Untamed Tiger

April 13, 2009

Tiger Mountain is a popular destination for Seattle-area trail runners, and I’ve gone there numerous times in the last couple of years, almost always doing one or more repetitions of the 15-mile loop known in various circles as “Seattle’s Favorite Loop” and/or “the Fat Ass loop.” Despite this persistence and focus, my Tiger runs never go as smoothly as planned. My complaints and excuses:

6-3-07: Got dehydrated. Lost ten pounds.

5-10-08: Planned to run two counterclockwise laps. Quads were dead after the first descent from West Tiger peak #3; skipped the second lap. Will go clockwise in the future.

6-21-08: Ran clockwise. Brought directions to stay oriented. Got lost anyway. (Turned left prematurely from TMT onto Hidden Forest rather than waiting ’til One View.) Fell five times in two laps — a lot, even for me.

7-5-08: Rainy. Legs were lashed repeatedly by wet brush along overgrown trails.

3-7-09: Lots of snow at higher elevations; hard to run fast there. Couldn’t quite remember the entire route from last year; made a wrong turn at the One View/W. Tiger Railroad Grade intersection.

4-13-09: Thought the snow would be gone after a couple of 70-degree days earlier in the week. Wrong. Copious snow at higher elevations; copious rain and mud lower down.

A true trail enthusiast might welcome these varied challenges, but I mostly feel as though I’m fighting the mountain in a protracted war. And losing, I might add.


  1. You need to do some runs on Cougar instead, its better signed than that upper section of Tiger 🙂 Though I could give you some unloved-unmaintained trails on Cougar if you really want to get lost.

  2. Funny, I have the same problem with Tiger. I've gotten lost there a few times; the last time I took a wrong turn and ended up on the opposite side two and a half hours later and had to hitch hike back to my car. I can never seem to get in an "uninterrupted" run there, unless I'm following somebody.

  3. The last time I got lost on Tiger was several years ago, running with – of all people – Scott Jurek. It was snowy on the upper part of the mountain and we were coming down the TMT from West Tiger 2. We went off on an unofficial, unmarked trail that connects back to the TMT further down the mountain and is actully a big shortcut – if you go left once you hit the TMT. We went right and eventually got back up into the snow when Scott realized we were heading in the wrong direction. Added about 30 min to our run.I can take you on the 12 peaks run later this summer, after I'm back from Germany and when the snow has melted in the higher elevations. Parts of 12 peaks, especially the climb up East Tiger (coming from West Tiger) is extremely hard to find in anything more than 6 inches of snow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: