Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tiger Mountain - Talus Rocks

Route: West Tiger Mountain #3 => Talus Rocks (Connector )Trail => Nook Trail => Bus Trail

Another "must do" Seattle hike that offers a waterfall (during most times of the year) and the famous Talus Rocks on Tiger Mountain. Not as difficult as most hikes on Tiger Mountain, but does take the somewhat steep Tiger Mountain #3 trail for the first part - gaining almost 600 feet.  A nice three mile, 2 hour hike for most folks.

Note: The dirt road (past the main gate) to the main Tiger Mountain parking lot has some deep potholes, take the drive slow.

The hike starts from the Main Tiger Mountain Parking Lot/Trailhead. You can park below on the paved road, if the lot is full and hike up to the Trailhead. There is a bathroom pit here if you need to use it - trash containers are inside as well.

Shortly after the restroom there is the main Tiger Mountain trail map showing the crisscrossing trail network. Most folks do travel on the West Tiger #3 trail to get to the higher locations, so be aware you wont be alone for the first 1/3 of the hike. 

West Tiger #3 starts pretty innocently as you travel on a nice raised flat path toward the mountain. Note - this is a popular path, even on a spring Friday morning the trail was busy (granted it was one of the first real sunny days this spring so far).

Soon after turning the corner, the uphill begins. For almost the first mile, you are basically going uphill non-stop. This may be a challenge for kids and folks looking for an easy hike. That being said, there were all types of people taking this hike up the hill - some just taking it slower than others.

After the long uphill, you will reach the first junction to the right. Some hiking books have this named as the "Connector Trail" - but as you can see the Sign says "Talus Rocks Trail" - either way, just turn right. Almost everyone else on the trail will turn left continuing uphill.

The Talus Rocks trail is very different from West Tiger #3 - its fairly narrow, a bit more muddy, and much less crowded.

At about a mile, you will come up upon a nice waterfall (well its more of a waterslide down a very smooth rock cliff/wall).

I am sure the waterfall is more dramatic on rainy days, today it was flowing well -- but not really a dramatic "waterfall", never the less it was nice spot and great point to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

After a short distance further, you will reach the famous Talus Rocks. The trail does a small loop here around the rocks - some spaces between the rocks are now blocked, but there are plenty of places to get close up to these huge rocks.   

After the Talus Rocks area, you will come up upon the Nook Trail. The Talus Rock Trail continues toward the Section Line Trail (and the longer way to Poo Poo Point). For this hike stay to the right and head downhill on the Nook Trail.

The Nook Trail is another narrow, less popular trail. The downhill can be a bit steep with drainage eroding the center of the trail in places. There are some nice places to view the ravine to the right along with a nice spot with a Bench near the end of the trail.

The Nook Trail ends at the Bus trail. The Bus trail is another wide hard-packed gravel path. Turn right on the Bus trail to head back to the Trailhead and parking lot.

Area -Tiger Mountain (Near Issaquah,Washington)
Trails - Green Trails Map Tiger Mountain 204S
Length - 3 miles - steep for first mile - about 600 elevation gain
Trail - Loop, well packed dirt trails.
Bikes - Not allowed on this hike
View - Some peek-a-boo views, but offers the waterfall and Talus Rocks
Getting There - I-90 East to Exit 20 (High Point) - turn right off the freeway, turn right again on to  SE 79th Street. Continue past the gate on to the dirt road. Follow the dirt road (slowly) to the main parking lot and trailhead.
Fee- None, free parking- (Donate to the WTA)
Weather - Almost all shade
Other Trails - lots of other trails, including Tiger Mountain #3 , Around the (Tradition) Lake, Big Tree Loop

Tiger Mountain - Talus Rocks at EveryTrail
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