While it doesn’t have the fanciest name in the area, West Tiger #3 Trail is a fun hike just outside of Seattle.
Located 20 miles from downtown on Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, West Tiger #3 Trail is easy to find. Head east on I-90 until you reach exit 20 (High Point Way). Take a right off the exit, and then take another immediate right. You can park on the street to avoid paying for a Discover Pass (and then hike the half-mile to the trailhead) or continue to the High Point Way Trailhead parking lot (where a Discover Pass is required).
West Tiger #3 Trail is a popular hike (also known as WT3, Tiger 3, among other names). That means it’s well-maintained and well-marked. It’s apparently an old logging road, so the trail is fairly wide and easy to follow. I’d definitely list West Tiger #3 as a moderate hike. It’s 6-miles round-trip, and the 3 miles to the summit are straight uphill (there’s a 2,100-foot elevation gain). There’s rarely a spot on the trail that levels out. It sounds like several people use West Tiger #3 Trail to train for much larger hikes, like Mount Si or even Mount Rainier.
NOTE: It’s always hard to gauge how difficult someone will think a hiking trail is. While West Tiger #3 Trail made my calves burn a bit, others run to the top (no, I’m not kidding). When my dad and I were taking pictures at the summit, we heard two trail runners say they reached the top in less than 35 minutes. Walking — it took my dad and me a little more than an hour to reach the West Tiger #3 summit.
West Tiger #3 Trail takes you through the forest to the top, so there aren’t many (if any) views along the way. Once you get near the summit (at about 2.5 miles), there is a nice view looking east toward Mount Si, North Bend, and the Cascade Mountains. At the West Tiger #3 summit (elevation 2,522 feet), the view is fairly unspectacular (to be honest). You can see Lake Washington, Boeing Field, and Puget Sound in the distance, but the trees block pretty much everything else. While the view is far from mind-blowing, there are a couple large rocks at the summit that make for a nice lunch/snack spot.
NOTE: When I was researching West Tiger #3 Trail, someone online mentioned how they met a “friendly bird” at the summit. Well, the friendly birds are still there (and they’re very interested in your food). I’m honestly not sure what type of bird they are, but after some limited research, I think they’re gray jays (also known as Whiskey Jacks). They’ll come right next to you without any fear.
After hiking uphill for 3 miles, I’d like to think there would be a spectacular view as a reward at the top. That’s not the case with West Tiger #3 Trail, but it’s still a fun adventure. My dad and I had a great time grinding to the top and talking along the way. We made the hike on a weekday in the fall, so there was hardly anyone else on the trail with us. To say my dad and I got a workout on West Tiger #3 that day is an understatement. We both felt some soreness the next day, but as far as I’m concerned, it was totally worth it. We had a great time.
Have you ever hiked West Tiger #3 Trail? How was your experience? What are some other hikes you like in that area? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to experience around the Emerald City!