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LOCATION Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West LENGTH 7.5 miles, roundtrip ELEVATION Gain: 3300 ft. Highest Point: 4600 ft. PARKING PASS/ENTRY FEE Northwest Forest Pass Visit one of the most striking lakes in the Henry M. Jackson wilderness. The vibrant blue of the glacier-fed lake provides the perfect rest stop for hikers who have braved the thirty-odd, steep switchbacks that lead to the lake. The trail starts in cool second growth forest, but the trees are quite sizable. In the fall, the squirrels roughhouse in the trees high above your head. Occasionally they drop gigantic pinecones from high above, and while the resulting crash is startling, it is fun to watch. The trail is in excellent shape, and gets right down to business, starting off venturing through a close forest with very little understory, but lots of moss. As you climb, you move swiftly from one steep but well-designed switchback to another, and yet another, gaining a little under 3,000 feet in a little under 3 miles. While this can be draining, rewards await you at the top. Huckleberry bushes line the trail, and tired hikers can stop and munch on the sweet treats their their heart's content. After three miles, the trail reaches a ridgeline with a set of switchbacks heading up a rocky face. If you look to the east, some stellar views of the mountains can be seen, and on a clear day Glacier Peak graces hikers with an up-close and personal view. Once you've conquered the ridgeline, most of your climbing is over. The trail continues much more gently through sub-alpine flower meadows that glow with lupine when in season. Eventually, the trail drops to pretty but stagnant Virgin Lake. There is no inlet or outlet, so the water is entirely snowmelt and rainwater, and by late fall the water is more like a bog. Often, this is a breeding ground for frogs and salamanders, so keep your eyes peeled for plenty of amphibian friends. WTA trail crews have had backcountry response teams (BCRTs) working to improve this section of trail for three summers, but use caution in wet weather as small sections can still be muddy, rocky, rooty, and steep, dropping 600 feet in 0.6 miles. If you can tear your eyes away from the trail, the view will take your breath away. Across the valley is the foot of Columbia Peak, and ss you round the last point, beautiful Blanca Lake opens up in all her glory. The lake is framed to the north by the peaks of Monte Cristo, Columbia, and Keyes. More than a few hikers have been known to gasp aloud when they round the corner and see the robin-egg blue waters. Above the lake, the Columbia Glacier drains via a twin waterfall into the vibrantly blue colored water. It's the glacial till in the water that lends the lake its otherworldly color. At at the end of the trail lies a small beach full of driftwood, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beauty that surrounds you. Here pikas and marmots abound, watching like sentinels from large boulders fallen from the peaks high above. WTA Pro Tip: Blanca Lake is an extremely popular trail. If you decide to visit, you can enjoy a quieter destination by heading for Toil Peak, attainable from the saddle just above Virgin Lake. Instead of heading downhill toward Virgin and Blanca Lakes, head up and west for views of Glacier, Kyes and Monte Cristo Peaks, as well as Blanca Lake's robin-egg blue glowing in all its glory. Driving Directions ALERT: Trailhead is inaccessible due to washouts west of Garland Mineral Spring. --- Take US Hwy 2 east from Monroe to just past the town of Skykomish. Turn left on to FR 65, more clearly marked as Beckler River Road and drive 12.5 miles on this road, passing the Beckler River Campground just after the pavement turns to gravel. After driving 12.5 miles, you arrive at Jack Pass, a 5 way junction. Take the second left. After driving 2.3 miles descending from Jack Pass, arrive at a junction with FR 63 and the private Garland Mineral Springs Road. Take a right on FR 63 and proceed about 2 miles. The trailhead is on a small spur road to the left, up another small hill. Consider visiting Blanca Lake on a weekday. There is parking available here for about 20 cars, but the lake's popularity, particularly on weekends, often results in far too many cars for the small lot and access road. Please park so that cars and horse trailers can get in and out of the lot. If the trailhead is too full, don't despair! Try the trailhead for West Cady Ridge--a much quieter trail--only three miles down FR 23, at the end of the road. Vault toilets are available at trailhead, as well as a pit toilet at Virgin Lake. THIS HIKE IS SELF GUIDED!! - There may or may not be a coordinator in attendance. Be responsible for yourself and those you hike with. DISCLAIMER: HIKING IN THE WILDERNESS CAN PUT YOU IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STRESS. I AM NOT A HIKING GUIDE. I AM ONLY A HIKER INVITING OTHER HIKERS TO JOIN IN THE FUN. WHEN YOU RSVP AND ATTEND THESE MEETUPS, YOU ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
LOCATION Snoqualmie Region -- North Bend Area LENGTH 4.0 miles, roundtrip ELEVATION Gain: 1160 ft. Highest Point: 2078 ft. This is a fine hike on a well maintained, albeit busy trail through the forest with views of the Cedar River watershed, Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake and Chester Morse Lake. As soon as you arrive in the parking lot you have a view of Rattlesnake Ledge's sheer rock face across Rattlesnake Lake. At this point it seems amazing to think you will be up there by the end of your hike, but a look at a trail map will reveal some well-engineered switchbacks -- courtesy of many WTA work parties -- that will get you to your destination with less effort than you might expect. The old trail to the summit was in bad shape from heavy use and no maintenance, but WTA work parties helped create this beautiful avenue through second-growth forest to the rocky ledges. In addition to adding a half mile to the old trail, the steepness was lessened a bit. From the parking lot, head to a gate on the southeast side of the lake and follow a short service road about a quarter-mile to the trailhead. There you will find porta-potties and a very informative kiosk with maps, trail information and history of the area. To the right is the well signed trailhead. Begin hiking here. After about a hundred feet you will be met by a "greeter" boulder, the first of many of these mossy monsters you will encounter along the lower section of the trail. As you ascend the trail and gain elevation, there will be a few places where you can look down on Rattlesnake Lake and appreciate your progress. At 1.9 miles you will reach a signed junction; though it is not signed, Rattlesnake Ledge is just to the right, about a hundred yards away. The ledge is a very exposed, large rock that has sheer cliffs, so it would be wise approach slowly if you are hiking with kids or dogs. If you wish to extend your trip you can go back to the junction where the sign points out the trail to East Peak 2.4 miles away, or the ridge traverse to Snoqualmie Park, 8.3 miles away. You can also go just a short way from the junction up to Middle Ledge and Upper Ledge which are usually much quieter and afford more sweeping views to the northwest, where you can look down on the crowds at Rattlesnake Ledge. WTA Pro Tip: Good places to stop for an after-hike social to relax and talk about your just completed hike or other adventures include the North Bend Bar & Grill in North Bend and Stan's Barbecue in Issaquah. Driving Directions From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right. THIS HIKE IS SELF GUIDED!! - There may or may not be a coordinator in attendance. Be responsible for yourself and those you hike with. DISCLAIMER: HIKING IN THE WILDERNESS CAN PUT YOU IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STRESS. I AM NOT A HIKING GUIDE. I AM ONLY A HIKER INVITING OTHER HIKERS TO JOIN IN THE FUN. WHEN YOU RSVP AND ATTEND THESE MEETUPS, YOU ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
LOCATION Issaquah Alps -- Tiger Mountain LENGTH 15.2 miles, one-way ELEVATION Gain: 2360 ft. Highest Point: 2500 ft. The TMT is not a direct route to anywhere. It's a long meander through the Tigers, passing near many high points but not going to any of them. As the raven flies, the distance from the southern end of the TMT to the northern end is about 7.5 miles. On the trail, it's over 15 miles of forest wandering. Along the way, hike through deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests, past areas with decaying stumps from century-old logging and at the southern end, through a few clear-cut areas that have been recently logged. Encounter moist areas with small creeks and an abundance of ferns and shrubs, drier areas with quite different vegetation, and areas where the forest canopy is so dense that little grows in the understory. Look for and appreciate these differences as you do the hike. See a variety of forest wildflowers in season. In early spring look for trillium, yellow violet, bleeding heart and coltsfoot; a bit later miner's lettuce, vanilla leaf, salmon berry and red currant; in late June or early July, tiger lily, goatsbeard, foamflower, mimulus, and thimble berry. Many other less common wildflowers are out there. If in doubt, take a photo and consult a wildflower guide at home. On your hike, you may notice rustic signs with quaint names such as Joe's Hollow, Manning's Reach, Ruth's Cove, and others like these. They were intended as a tribute to the volunteers who built the TMT in the 1970s. Some of the names are shown on the Green Trails map. Small markers were installed each mile to indicate the distance from the southern end, while here and there other markers were installed displaying just the letters "TMT." Sadly, in recent years many signs and original markers have disappeared, their fate unknown. Be alert for the remaining ones as you hike. From the trailhead, follow the TMT along the grade of the former Woods and Iverson railroad, built in the early days of logging to haul timber from the Tigers to a mill in Hobart. It's a quieter walk today, although you may hear some traffic sounds from nearby Highway 18. In early spring, some of the first trilliums to bloom in the Tigers will be found along this part of the trail. The first 4.5 miles of the TMT are shared with trail riders (equestrians), and at 1.1 miles, a sign directs them to turn right onto the "Horse Bypass" while your trail continues straight ahead. In another 0.2 miles, your way narrows and traverses the steep hillside of Carkin's Cliff. This precarious trail is the reason horses take a different route. Beyond the traverse, arrive at the sign identifying Hobart Gap, where the foot and horse trails rejoin. Continue east on the ongoing trail and in 0.8 miles, reach a powerline. Head northeast under the powerline (the route is shared by the TMT and the South Tiger Powerline Trail.) In about 200 yards, turn left at the sign where the TMT leaves the powerline. Stay with the TMT as it traverses 1.2 miles around the east side of South Tiger Mountain. Along the way, listen for the sounds of Holder Creek below. The trail widens and is joined on the left by the South Tiger Traverse -- it may be shown on your map as a trail, but this end of the Traverse served briefly as a logging road a few years ago so it looks like an old forest road. Continue north on the TMT and in an additional 0.1 mile, cross the West Side Road (Road 1000), one of several non-public service roads in the Tigers. Beyond the road, traverse the lower edge of a clear-cut area, then make a very sharp left turn at Zeig's Zag. About 0.2 mile beyond the Zag, the TMT is crossed by a logging road that leads up clear-cut Karl's Peak, a minor viewpoint. From the TMT itself, you can see East Tiger Mountain--at 3,004 feet the highest point in the Tigers--and, in the distance to your right, part of the summit dome of Mount Rainier may be visible, clouds permitting. Continue, following an old railroad grade through forested areas around the west and north sides of Karl's Peak, then skirt more clear-cut area before entering mature forest again. At 1.6 miles from Zeig's Zag, come to Millan's Crossing. To the right, the Middle Tiger Trail climbs over 400 feet to the 2,607 foot summit of Middle Tiger (no view.) To the left, the Middle Tiger Trail drops steeply 900 feet to reach the Hobart-Middle Tiger RR Grade, a worthy hike in its own right. For today, continue on along the TMT. Traverse around the forested south, west and north sides of Middle Tiger Mountain, passing several named locations. Keep an eye out for the signs! At 1.2 miles from Millan's Crossing, note a sign for "Hobart Grade" with an arrow seeming to point straight ahead. Don't go there! That's an unofficial route that drops down to the Hobart-Middle Tiger RR Grade. Stay on the TMT, which makes an easily-overlooked right turn here, just when your eye might be distracted by the Hobart Grade sign. Arrive soon at Paul's Cove, a moist area that, in early summer, displays a good flowering of pink mimulus. A half mile beyond Paul's Cove, reach the approximate mid-point of your hike at Custer's Bridge. Custer's Bridge is as remote a spot as you are likely to find anywhere in the Tigers, in terms of distance to a trailhead. So you might have it all to yourself. The bridge is a low, rustic structure crossing the head of Fifteen Mile Creek. In spring, look along the banks for skunk cabbage. In summer, when the vegetation is so thick you may have difficulty seeing down to the water, look for ripe salmon berries and a few wildflowers. Any time, spring through fall, the bridge is a pleasant stopping point, so why not pause here, enjoy a sip and a snack, and relax for a few minutes to the soft sounds of the flowing stream? When you are ready to continue, climb a bit on the TMT and cross the Fifteen Mile RR Grade. Climb a bit more and, a half-mile from Custer's Bridge, come to Lone Rock, a glacial erratic boulder perched quietly amid the trees next to the TMT. If your previous Tiger hikes have included the Talus Rocks Trail then you have seen boulders of comparable size. But those on the moist north side of West Tiger are heavily covered in moss. Lone Rock, here on the drier south side, is less adorned, and the characteristics of the stone can be appreciated more readily. Take a close-up look, run your hand over it, and perhaps scramble part way around to compare the different sides. Continue on another mile, passing Wally's Glen, and cross the small, fancifully-named Hopping Bridge. It crosses a small, seasonal stream that may be dry when you do your hike. And, though there are a few rabbits in the Tigers but it's unlikely you will see any here. In another 0.2 mile pass Larry's Crossing and an intersection with the Hidden Forest Trail. Going right, uphill, would lead you about a mile to the West Tiger #1 summit at 2,948 feet. Going left, downhill, would take you to the Fifteen Mile RR Grade and, eventually, the West Side Road. Stay on the TMT and, in another 0.1 mile, come to a junction with the One View Trail. This is a route to Poo Poo Point or to the High School Trail. On the next 1.4 miles of the TMT, cross the head of Many Creeks Valley. The numerous creeks here are small, and most are seasonal. The vegetation often is particularly lush along this section of the TMT. Farther along, come to Manning's Reach where a very small bench offers room for one or two hikers to sit. There is a minimal view through the trees down to the lowlands, although tree growth is shrinking that window so it may disappear in a year or two. Manning's Reach is one of the high points on the TMT at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. Drop slightly, and in 0.1 mile reach Pete's Pass where the TMT crosses the ridge between West Tiger Mountain's #2 and #3 summits, each of them less than a quarter mile away. Continue on the TMT, traversing an area with very little growth in the understory. Press on to Tom's Crossing, actually a T-junction. At just over 2,500 feet, it's the highest point on the TMT. In spring, look for red currant blooming here. From Tom's Crossing, the West Tiger #2 Trail heads steeply uphill providing another way to reach that summit. Continue down the TMT on many switchbacks and, in about 0.3 mile, note the junction with the K3 Trail. From here, the TMT takes a long loop to the east, then swings back west at a lower elevation. The K3 Trail is a shortcut across that loop, cutting off about 1.5 miles. Tempted? Wait! You are out to do a through-hike on the TMT! So save the K3 information for a future hike. You might wonder about the K3 sign that says "Unmaintained Trail." That just means it relies on volunteers for maintenance; it's as good as any trail in the Tigers. Until 2014, the TMT switchbacked steeply downhill from its junction with the K3, passing a junction with the West Tiger RR Grade, then traversing a former gritty landslide and crossing a bridge over High Point Creek. If you have hiked this part of the TMT before you probably remember this section and your map may still show it as the route. In early 2014, the bridge was removed and in the summer of 2014 an entire section of the TMT was rerouted to avoid the former landslide and to bridge High Point Creek at a more secure location upstream. From the K3 junction, take the new section of the TMT. If the arrows on the metal trail sign seem somewhat confusing, check the wooden sign on the left side of the trail. It shows clearly which is the TMT. Head generally south, initially with a gently downhill grade that steepens later. Then cross High Point Creek on a new, very secure bridge. A bit further along, meet up with the old route, make a right turn there, and you are back on the familiar part of the TMT. Continue on to Fred's Corner, a 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 uphill to the right and the TMT continuing on downhill. Descend the TMT from Fred's Corner and, when the trail levels out in about 0.4 miles, look on the right for a very small fir that often is decorated with a few holiday bangles, even in summer. It's one of two (at least) such trees in the Tigers (another is near the Bootleg Trail above the Paw Print Connector.) It's not known who keeps up the decorations, or who sometimes removes them. About 200 feet past the tree, reach Ruth's Cove. It's a pleasant spot where a new small bridge crosses a tributary of High Point Creek. In spring, skunk cabbage blooms here. This is a good place to pause for a quick break. Beyond Ruth's Cove, descend some more and pass signed junctions with the Lingering Trail and the High Point Trail. Just beyond the High Point Trail, reach the lower crossing of High Point Creek. A few years ago a bridge here was heavily damaged by flood waters and blowdowns. It now sits tilted, off its moorings, and sections of its railings are missing. Chains at either end support "Bridge Closed" signs. Other postings have hinted replacement was due soon, but it as of summer 2014, it hasn't happened. When the water level is low there is no problem crossing the creek just upstream on boulders. A half-mile west of High Point Creek, note the junction with the lower end of the K3 Trail. From here, you have about two more miles to go to finish your TMT hike. Beyond the K3 junction, cross two tributaries of High Point Creek on sturdy bridges, then come to a long, relatively straight section of the TMT termed "Anschell's Allee." Once you are past the Allee, descend about 900 feet, with many switchbacks. Then cross the "Cable Route," that infamous and unofficial trail up West Tiger #3 fancied by exercise enthusiasts. Beyond the Cable Route, the TMT becomes less steep and has fewer switchbacks. Soon, it levels out completely and merges, first with the West Tiger #3 Trail, then with the wide, graveled trail that leads north a quarter mile to the developed High Point Trailhead - a real contrast to the completely undeveloped trailhead at the TMT's south end. At the High Point trailhead, pat yourself on the back; you have completed the TMT! Congratulations on completing this classic Tiger Mountain hike. If you found some surprises along the way, or had unusual wildlife or wildflower sightings, or if you found conditions much changed from what is described here, please consider writing a trip report. We'd enjoy hearing the highlights of your experience hiking the TMT. Driving Directions From I-90 in Issaquah, take Exit 17 (Front Street) and head south on Front Street through the town. At the south end of town, Front Street changes names to Issaquah-Hobart Road. At 8.5 miles from I-90, just before the Highway 18 overpass, turn left onto Tiger Mountain Road SE. Proceed 0.2 miles and look for places to park along the left shoulder of the road. There is no official trailhead parking so this is your only option. (You may find it easier to continue on 0.15 miles to SE 175th Place, make a U-turn, and come back to park on the shoulder.) The shoulder is highway right-of-way, and you do not have to display a Discover Pass to park there. There are no facilities. The TMT begins a few feet south of the sign "School Bus Stop Ahead." The northern terminus of your hike will be at the High Point Trailhead, reached from I-90, Exit 20. A Discover Pass is required there. Consider sharing the hike with a friend, and arrange a car shuttle or key swap. THIS HIKE IS SELF GUIDED!! - There may or may not be a coordinator in attendance. Be responsible for yourself and those you hike with. DISCLAIMER: HIKING IN THE WILDERNESS CAN PUT YOU IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STRESS. I AM NOT A HIKING GUIDE. I AM ONLY A HIKER INVITING OTHER HIKERS TO JOIN IN THE FUN. WHEN YOU RSVP AND ATTEND THESE MEETUPS, YOU ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
Let's meet at the Red Town Trail head on Cougar Mountain and hike the following loop: (Wildside, Indian, Far Country, Shy Bear, Fred's Railroad, By-Pass, Cave Hole, Red Town) We can always add more if it's a nice day and everyone has extra energy. The mileage and elevation are estimates. Most of the trails on Cougar mountain are rated as Easy....that does not mean completely flat! Please know your own abilities for your safety and the safety of others. THIS HIKE IS SELF GUIDED!! - There may or may not be a coordinator in attendance. Be responsible for yourself and those you hike with. Bad weather (Heavy Rain/Snow; high winds; etc will cause me to cancel this hike!!) DISCLAIMER: HIKING IN THE WILDERNESS CAN PUT YOU IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STRESS. I AM NOT A HIKING GUIDE. I AM ONLY A HIKER INVITING OTHER HIKERS TO JOIN IN THE FUN. WHEN YOU RSVP AND ATTEND THESE MEETUPS, YOU ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE FULLY AWARE THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. MANDATORY - YOU MUST BRING YOUR 10 ESSENTIALS All organizers run their hikes different, but it takes time to set up these hikes, time that we are volunteering for YOU. If you are a repeat last minute cancel you will automatically be put on the waiting list for RSVP’s. If you are a no show 3 times, you will be removed from hikes.