has a few offshoots, trail heads, and other un- or poorly-marked paths. I followed the directions on the Washington Trails Association website but be warned - if you look at two different sets of directions, or you look at Tiger Mountain, Tiger Mountain North and/or Tiger Mountain South, you can get conflicting directions. The ones I finally settled on included the notion that there was a well marked trail head and parking lot, which was not the case. I ended up parking on a wide shoulder of Tiger Mountain Road and finding the index-card-sized trail marker stapled to a tree. Apparently there are better directions, but if you end on Tiger Mountain Road, beware that it's not super clear where the trail begins. Also, Tiger Mountain Road is just a loop off of another main road, and that the distance from the trailhead to the main road will depend which turn you take onto Tiger Mountain Road. That said, the trailhead was also supposed to be around a mile from the turn, but it was actually far more than a mile from one turn on to Tiger Mountain Road and far less than a mile from the other turn.
The Trails Association website also promised a waterfall about two miles in, which seemed a good turn around point, but we never did see a waterfall and I went decently past the two mile mark. Turns out, you have to be really, really careful which site you read and which trail head you are at, because you could just see nothing. Which is not to say that it is an unpleasant hike - it's a lovely fall hike. From where I started it was uphill at the start and flattens out, and it's nicely forested. The trail is for hikers and horseback riders, so you might happen upon some people on horseback like I did. Just don't expect to see anything spectacular unless you're planning to go for closer to at least five miles. Or possibly two miles just from another trail head. I guess either be flexible, be in for a medium to long hike, or be careful.