Cable Line

Tiger Mountain offers miles of trails, including my previous training hike at West Tiger 3. You can reach that same summit in a fraction of the miles–for a price. 

Cable Line is not as feared as trails like Mailbox Peak or Granite Mountain, but it’s actually even more steep. You gain over 2,000 feet of elevation in about a mile and a half. You can make tons of loop options for the way down, but the climb up is the purpose for most who seek out this trail. The summit is West Tiger 3, which I had already mentioned had a fairly underwhelming top, so this is all about burning those quads.

This isn’t even as steep as it gets!

Unlike West Tiger 3, you actually want to park before the gate to the parking lost–the trailhead here starts below West Tiger 3. The climb starts immediately, although not quite at the steep grade I had traversed when I did West Tiger 3. Due to steepness and popularity, there was loose rocks and unsure footing everywhere, making me super grateful to have poles with me. In parts, there was deep canyons where water had run down–I can only imagine how sloppy this trail could get in a downpour. Unlike other trails on the mountain, this one was fairly narrow and in some paces even a little tricky to pass or let others by, which had me thankful it isn’t as popular or well-known as Mailbox.

If it weren’t in the ground, I’d be tempted to use the cable as a rope! Note the areas where water will run down in a rainstorm.

At one point, the trail mercifully levels out, but do not be lulled into a false sense of security–it gets worse just after this, with the eponymous cable finally poking out of the ground. The ground got even more dicey here, with us setting off mini slides with every step. I kept checking my GPS and my surroundings, hoping to soon be where we had traversed Cable Line previously, to no avail. Despite being a short trail, the steepness made it feel miles longer! At this point, we had gone about three-quarters of the way. When we finally crossed paths with West Tiger 3, I picked up the pace, knowing we were close. At the top, we inhaled our snacks, shocked to be winded from one mile. Time to the top was 74 minutes!

In hindsight, I wish we had done a different route down to the car. As mentioned, this trail is steep and mostly loose rocks under your feet, and at many times I felt like I was an ice skater on marbles. Our time to the bottom was barely faster than our time up we had to step so gingerly. Also, I did fall at one point, and luckily jammed my finger between my pole and an exposed root, which was an added joy. I cannot fathom what this trail would be like without hiking poles! It was a great jaunt for mountain prep, and I see from WTA reports people do it repeatedly or with heavily-weighted packs for extra prep.


In summary:

Distance: 3.0 miles RT according to WTA

Elevation: 2022 feet of gain

Parking: You can park on the road before the gate for free with no pass, if you park after the gate then Discover Pass required.

Bathrooms: Water and toilets in parking lot (nothing by road)

Best Beer Bet: Rogue Brewing has an Issaquah location mere miles from the trailhead.

2 Replies to “Cable Line”

  1. I live in Issaquah and I haven’t gotten a chance to check this trail out yet!

    1. There’s so many options between Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain!

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