Embark onto an alpine adventure just minutes from I-90. Dirty Harry’s Peak offers spectacular views, without the crowds that generally clot trails along the I-90 corridor. Named after the infamously fearless logger Harry Gault, the trail follows an old logging road, leading to the famous balcony and eventually the mountain peak. Dirty Harry’s Peak is an excellent choice for spring hiking. Located to the east of Mailbox Peak, this 4,700-foot mountain offers a delightful balance of bare trail and snow early in the season.

dirty harry's peak_1
©Melissa Farage

Start off from the parking area at the end of the road. Head down the road on-foot for a half of a mile to reach the trailhead. The trailhead isn’t officially marked, simply look for two large concrete blocks on the right-hand side of the road. Despite the unsightly trailhead, the trail immediately plunges into the new-growth forest. Climb along the trail as it climbs straight up the lower reaches of the mountains, a claustrophobic net of trees. As you follow the path, keep an eye out for logging artifacts, such as cables. Roughly two miles into the trail, you’ll find a rusted oil drum. Hikers who are interested in a spectacular, uninterrupted view of the I-90 corridor can head over to Dirty Harry’s Balcony (a mere .5 miles away).

dirty harry's peak_2
©Melissa Farage

The trail steepens after the balcony, intermittently affording stunning views of Mount Washington and McClellan Butte. The trail passes over Museum Creek before switch-backing upward along the mountain’s shoulder. Springtime hikers might want to wear either sandals or waterproof boots—the trail has a tendency to transform into a stream, cascading with water from snowmelt. As the trail switch-backs again, offering a view of a boulderfield, take a left to reach the summit (this is unmarked). Springtime hikers will probably encounter snow near the top. Simply follow the wide path of the logging road (or the footprints of other hikers) to the mountain’s summit to enjoy stunning—but interrupted—views of Mailbox, Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak.

 

Season: Spring

Distance: 10 miles

Variety: Out and Back

Elevation Gain: 3400 feet

Highest Elevation: 4700 feet

Maps: Green Trails Bandera No. 206

Passes/Permits: Discovery Pass

Driving Drections:

From I-90 take exit 38. Take a right after the exit and follow the signs to the State Fire Training Center. Follow the road to a parking lot just after the overpass. Note: don’t park farther than the gate, there is a sign clearly stating parking fines.

dirty harry's peak_3
©Melissa Farage
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