Sunset - Plateau Loop

Kim was free for a hike and I had to be home by early afternoon. We chose another close in hike on Tiger Mountain. This time, rather than heading for the peaks we did a big loop mostly on the Tradion Lake Plateau. To get in a little extra elevation gain we started at the Sunset Way Trailhead in Issaquah. The lot was more than half full when we arrived at about 8:15 am. After a string of 70-80 degree days, this day would be cool. It was only in the mid 50s when we started. The sky was white all day. Driving through Issaquah, the top half of Tiger Mountain was buried in clouds. We were on our way at 8:22 am.

We quickly climbed up to the plateau. I had decided on a counterclockwise loop. We took the Wetlands Trail to the Adventure Trail. The first thing we noticed were the blooming starflowers. We saw big clumps of them on much of our route. There was also some false Solomon's seal in bloom. The next and most colorful find was the honeysuckle. These long trumpet-like orange and yellow flowers were in spots around our loop. The total was probably more than I have ever seen on a hike. We turned right on the Adventure Trail. As the trail climbs higher Kim noticed several small coralroot saprophytes. This is pretty early to see saprophytes. There are some big patches of them on Tiger Mountain but I usually don't see them until July. They are very hard to focus on. I managed to get one shot in focus.

From the highest point the trail drops down to the High School Trail. Here we saw the first hikers of the day. We headed over to the Section Line Trail. Several other groups were heading up and down the Poo Poo Point Trail. The lower Section Line is on an old logging road. It is steep for a road. The grasss and other ground cover takes up most of the road. The narrow brown trail contrasts with all the shades of green around it. We made slow steady progress up the trail. The overcast and recent rain on the brush really brought out the green colors. We had a few short showers but it was never enough to bother putting on rain gear. Several other groups passed us on this trail. We left the Section Line at a junction with the trail over to the Talus Rocks. We followed it to the top of the Nook Trail and a little way beyond. On the way we had a close look at a woodpecker right next to the trail. After hiking through the mossy gap in the rocks we stopped for brunch. We saw three groups while stopped here. It was still only 10:21 am. We had now completed most of the day's elevation gain.

After our break, we headed back to the Nook Trail. This is a nicely graded route down to the Bus Trail near the High Point Trailhead. We saw some mushrooms and bleeding hearts along here. At the Bus Trail we decided to go left and add about a mile to our trip. We went by whats left of the bus and then took the Around The Lake Trail. This goes along the side of Tradition Lake. Close but without much of a view as forest is in between. We skirted the big parking lot and headed for the Swamp Trail. This pointed us back towards Issaquah and our trailhead. I was on the Swamp Trail 5 weeks earlier and the swamp had open water with blooming skunk cabbage. This time the water was full of plants. I could hardly even see any water with all the plants. The skunk cabbage was done blooming but the leaves were much larger.

Aftet that we hit the Powerline Trail and then the Gas Line. We turned left and uphill to reach the Big Tree Trail. On that trail Kim pointed out an old snag with no bark left. It was almost as wide as the Big Tree with bark. It must have been a monster when it was still alive. We took a very short stop at the Big Tree. A group on a tour was stopped there too. At the "T" junction we turned left. This brought us out to the road. Rather than walk the gravel road, we crossed it and followed the trail a short way to the Adventure Trail - Wetlands Trail junction. This closed our big loop. A right turn on the Wetlands Trail brought us back to the big patch of honeysuckle and the edge of the plateau. We dropped down the trail and were soon at the trailhead. It was 1:02 when we reached the car.

For the day we hiked just over 6 miles with about 1300' of elevation gain. Not a long or steep trail but it was a good morning leg stretcher. The many shades of green were quite a sight. The early flowers are done but newer ones were coming on. I don't recall seeing so much honeysuckle on any hike previously. All that and I was home before 1:45 pm. This was Kim's first hike with this much elevation gain in a while and she did great. Most of the people on Tiger Mountain this day were heading up to the summits. We were happy to have some solitude on and above the Tradition Plateau.

Sunset Trailhead
False Solomon's Seal
Peeled Bark
Green Section Line Trail
Many Shades Of  Green
Hanging Moss
Sword Ferns
Great Lighting
Maidenhair Ferns
Lush Grasses
Easing Grade
Small White Flower
Great Green Cleft
Pipsee's View
Skunk Cabbage Leaves
Wild Ginger
Swamp Reflection
Big Tree
Another Starflower
A Rose
More Colorful Rose
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2023