Trip Report    

Day Hike - Dirty Harry's Peak via Ira Spring Connector trail from Ira Spring TH

Connector trail from Ira Spring TH is nice alternative to access Dirty Harry's Peak trail. More strenuous than Bird House trail, but IMO, more interesting.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • From start of Connector trail to junction with Putrid Pete's Peak trail, about 1 mile, the trail tread is a generous stride width, covered with fallen needles, for the most part free of rocks and roots and our group easily kept a 2.0mph pace. Westward of the junction, the trail often becomes a boot path,  with plenty of rocks and roots plus descending/ascending multiple small drainages. On this day, water in the drainages only got boot soles wet. Although on topo map, this section appears minimal elevation gain/loss, it was slower going due to trail conditions and more ups/downs than the topo map would predict.  After junction with the Balcony trail, the road-to-trail conversion becomes steeper, rockier and, underfoot, the tread surface still feels like a road in many places. This trail is well developed with signs of frequent foot traffic. From that junction, it's a continuous 1000'/mile ascent. Museum Creek had moderate water flow with lots of exposed rocks to step across. Snow for the last ~0.5 mile was icy and we donned our microspikes at ~4300' elevation. 

    20231116_snowy trail.jpg
    Icy snow on the trail above ~4300'

7:30 am start time in sunshine, but a frosty 34º. Ours were the only vehicles in the parking lot. Vault toilet & trash bins accessible when we started, but posted "Closed for the Winter" upon our return. Like the Birdhouse trail access to the Dirty Harry's Peak trail, the Connector trail has its share of interesting rock walls and formations. In one place, the trail put us beneath an overhanging wall. Lots of mushrooms.  Little Balcony, via a short side trail, provided clear views from McClellan Butte to Change Peak and Rattlesnake Mountain with its radio towers. And, beyond those, snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains.  Dirty Harry's Peak trail, itself, doesn't have many interesting features except to wonder how vehicles ever made it up this former road. A chainsaw "artist" has carved a log bench with a view at ~2800' elevation and another  at ~3400'. Both provide a respite, if needed, from the unrelenting uphill grade. Although Dirty Harry’s Peak is indicated to be on private property, we looked for but did not see signs indicating the boundary. Thompson Point and Revolution Peak are directly across from Dirty Harry’s Peak and Lower Granite Lake directly below. Mt Baker to the far left and, seen as just a snow-white sliver peaking along the right side of nearer peak, Glacier Peak. We had lunch at the Dirty Harry’s Peak (elevation 4679’); then, returned to the TH via the same route.   (WTA Report link)

Peaks viewed from Dirty Harry's Peak
Lunch stop at top of Dirty Harry's Peak
Overhanging wall.jpg
Overhanging rock wall
IraSpring Connector trail 11-16-23.jpg
Interesting rock formations