With a name like Dirty Harry’s Balcony, I was already suspicious about it. And when Gonza and I attempted it for the first time back in September, I wasn’t a huge fan — but we didn’t make it to the top. I wanted to give it another try though, and I’m glad I did!
Dirty Harry’s Balcony Trail Review
- Hiked: early April
- Distance from Seattle: 40 minutes
- Accessibility: Entirely highway and paved road
- Length: 4.4 miles miles round trip
- Difficulty: easy/moderate. There’s a bit of a climb, but nothing too crazy.
- Crowds: lightly crowded
- Trail views: mountain views towards the top of the trail and at the Balcony, but also highway 90
- Water features: almost nonexistent
- Overall rating: 6/10
The trail starts out of the parking lot (you will need a Discover Pass to park here) and you quickly cross a road and a bridge to get to the main trail. From there, you start to climb pretty quickly. Though the hike is short, it’s definitely a nice little leg and lung burner.
This trail is one I’d classify as “rocky and rooty”. There are a lot of exposed roots as well as rocky portions. I had briefly considered wearing my running shoes for this hike, and I’m glad I didn’t. I was happy to have the ankle and foot support of my boots.
The trail is mainly forested until you reach the balcony. There are a couple of view points along the trail, but exercise caution as they are often right on/near cliffs.
The trail also has several branches of trails that are used primarily by rock climbers, so it’s really well-signed. You’ll follow the signs for Dirty Harry’s Peak Trail (DHPT, for short) until the final fork before the balcony, which is appropriately signed.
We did this hike on a Thursday afternoon near the end of the work day, and while there were a lot of cars in the parking lot, we didn’t run into too many hikers on the trail. We even had the balcony to ourselves for quite a while! We did meet a group of super nice hikers, though — one gave me his email address to join their next excursion. They were all probably in their 50s and 60s and I loved seeing them out and about, and hope I can join them one day in the next month or two!
While we called it a day at the balcony, you can hike further to get to Dirty Harry’s Peak — it’s about double the distance, and at this time, has snow on the trail. I think I’ll look into hiking the peak at some point in the next few weeks and report back when I do!
All things considered, the Balcony had pretty nice views for the distance and effort. Not a bad way to spend a work evening at all.