OverviewLocated in the heart of the Tiger Mountain State Forest, Middle Tiger Mountain and East Tiger Mountain neighbor each other but have summits with little in common. Middle Tiger has a summit which sees few travelers and is surrounded by forest. East Tiger has a summit which is commonly visited by travelers and is open enough to provide a wonderful viewpoint.
But because of the close proximity of these peaks, it can be enjoyable to combine their routes into one big 10.5-mile loop. The hike/walk is eaay-to-moderate. The Cascade foothills scenery and views are, at times, spectacular. In the morning hours, various wildlife might be out to greet travelers.
Getting ThereFrom Seattle or I-405, head east on I-90. At Exit 25, head south on Highway 18. At approximately 4.50 miles, the lower Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot is found on the righthand side of the highway. If the gate is open, proceed up the hill and park in the upper parking lot. If the gate is closed, walk the 0.3 miles to the upper parking lot.
Route DescriptionTo make trail-locating a little easier it is recommended to circle around the loop "clockwise", going to the Middle Tiger summit first and then to the East Tiger summit.
->The distance between the upper Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot and the Middle Tiger summit (2607') is approximately 3.7 miles.
->The distance between the Middle Tiger summit and East Tiger summit (3004') is approximately 2.8 miles.
->The distance between the East Tiger summit and the lower parking lot is approximately 4 miles.
There are two options for how to start the route to Middle Tiger Mountain from the upper Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot: the Iverson Railroad Trailhead or the West Side Road 1000. Both routes eventually intersect (after approximately 1.5-1.8 miles) and are basically similar distances before doing so; it is just a matter of personal preference of walking along an actual forest trail or walking along a gravel road for those first couple of miles.
Here is the basic description for the Middle Tiger-East Tiger Summit Loop:
1) From the upper Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot to West Side Road 1000/ Iverson Railroad Trail intersection: 1.5 miles.
2) From that intersection, follow West Side Road 1000 for 0.3 miles to the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT). Take a right.
3) Follow the TMT for 1.6 miles to the Middle Tiger Trail intersection. Make certain to turn left at "Zeig's Zag" (posted on a tree) after approximately 1/2-mile on the TMT. Continuing straight would lead to the little known/ little used "Artifacts Trail".
4) At the Middle Tiger Trail intersection, take a right onto the trail and head uphill. The summit is approximately 0.3 miles from the intersection.
5) Continuing along the trail from the summit, a great viewpoint location can be found approximately 1/4-mile down the north side of the mountain along a gravel road.
6) Another gravel road intersects the route after approximately 0.7 miles from the Middle Tiger summit. Take a right.
7) From that intersection, follow the gravel road for approximately 0.6 miles to the Preston Railroad Trail (on the left).
8) At this point, you have the option to take the Preston Railroad Trail or continue straight on the gravel road. I recommend taking the Preston Railroad Trail, because the route to the East Tiger summit will be slightly shorter and offer more peacefulness on the way.
9) Follow the Preston Railroad trail for approximately 0.7 miles. The East Tiger Trail, which is an unmarked hiker's trail, is found on the rightside heading up the forested East Tiger Mountain slopes.
10) Hike up the East Tiger Trail for approximately 1/2-mile, until the trail intersects with a gravel road.
11) Turn right on the gravel road and head uphill approximately 0.3 miles to the East Tiger summit. There is a picnic table and great viewpoint at the summit area.
12) From the East Tiger summit, head down the gravel road for approximately 0.7 miles to an intersection with another gravel road. This is Crossover Road, but there are no signs marking it. Take a right.
13) Another gravel road intersects on the leftside after approximately 0.4 miles. This is the Main Tiger Mountain Road, but no signs mark it as such. Take a left onto the road.
14) Head down the Main Tiger Mountain Road for approximately 2.9 miles to the lower Tiger Summit Trailhead parking lot.
Essential GearStandard hiking/ walking gear. No technical gear needed.
NOTE: Green Trails Map #204S (Tiger Mountain/ Taylor Mountain) is helpful.