Get a workout and marvel at rock work completed by Department of Natural Resources and WTA volunteer crews on this hike. Your reward is a rocky overlook from which you can marvel at Mount Kent, McClellan Butte, and Mount Washington, the behemoths forming the south rim of the west entrance to Snoqualmie Pass.
From the trailhead sign, walk 0.1 miles in forest on a graveled trail, climb slightly, and re-emerge back onto the road heading towards the Fire Training Academy. Walk along the road, crossing the bridge over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Immediately after crossing the bridge, look for a trail heading off to the right, right next to the end of the guardrail on the road.
Parallel the river for a quarter mile before beginning to climb in earnest. Spur trails to climbing routes branch off here and there, but the main trail is extremely well-signed; you’ll have no problem staying on the right track.
Once across a small drainage, the trail jogs to the right and begins to switchback up the slope. As you’re hiking through this section, take in some of the large boulders in this area. You may see glinting pieces of metal in the rock; these are bolts on climbing routes. This section also marks the beginning of trail maintenance projects worked on by a variety of different organizations, including WTA volunteers. Many hours were dedicated to creating flat trail out of a jumble of boulders here.
As you’re hiking along these switchbacks, envision setting and moving these giant boulders in place to hold the trail against the hillside. It's a lot of work, but hikers just like you, who volunteered with WTA, helped us do it!
The trail continues through this rock work for multiple switchbacks before culminating at a cliffy overlook. It may seem like the balcony, but you’re not quite there. There are several good overlook on this trail but only one is the true balcony. However, these overlooks offer a place for you to rest and get your breath. This first overlook offers one of the first great views of the valley and also an amazing profile of McClellan Butte. So it's worth a stop.
Hike another 0.8 miles before arriving at the well-signed Dirty Harry’s Balcony turnoff. It’s about 0.2 miles to the Balcony itself, where views east await.
WTA Pro Tip: The DNR map shows that the Dirty Harry's Peak Trail continues all the way to a border with a parcel of private property. Despite the excellent signage down below, this border is not signed. Please be aware of where you are hiking if you choose to go beyond the Balcony on this trail.
Note: You may see a sign indicating the Ira Spring Connector Trail here, too. From this turnoff it is it is possible to connect to the Ira Spring trail (which accesses Mason Lake) from here, but it is a rough, rugged bootpath that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends only experienced hikers attempt.