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Trail:Tiger Mountain

From Evergreen Trail Guide

Revision as of 11:00, 20 August 2011 by Justin (Talk | contribs)
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Name Tiger Mountain
Tech Rating icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif
Grunt Rating icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif icon_favourites.gif
Singletrack 60%
Fire road 40%
Paved 0%
Total trail 12 mi.
Alt. change 1400
Latitude: 47.466687
Longitude: -121.931183
Nearest medical: Not set yet
Page adopted by: R1de
Get Directions

See current weather conditions

Trail Overview

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and DNR are building new trail on Tiger for mountain bikes. The new trail will start at the radio towers above the current entrance to Preston RR Trail at East Tiger Summit, and will connect to the the start of the Preston. The new trail will add 500 feet of vertical and a mile of new singletrack.

Sign up for trailwork. We need your help to build these trails. Everyone is welcome!

Tiger Mountain is one of Seattle's most popular mountain biking destinations. Its close proximity to Seattle, good parking facilities, and a variety of trail difficulties draw the masses. Summer weekends see a steady stream of bikes of all types. The Preston Railroad Trail, Iverson (Fat Hand) Trail, and Northwest Timber Trail are all open to bicycles. The trails are typically closed seasonally from October 15 to April 15 (check exact dates below), but there are many miles of roads open all year long.

Trails vary in difficulty. Iverson is considered the most challenging, followed by Preston Railroad Grade and then NW Timber. Both Iverson and NW Timber have rolling grades although NW Timber has fewer roots and rocks, and easier climbs. Iverson is usually ridden from the top down because the lower section can be quite challenging to climb. NW Timber is often ridden both directions. Preston is either a climb, descent, or both and sports several challenges with rocks and roots along the way.

Contact Evergreen's Trail Crew at for information about work party schedules and volunteering at Tiger Mountain. You can help by volunteering, donating funds for equipment or sponsoring the food at a work party. Sign up for trailwork

How to find it

From Seattle take I-90 East to Highway 18. Continue South on Highway 18 for 4.4 miles, until you reach East Tiger Summit on your right.

There are two main parking areas, both accessed from the highway 18 summit. The upper area is gated and is locked at 8:00 PM per the sign on the gate. This area also includes pit toilets. The road to the upper area travels travels west just above the lower parking lot.

Effective July 1st, 2001: a Discover Pass will be required to park at either lot. See here for details on obtaining a Discover Pass

Typical Conditions

Tiger mountain can be very wet following rain, especially the Preston Railroad Trail. The Preston can ooze water for up to a week after a heavy rain, so please take this into consideration when planning your ride. Iverson and NW Timber Trails are drier, but it can still rain quite hard here.

The trails are closed seasonally from October 15 through April 15. Exact dates may vary, so check with Evergreen to see if the dates have been extended due to dry weather.

Current Conditions

It's as good as it gets right now! R1de 16:36, 12 August 2011 (PDT)

Turn-By-Turn Guide

Trail map

All three trails are two-way and multi-use.

Click here to view the Tiger Mountain MTB trail map.

You can also view a high-resolution GPS trail map for Tiger Mountain from

The Standard Road > Preston > NW Timber Trail loop

  • Climb up the main Tiger Mountain Road. From the lower parking lot, this the gated road to your right as you head up the hill.
  • After approx 2.5 miles you'll reach an intersection, stay to the left.
  • About 1/3 mile further you'll see the entrance to the Preston RR Trail on your right. If you go down a big hill you've gone too far.
  • Take the Preston RR Trail, it's about 4 miles long and has no intersections.
  • When you come out on the road, take a left and go about 100 ft.
  • Take a right turn at the first intersection.
  • Follow this road for approx 2 miles. You'll go down a big dip, and then climb up a hill.
  • At the Top of this hill you'll see some gravel piles and a road heading off to your right. The entrance to the NW Timber Trail is just past the road on your right.
  • Take the NW Timber trail for approx 2.5 miles. There are no intersections.
  • At the road, take a left and coast back down to the lower parking lot, about 1/3 of a mile -or- take the connector trail back to the upper parking lot.

The Iverson Loop (AKA Fat Hand Trail)

  • At the lower parking lot, take the left-hand road (West Side Road) towards the upper lot.
  • Continue past the upper lot, going around the gate.
  • After about 1.5 miles, you will see the entrance to the Iverson Railroad Trail to your right.
  • The trail starts with a short climb and has several short ups-and-downs before heading back down.
  • At the bottom, the train intersects the connector trail just before the bridge.
  • Turn right and you will quickly hit the upper parking lot.

West Tiger

  • Only Puget Power Trail and High School Trail are open to mountain bikes.
  • Bus Trail and Bonneville Trail are both not signed for limited use (Use your best judgment).
  • All other trails are off limits to bikes
  • From the bottom of the High School Trail, take your first right, then left at the 'T' up to Puget Power
  • The climb up from the High School to Puget Power is 18%-20%, High School is about 15%
  • High school is smooth double track, Puget Power is a middle chain ring fire access road.
  • It's 2.8 miles from the High School to the High Point Trailhead. Out and back using Bonneville is about 7.5 miles
  • Grunt 3 | Tech 1

All distances are estimates here and only for general reference.

Local Points of Interest

Misc. Information

A Message From the Washington Department of Natural Resources DNR is the land manager and is committed to building strong partnerships with trail users and volunteers. They ask you keep the folling in mind:

  • Tiger Mountain is a working forest. This means that trees are harvested to pay for things such as schools, but it also means the roads are actively used. Please be aware of vehicle traffic on the roads. This includes radio tower service vehicles which are present even when there is no active logging.
  • DNR is committed to building public partnerships. They have almost no budget for recreation yet are one of the biggest providers in the state of trails that re open to mountain bikes. Help support them by supporting BBTC, voicing your support for DNR and volunteering for trail work.
  • Please respect the forest. DNR needs help with maintenance and any adverse uses make it hard to keep trails open and up to standard. Don't ride closed trails, respect seasonal closures, and help them keep the parking areas clean.

More information on Tiger Mountain from the DNR website here.

Advocacy Information

New Trails

Working Forest

These trails are on Washington Deparment of Natural Resources (DNR) land and are managed as working forests. DNR's charter is to actively harvest timber to pay for public buildings such as schools. DNR has almost no recreation budget and pays for trail maintenance and recreation staff through state and federal grants. We work with DNR to provide recreation opportunities while understanding that their core mission is generating revenue through timber harvesting.

Timber sales will cause logging on or near existing trails, such as the recent Iverson clear cut. DNR works with trail users to cause as little impact as is practical, and trys to get loggers to some minimal trail restoration when they are done. If you look at the recent Iverson harvest you'll notice that the harvest boundary went right next to the trail, but not across it, in an effort to have as little an impact as possible.

Trail Maintenance Techniques

These are the only 3 trails on all of Tiger Mountain that are open to mountain bikes, and these are some of the most popular mountain bike trails in the region. Add this to the fact that the hydrology is challenging and the trails are on old railroad grades and you've got the formula for trails that need to be upgraded to a very high level of durability.

Railroad grades are one of the worst scenarios for sustainable trails. The grades were often designed for temporary train use while logging, and didn't consider water management when built. The long, straight grades channel water down the trail, instead of sheeting the water off the side by designing in proper outslope and grade reversals. It is very difficult to modify railroad grades to be dry, sustainable trails, but we're showing that good progress can be made.

Instead of trying to create dry trails, something that would require decomissioning the rail grade and doing a re-route, we are focusing on creating an armored trail tread and directing water off the trail wherever possible. The Preston trail may not be dry all the time, but our maintenance techniques should create a trail tread that reduces erosion and excessive sedimentation.

Under the Microscope

Many user groups and public agencies look at Tiger Mountain as an example of mountain bike impacts on trails. This is unfortunate since these trails were literally the leftovers given to mountain bikers when we were kicked off all the good trail on Tiger Mountain in the early 1990's. These trails have difficult hydrological conditions and some sections are on old railroad grade. It is impressive what we've done to turn these "leftovers" into truly enjoyable and sustainable trails.

Please be aware that this area is looked at closely and ride accordingly. It is very important to use good trail etiquette and to obey all rules and the seasonal closures on Tiger Mountain. Also come out to work parties and help us in our quest to turn these trails into real show-pieces!