Mountain Snow Hike
seldom write trip reports for trips on Tiger Mountain. It takes
something out of the ordinary. After last winter with almost no snow, a
snowy trip at low elevation is out of the ordinary. I checked online
cameras in the morning and found snow at 1377" Tiger Summit on Highway
18 and snow at the high point of I-90 at the junction with Highway 18.
The snow level was several thousand feet lower than forecast over
night. Instead of a longer drive I chose a short drive to hike in the
snow. I also wanted to get some photos of the new TMT bridge with snow.
I reached the trailhead at High Point at 8:25 and was on the trail a
few minutes later. Looking across I-90 to Grand Ridge I saw snow not
far above. On the drive in I saw that Poo Poo Point was completely
white. It was cold and gray but not raining.
My first stop was at the bridge. Snow began to appear just below the
bridge at about 850' in the open. Still none in the forest. The creek
was roaring and snow was along around it. The bridge deck had some snow
on it. There were a lot of footprints on the bridge. I was surprised
that so many folks were ahead of me on that trail. Photos taken when I
arrived showed the creek to be clear. A few minutes later it was dark
brown. A slide upstream? On the way down it was clear again. I next
headed up the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT). By the time I was at Ruth's
Cove the snow was on the ground in the forest. When I came out of the
forest on the old High Point Trail the snow was continuous.
A winter wonderland at 1700' right above Issaquah. The bridge was
totally white. All the brush was white. In the lower forest the snowy
tree branches were melting and dripping on me. A jacket was necessary.
Now the temperature was below freezing. Across the bridge the trail was
a fast flowing creek. I stopped to channel most of the water off before
it reached the bridge foundation. Above, the trail is in a trench.
There are few places that water can be rerouted. At one place I did
manage to open a filled in drainage cut. A few minutes later I opened
another and moved much of the water off the trail. Mission
accomplished. I had been following footprints since the snow began.
while working on the trail Two hikers passed me. After "wading" up the
underwater trail they quickly passed by again on their way down. They
were the only people I saw on my way up.
At Fred's Corner the footprints all went right on the TMT. I went left
on untouched fresh snow. It snowed a little then stopped for good. At
the Preston Trail I picked up more footprints. I also passed a lone
hiker and then a group of four all heading down. With the bridge stop
and trail work I was making very slow progress. A few brushy spots
managed to soak my pants. Gaiters also would have been a good idea. At
the junction with the Bootleg Trail I was just below one tower but
could barely make it out as I was now in the clouds. I turned right and
headed for the viewpoint at the Hiker's Hut. Along the way I realized
that I had not taken the uphill detour around the big mass of downed
trees. I did not notice that spot. I also did not notice a lot of
freshly cut out big trees. I'll have to check it out again soon and see
At the Hiker's Hut viewpoint the snow was deep enough to cover the
ground. Clouds blocked the views though it began to clear a little. I
could see over some clouds. As I left there was even a little blue sky
though it did not last long. After a little food and water I retraced
my steps along the Bypass Trail. There were no footprints heading up to
the summit of Tiger 1. The gate into the tower facilities was closed
and there were no signs of people. Going down the Poo Top Trail was the
most interesting part of the day. Following the snow covered trail was
no problem. Staying on my feet was. The few inches of snow gave way as
I descended the steep trail. I was tempted to just sit and slide a few
times. Much to my surprise, I made it down without a fall. Down on the
main road I was in the sun for a few moments. The temperature was right
around freezing and the sunshine felt very good.
I soon went back into the forest for the short steep descent to the
TMT. A right turn and I was soon at the One View Trail junction. Here I
again picked up footprints. I followed the tracks along the TMT heading
towards Tiger 3 and 2. The wooden bridges in Many Creek Valley were
especially slick with a thin coating of wet snow. I dropped from 2950'
atop Tiger 1 to 2250' on the TMT. Now I had to climb back up to 2757'
on Tiger 2. Add in a few ups and downs too. I was surprised to see
footprints heading up the Seattle View Trail. Since it is so brushy I
chose to go on to the Cable Line Trail and not soak my pants once again
on wet brush. On the climb to Tiger 2 I finally saw another person who
was heading down.
I had a short stop atop Tiger 2 and then headed down the north side
back to the TMT. Right at Tom's Crossing and the TMT I met a hiker
coming around from Tiger 3. We struck up a conversation and headed down
together. After a long morning with much solitude it was fun to talk
hiking the rest of the way back. Time goes by a little faster too. I
closed my loop at Fred's Corner and was pleased to see my
drainage work was holding and much of the trail/creek was now dry. Once
off the old High Point Trail section and back in the woods the snow
thinned and then was gone. Easy walking all the way back.
This was a slow hiking day. With trail work and trying not to overheat
in a jacket going up I took 2:20 to hike four miles up Tiger 1. Slip
sliding down the Poo Top I took another 35 minutes to drop to the
TMT. After that I picked up the pace. I
was back at the car by 2:25 pm. This is a route I have done only a few
times over the years. It avoids the most used trails. I
calculated it at about 10 miles with 3100' of elevation gain. It was
great to actually do a snow hike with such a short drive. Maybe I'll
actually use my snowshoes this winter.
Click on thumbnails to get
Snow On Grand Ridge
Snow Under Bridge
Snow On Bridge
Snow On Ferns
Dark & Light
Almost Black & White
A Bare Spot
Snowy Hikers Hut
East Tiger Mountain
Poo Top Trail
Back On TMT
Issaquah Gap Creek
Tiger 2 Summit
Tiger 2 Art