The family decided to use this beautiful, cloudless, mid-70 degree day to take on the West Tiger 3 trail of Tiger Mountain. Tiger Mountain has several access points, the most popular being the High Point Trailhead off Exit 20 of I-90. This provides access to the excellently maintained, level, Tradition Lake loop, a wonderful hiking area for toddlers, little kids, and those that just aren't in the mood for hiking up mountains.
Technically this area is part of the Issaquah Alps and not the Snoqualmie Valley, but its close enough to be covered here :)
The same area provides access to both the Tiger Mountain Trail, a 16 mile hike across the full of Tiger Mountain, and the West Tiger 3 trail, which, as the name implies, takes you to the summit of West Tiger 3 - the westernmost and lowest of the three West Tiger Mountain peaks.
West Tiger 3 seems like an old trail, hard-packed, mostly dirt with some embedded rocks for good measure. The trail runs for three miles with an elevation gain of 1900 feet, and drops the hiker into a nice clearing with clear views of Mount Si and the northern Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Rainier, Seattle, Lake Washington, and the Olympics. On this day the haze prevented good views of Seattle and the Olympics, but we did catch the many hang-gliders and para-gliders making their way off Tiger Mountain.
The dirt and fresh rock that's been sprinkled on the trail actually make this a little more difficult than the average groomed trail. Our kids had trouble slipping on the way down, to the point where we slowed it down considerably and ended up carrying our three year old.
The trail was plenty busy today, and we did this hike in the afternoon. Took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the top, and 90 minutes to make it back down. The steepness of the trail sure made it seem longer.
No good views of anything along the way; however, Tiger Mountain does have a pretty extensive trail system, so you can take multiple ways exploring the area and multiple ways to get to the West Tiger 3 summit.
Mount Rainer from West Tiger 3 Summit
Mount Si from West Tiger 3 Summit