Between Peaks: West Tiger 3 Trail
West Tiger 3, also known as T-3 among Tiger Mountain State Forest hikers and Terminator hunters, probably won’t gain you the social media followers you desire, but the medium difficulty, 5-mile roundtrip trail will get your heart pumping and wake up your legs for the upcoming hiking season. You will need to use your brain. From the trailhead, several trails splinter off in different directions with at least six more spur trails — including several moments with the Cable Trail — along the way to the top. Scan for T-3 signs and sensible boot placements through the mud, but also take in the bright-green forest of ferns and moss. The trail swings through a series of switchbacks before hitting an easier grade through tall evergreens, the last significant break before the ascent resumes. After crossing a junction with West Tiger Railroad Grade Trail, stay on the T-3 as it ascends to an open ridge with views out to the northeast, including I-90, Mount Si, and the nearby radio towers of West Tiger Two. The summit lies just beyond at 2,522 feet, a clearing with a broad view over Mount Rainier, Cougar Mountain, Squak Mountain and the Cascades.
Between Peaks IPA
The top of Tiger Mountain doesn’t have beer taps, which means you’ll have to bring your own. There’s nothing better gazing at the beautiful view after a 2,000-foot vertical hike than cracking open an Old Schoolhouse Brewery Between Peaks IPA with hiking companions. It feels like the cherry on top when enjoying the views you trekked to see with flavors of pine and citrus taking you to euphoria.
Getting There: From Tacoma, take I-5 north to I-90 east then veer right onto exit 20 for High Point Way. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn right at the stop sign and then immediately turn right again. You will now be traveling west, paralleling I-90 on your right. Park along this road if you can find a spot — it’s popular here because no permit is required. Peaks & Pints has a Discover Pass so we parked at the official DNR parking lot where a Discover Pass is required. Water, maps, and toilets are also available here. Be aware that the gate closes to this lot at night.
LINK: Hiking With Beer