Less than an hour from the city, Tiger Mountain is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in the Seattle area. The area is actually comprised of six peaks in the center of the Issaquah Alps, nestled between Squak and Cougar Mountains to the west, and Rattlesnake Ledge and McDonald and Taylor Mountains to the east. There are a total of 20 miles of mountain biking trail, 90 percent of which are single track that winds through mixed deciduous forests, ranging from easy to expert.
What Makes It Great
From flowy downhills, to fun XC, to uphill grunts, Tiger Mountain has a little bit of everything. Here is how some of the tried and true favorites break down:
Northwest Timber Trail: A 2.5-mile route that is mostly easy/green circle, with a few more technical cruxes. No shame in dismounting to get around them (as many riders do), especially the gnarly root drop near the ledge. This trail can be taken in either direction. Take care to watch out for hikers.
Iverson Trail (a.k.a. Fat Hand): A 1.9-mile intermediate/blue square run with lots of technical terrain. While there is plenty of descents, you have to earn them with some tough climbing sections; it is known as being a bit of a grunt.
East Tiger Summit: An easy to moderate, fast and flowy route that takes some effort on the way up, but is breezy on the way back down.
Preston Railroad Grade: A very popular fast and technical route with roots, rocks, and switchbacks to keep it interesting. Most people take it in the downhill direction, which makes it an intermediate/blue square ride. Take it uphill if you want an extra challenge!
Ride the trails in isolation or, for a nice 16-mile loop, take the Summit Trail to the Preston Railroad Trail to the Timberline Trail (a relatively bland hiker’s trail, but it completes the loop). Check out the map here.
Note: Some outdated websites say that the mountain biking trails close from October to April. This is no longer the case, although some routes are subject to seasonal closures when conditions aren’t good. Check for closures here.
Who is Going to Love It
With plenty of trails over the whole range of difficulty, pretty much anyone who enjoys mountain biking will have a good time at Tiger Mountain. In fact, it is pretty much the go-to destination for accessible weekend rides (that being said, if you want some solitude while you ride it is better to go in the early morning or on a weekday).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-90, take exit 25 to Highway 18 and continue about four miles. There are two parking lots: East Tiger Mountain Summit (a.k.a. “Lower Trailhead”), and Tiger Summit (a.k.a. “Upper Trailhead”).