Tiger Mountain is one of Seattle's most popular mountain biking destinations. Its close proximity to Seattle, good parking facilities, and a variety of trail difficulties draw the masses. Summer weekends see a steady stream of bikes ranging from 45 lb. DH rigs to old-skool fully stiff cromoly frames. The Preston Railroad Trail, Iverson (Fat Hand) Trail, and Northwest Timber Trail are all open to bicycles. All other trails are (currently) closed to mountain bicycles. The trails are closed seasonally from October 15 to April 15, but there are many miles of roads open all year long. Many of these make for excellent training rides.
Trails vary in difficulty. Iverson is considered the most difficult, followed by Preston Railroad Grade and then Northwest Timber. Both Iverson and NW Timber have rolling grades although NW Timber has less roots and rocks impeding your way. Iverson is usually ridden from the top down because the lower section can be quite challenging to climb. NW Timber is often ridden both directions. Preston is either a climb, descent, or both and sports several challenges with rocks and roots along the way.
The standard Road > Preston > NW Timber Trail loop
The Iverson Loop (AKA Fat Hand Trail)
After weeks of riding mediocre trails in Southern California, I really needed an epic ride. Tiger Mountain fulfilled every need I had! Tiger Mountain is perhaps one of the best well rounded trails I've ever ridden.The trail starts with a 3.5 grind up to the top of the Preston Railroad trail head on a smooth fire road. The grind is a nice warm up for what is the one of the best downhills around.Once on the Preston Railroad trail you will enjoy very fast and rolling single track. There are many roots and ledge drops, but almost all have a sneak option. In a few spots you will crash and burn if you don't have enough speed to "launch" the drop. However, for those without a sneak, you should have enough warning if you're looking far enough ahead.Once you reach the end of Preston, you can link to the Northwest Timber Trail. To get to the Northwest Timber Trail by following the fire road back towards the top. Eventually you'll see the trail head.The Preston trail requires Intermediate and Expert skills in my opinion, considering the number of root drops that will easily challenge a new rider. However, the Northwest Timber Trail can be ridden by a new rider, with the exception of one small section before the first bridge. You can easily see this section once you come across it.This is a great and detailed resource on the trail:http://evergreenmtb.org/wiki/index.php?title=Trail:Tiger_Mountain
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