Hike of the week

Hike description: A short drive from our urban and suburban dwellings, Tiger Mountain State Forest offers a good antidote to cabin fever or to answer the need to just stretch your legs and get your heart pumping a little without driving too far. Tiger Mountain has an extensive system of hiking trails with difficulty ranging from easy to very strenuous. The Tradition Lake Loop trail is easy and fun for the whole family (including Fido).

From the parking area (which is often crowded), follow the trail past the restrooms. At this point, take the Bus Trail directing you to the trail system to and around Tradition Lake. Create a scavenger hunt with kids to find “the Swamp,” “the Brink,” “Big Tree” and an abandoned “School Bus.”

Have a detailed topographic map readily available. There are many intersecting trails not well marked. That is, 80 miles of trails in the 13,000-acre forest, with options for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Don’t have a full day to wander in the woods? Head to Tiger Mountain for exercise with time left over to do your household chores, read a book, take a nap.

Directions: Drive eastbound on Interstate 90. Take Exit 20. From the exit, go under the freeway and take a right onto Frontage Road. Parking is at the end of the road.

Difficulty rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 3

Elevation: Minimal

Best time of year: Year-round

Map: Green Trails 204S – Tiger Mountain

Pass: None needed

Also: Tiger Mountain State Forest is close to town but it is still a wilderness area. Carry the 10 Essentials. And, of course, bring snacks and lunch to stoke the appetite you’ll work up. Be prepared to share the trails with equestrians and mountain bikers. Trail etiquette in the presence of horses is for the hiker to take the low ground so the horse is above you rather than vice-a-versa and to keep talking so the horse will know where you are and not be spooked.

Info: Department of Natural Resources South Puget Sound Office in Enumclaw, 360-825-1631; Issaquah Alps Trails Club, www.issaquahalps.org/tiger.html; “Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region,” Mountaineers Books

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.