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Nook Trail

Issaquah Alps

Location

Issaquah Alps -- Tiger Mountain
View map below

Length

6.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2000 ft.
Highest Point: 2525 ft.

Rating

2.50 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2011
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 
 

For those who enjoy the challenge of Mailbox Peak-style climbing, look no further than Issaquah to find her little brother, tightly packaged in a quad-exerting, heart-jerking direct climb to West Tiger 3’s hilltop vista. Those who survive will enjoy the same great views we’ve all come to love on the summit— the Snoqualmie Valley, the Issaquah-Hobart basin and, on clear days, Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline.

The trail starts off on the Tradition Plateau, which I’m pretty sure was a trail-builder’s prank, built in an effort to confuse hikers. So many great trails start here; walking in nearly any direction will lead you to immediately pull out your map and scratch your head. Adding to the befuddlement is the simple fact that nearly all the trails can make loops by using other trails. The Section Line follows that pattern and can be started or completed in a number of directions.

My favorite way utilizes the Nook Trail as its starting point. Find the Nook Trail by following the Bus Trail to the southwest. Pass the West Tiger 3 Trail and look to the south (left) for a small sign indicating the Nook Trail’s start.

Climb the Nook Trail through dense Northwest forest canopy, enjoying the sounds made by quiet brooks, the tremble of evergreen ferns and the flitting of dark-eyed “Oregon” juncos in the trees above. At 1.5 miles, arrive at Talus Rocks Loop Trail. Stay right (southwest) for another 0.3 mile and find the Section Line Trail, where you’ll lace up your boots and begin your ascent. Technically, the trail is “unmaintained”—hiker code for “this puppy is steep, steep, steep.” Stop often to rest as you make your way up a very rocky, somewhat loose and tree-rooted 0.5 mile. Cross the West Tiger Railroad Grade which gives you hope, inspiration and some flat ground, before popping back into the climb. Continue your high-stepping, hand-to-tree holding huff-’n-puff for another 0.4 mile before you are spit out onto the unmarked West Tiger Cable Line. Turn right (south) 0.1 mile and arrive at the West Tiger 3 vista with endorphins dancing. After treating your eyes, resting your quads and catching your breath, descend the way you came, or go easy on your joints and take the West Tiger 3 Trail back down to the Bus Trail.

 

Nook Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.5298, -121.9959 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Issaquah Alps -- Tiger Mountain

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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Getting There

Driving Directions

From I-90, a few miles east of Issaquah, take Exit 20 for High Point and turn south on 270th Ave SE. Just a few yards south of I-90, turn right onto SE 79th St and continue on west. The pavement ends in 0.4 miles, and a gate there is open each day from dawn until dusk.

If you arrive earlier, or expect to leave after dusk, you will need to park along either side of the road here and follow the obvious trail half a mile to the parking lot. Otherwise, you are welcome to drive on through, watching for possible potholes, and park in the lot.

A Discover Pass is required. A toilet is available, but there is no regular water source.

Take Transit

As a possible alternative for hikers who don't have the use of a car, King County Metro bus Route 208 runs between Issaquah and North Bend, and on weekdays it has a stop at 270th Ave SE. It's a short walk to reach SE 79th St, but then about 0.9 miles to the main parking lot. There are only a few buses each day, so if you use this option be sure to check schedules, including those for any connecting routes.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass
 

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Nook Trail

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