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One Trail, Ten Ways To Enjoy It

Washington's trail are where memories are made, but one trail can mean something different to many people. Find out how one trail has unites families, provides adventure and builds WTA's community.

What do we use hiking trails for? The obvious answer is, well, to hike. But the same trail can offer totally different motivations, ideas or inspirations for someone to visit.

Every day, people all over Washington file trip reports detailing their adventures on trail, each report details a unique on-trail experience. Whether they're doing a first time exploration of an area, to a looking for a way to show off the state you live in, hikers find an incredible variety of experiences on Washington's trails.  

Just one trail can mean many things to many people. WTA recently finished renovating the trail to Dirty Harry’s Peak, and we found ten trip reports detailing ten different ways hikers enjoyed the route. The folks listed below all headed to Dirty Harry's for a special experience, and each group got one, even if, in some cases, it wasn't quite what they originally went for. 


Show off Washington

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Trip reporter davedonahue wanted a hike to share with a friend from out of state, and he picked Dirty Harry's. Clouds and the second-growth forest kept them cool on the way up, but they were rewarded by stunning views above the cloud deck at the summit. 


Get Engaged

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"BEST. HIKE. EVER" is Erin Melton's review of Dirty Harry's Balcony. Of course, any hike that includes a marriage proposal is likely to be pretty excellent. She and her fiance enjoyed the trail and got some nice photos to commemorate the moment, but they didn't get to the balcony the day of the proposal. Now that WTA has finished improving the trail, they can go back and experience it all over again.


Discover a New Trail

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ShaniceS7 took a chance here last November. She wanted to explore a new-to-her location, and was rewarded with excellent views and a WTA work party doing some trail maintenance before she ran into snow and made the smart choice to save the summit for another day. 


Sunrise trail run


Dirty Harry’s Peak checked all the boxes for trip reporter rachelld’s sunrise trail run. "...proximity to the freeway (shorter drive time from Seattle), moderate elevation and mileage, and because we'd never been before.”

While you may not start at the trailhead at 5:30 a.m., reach the summit at 7:00 a.m. and get back to the parking lot shortly after 8:00 a.m. like this crew of three, the trek to the peak will still provide sweeping views from the halfway point and less foot traffic than other nearby trails, all on a well-maintained trail.


Loop it up

RahulR used Dirty Harry's trail to access three summits in one day. Photo by RahulR.

Why hike up to one summit when you can get to three? Scramble-lovers, peak-baggers and those looking for rugged adventure may want to give RahulR’s loop a go. He and two companions started by heading up Mailbox Peak, following a traverse and class 3 scramble over to Dirtybox and then some class 3 and 4 scrambling to Dirty Harry’s Peak before catching a connector road back to Mailbox’s parking lot.

Note: This is a challenging trek of 14 miles and 5880 feet of total elevation gain) requiring both navigation and climbing skills.


build morale

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WTA's leadership team recently visited Dirty Harry's to get some fresh air and hang out together outside the office. Director of Communications and Outreach Kindra Ramos wrote the team's trip report, noting that it was nice to enjoy the trails WTA volunteers, donors and members helped make a reality.

Plus, they did their part in keeping the trail looking great by packing out a tarp that previous trip reporters had mentioned. 


TRAIN for summer...

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Training hikes are hard, but visual payoffs like this are part of your reward. Photo by PixelsandPassports. 

If you’ve ever tried to get in shape for a summer of hiking or backpacking, then you’re probably familiar with training hikes, which  pack in a solid amount of elevation gain per mile. If you've memorized the trail up Mount Si, and Mailbox Peak, you can find great training and new sights on Dirty Harry's. Either the peak or the balcony make for memorable destinations. 

Trip reporter PixelsAndPassport trekked up to the Balcony with her backpacking gear while dafina continued on to the Peak calling it “a perfect conditioner with far fewer crowds than the usual conditioners closer to Seattle.”


... and Train Your Dog, too.

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Thanks to the combo of steepness and moderate hiker traffic, Dirty Harry's is a good location to train your pup, too! Ben jones went on a fun family outing last May that wound up doubling as a great first time hike for their puppy. Trip reporter fentible used the trail as a trainer as well; he's appreciative of hikers who helped his dog get used to being around other people and their canine hiking companions.  


Move some Rocks...


Though our work parties rarely get to the end of a trail, volunteers still get to spend some time in nature, and make a big difference on the trail they're improving. Assistant Crew Leader and WTA volunteer Dave Clemens supported many of our work parties at Dirty Harry's, and wrote informative trip reports about the trail condition so folks can get be informed when they head out for their next hike. 


Or scout Some rock


For some, the destination when setting out on the Dirty Harry’s trail is not only the Balcony or the Peak but rather some really great outdoor rock climbing routes, known by climbers as the Far Side Climbing Area. After helping to build the trail with WTA, trip reporter abkoch returned with a friend to check out the finished product and look scope out Far Side, taking some “side trips to check out a few of the climbing areas before heading up to the balcony.” Keep an eye out for any new trip reports featuring climbers.