Trail runners looking to get some decent climbing without the day hiking traffic will enjoy the scramble of summiting the three peaks in East Tiger Mountain. Warning, not all summits are easy to find and there is about as much logging road on the route as trails. There are also several mountain bike only trails on this side of the state forest, so runners need to be wary of others. The only decent summit view is on East Tiger, where Mt. Ranier can be seen on sunny days. There are a couple clearings near South Tiger that offer scenes of the Olympics.
Our East Tiger Mountain Peaks route starts at the Tiger Summit trailhead on SR-18. From the upper parking lot, follow the connector trail for .3 miles to the main Tiger Mountain Rd. Turn left on the logging road for a slow grind. In 3/4 of a mile, cross the mountain bike only Predator Trail and continue up the road.
Continue for two miles on the main Tiger Mountain Rd., turn right on the Preston RR Grade trail. Take an immediate right on the East Tiger Summit Trail for an out and back to the top. After 1.5 miles is the 3000′ summit. This is the highest point of the Issaquah Alps. At the top is a picnic bench, cellphone Turn around and head back down to Tiger Mountain Rd. Turn right toward Middle Tiger.
Follow the road for .6 miles to the Middle Tiger Trail. Turn left for 3/4 of a mile to the Middle Tiger Summit (2607′). Continue on the trail for a quarter mile to the Tiger Mountain Trail intersection. Turn right on the TMT crossing a forest road and through recent logging areas are newly planted trees. Descend for 1.5 miles to a wooden post gate that leads to W. Side Rd.
Turn right on the road and follow the South Tiger Traverse sign on the road. Continue on the road to the end to the South Tiger Traverse trail, or turn right on the road for an alternate route. There is a trail closure to South Tiger Traverse Trail until Fall 2020. There are no signs here and the trail can be overgrown and hard to find. Climbing blow downs and bushwacking are required to continue. Turn left on the trail. Right on the trail is the Carol Hapke Lunch area. The trail continues for .4 miles Look for an old stump that looks like a face. Just past the stump is an unmarked trail that is the S. Tiger Summit Trail. In a quarter-mile is the S. Tiger Summit at 2028′.
Head back down the South Tiger summit the same way to the W. Side Road and TMT junction. Turn right on the road and cross Holder Creek. Continue for .3 miles to the Iverson Railroad Trail on the left. Follow the Iverson Railroad Trail for 1.2 miles back to the parking lot.
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