It’s been several weeks since we had time for a longer hike in the mountains. Yesterday we set out on a morning trek into the Cascades following Saturday’s rain and snowfall, heading north to Snoqualmie Pass and a new-to-us hike to Dirty Harry’s Balcony.
With a name like that, I wasn’t expecting this hike to be so beautiful!
There were already a number of cars in the parking lot when we arrived around 8 a.m. and we can only assume they were headed to the peak or on some other tangential path because we didn’t see that many people on the trail.
After crossing an icy bridge right at the onset, we started our climb, navigating a series of snowy switchbacks through the woods. I was glad we packed our poles and ice trekkers – the extra traction made our ascent over the trail’s icy rocks much easier and faster!
The hike had several viewpoints that were called out on Brian’s Gaia app, ranging from glimpses through the trees to completely open ridges with 180 degree views of the valley before us.
As we continued our climb, the snow on the trail became fluffier and the evergreens more snow-laden. It was truly a quiet and beautiful winter wonderland.
Some of our best views were at the viewpoint just before we reached the balcony. The sun was not quite able to break through the clouds, and the fog kept rolling in and out, at times creating a river of mist running through the valley.
After about 2.25 miles and 1,261 feet of gain we reached the actual balcony and simply stared at the magical views of the pass. There were a handful of people there also taking in the view, and the constant chatter and bumping around each other in the small space was a little less than ideal given the serene setting. The fog blew in and completely covered the balcony shortly after we arrived, giving us the perfect excuse to head back to the trail for our descent.
If you’re looking for a moderate 5-mile hike that will get your blood pumping but offer multiple viewpoints to catch your breath, I’d recommend checking out Dirty Harry’s Balcony!