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Dirtyface Lookout and Peak

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Take this stiff climb to an old lookout site that looks out directly over Lake Wenatchee-and beyond. Hot and dry in summer, but a good choice in early season because it's often 90 percent snow-free by Memorial Day, Dirtyface provides a great heart conditioner and a lot of visual treats for the eyes. The views are stunning and expansive, from sun-baked Mission Ridge to snowcapped Glacier Peak.

Beginning in open, mature timber, the well-defined trail ascends moderately as it traverses Dirtyface's sun-kissed southern slopes. Green timber soon yields to burnt bark and charred snags from a 2005 forest fire. Much old-growth timber, including giant ponderosa pines, survived the conflagration, but whether the trail survives it is another question. It won't be long before many of the fire-scorched trees begin to topple, forming impediments along the trail. With the Forest Service abandoning trails due to lack of funding for maintenance (and lack of enough public outcry demanding that Congress address this), Dirtyface may very well become another lost piece of our public heritage.

Gaining altitude more steadily, the way passes a spring before coming to Fall Creek tumbling down an open avalanche chute (elev. 2750). Views out over Lake Wenatchee are excellent. In May and June the flower show is too. Hop across the creek and continue climbing steeply, eventually following an old skid road through cool, unburnt timber. At about 2 miles the way intersects an old logging road (elev. 3500).

Turn left, following the old road for a gentle 0.5 mile, ending at a campsite and spring. The way then resumes as true trail and truly steep. Tight switchbacks that appear to have no end climb relentlessly. At about 4700 feet the forest thins. Ground squirrels and grouse scurry about. At about 3.8 miles come to a small ledge (elev. 5000 ft) with great views to the south and east. It is often possible to reach this point in May without encountering snow.

Beyond, the trail enters the subalpine zone, passing small meadows flush with flowers and teeming with views. Reach the near-6000-foot former lookout site after a final push along a semi-open ridge crest.

Wipe sweat, apply sunscreen, pull out maps and begin swirling around to identify the myriad peaks spread out before you. Glacier, Clark, and the Chiwawa Ridge to the north are especially impressive. So is the

Nason Ridge to the south with its three prominent peaks, Rock, Howard, and Mastiff, lined up for your admiration. Fish Lake twinkles in the southeast. Lake Wenatchee spreads out directly below and will command most of your attention, especially its west end where the White and Little Wenatchee rivers flow into a vast marsh via spaghetti oxbows.
Driving Directions:

From Everett head east on US 2 for 85 miles to Coles Corner. (From Leavenworth travel west on US 2 for 15 miles.) Turn left (north) onto State Route 207 (signed for Lake Wenatchee) and proceed 4.2 miles to a Y intersection just after crossing the Wenatchee River. Bear left onto North Shore Road and in 4.5 miles come to the Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station. Turn right on a service road immediately before the parking area. Follow the road for 0.2 mile to the trailhead behind the ranger station (elev. 2040 ft). Privy available.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 81 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Dirtyface Lookout and Peak — Apr 12, 2014 — Medusa La Stone
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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What a wonderful day to get out into the forest! Trillium and lilies are in bloom on the start of th...
What a wonderful day to get out into the forest! Trillium and lilies are in bloom on the start of the trail.

When you encounter the waterfall you will need to go 20' below the trail crossing in order to cross Fall Creek(Where the trail actually crosses has a thin ice bridge that isn't safe).

Just past the waterfall, you encounter massive blowdowns that completely cover the trail. WTA might want to assess and plan a few trail work parties?

Snow becomes substantial at above 3600' and snowshoes w/ poles become essential to safely navigate to the top. Snow was slushy and many people were post-holing who didn't wear snowshoes.

Got to about 5600' when the wind started picking up and I ran out of energy. Glissade most of the way down, but the snow became crusty. Ouch! ^_^

FYI - This is a mountain that Snow Machines aka Snow Mobiles frequent.
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Dirtyface Lookout and Peak — Sep 14, 2013 — jbk51691
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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Made it finally. Made sure to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the heat/sun of the day....
Made it finally. Made sure to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the heat/sun of the day. The worse part of the hike was the section after the waterfall where it was in/out of the sun. At around the 2mi mark the trail follows an old logging road which was actually quite nice for hiking. Level and smooth. After the logging road fades away the trail starts back with its immediate climbing. At this point we are at significant elevation and there was actually a nice cool breeze and alot of shady areas. The last push to the top is in typical alpine area with small alpine firs and lots of rocks. The view atop is gorgeous. We spend over an hour sitting and taking in the view while eating lunch. A nice breeze and quite a bit cooler than lower down the mountain. A few blow downs but nothing that cant be straddled or cant go around. If you can hike this on a less than 90 degree day that would be best but if you cant..... hike it early in the morning. Be prepared, there is no available water source after the waterfall area, and I heard from other hikers they didnt plan well for carrying enough water. Bugs were minimal except for the bees at the top that felt they needed to eat our lunch with us.
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Dirtyface Lookout and Peak — Jul 21, 2013 — solzia
Day hike
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We had originally planned to hike Cady Ridge but access to the trailhead was closed. We tried this ...
We had originally planned to hike Cady Ridge but access to the trailhead was closed. We tried this nearby one instead and glad we did!
We had expected the hike to be more open but about 1/2 was in the shade. The breeze kept us feeling somewhat cool even in the open areas. There were a few overgrown spots and a few easy-to-step over logs. Bugs were minimal thanks to the breeze. We stayed at the top for over an hour enjoying the wonderful views, with pleasant temps and no bugs pestering us.
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Dirtyface Lookout and Peak — Jun 30, 2013 — jbk51691
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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Got a late start and the temps reaching into the 90's we opted to just hike up to the waterfalls ins...
Got a late start and the temps reaching into the 90's we opted to just hike up to the waterfalls instead. Will try this hike again later in the season maybe in September before the snow returns. Bugs were out in full force starting at the trail head. Trail was in good shape except for a few spots where the vegetation was trying to reconnect with the other side of the trail. Definitely a hike you need to consider the temp before hiking and/or take alot of water. Beautiful view of Lake Wenatchee from the waterfalls and Pride Rock that juts out near the waterfalls. Trail immediately starts climbing from the parking lot so be ready for some quad burning.
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Dirtyface Lookout and Peak — Jun 29, 2013 — sarahu
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Overgrown | Water on trail | Bugs | No water source
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Stayed at the Lake Wenatchee State Park over the weekend, looked for something to do in the early mo...
Stayed at the Lake Wenatchee State Park over the weekend, looked for something to do in the early morning hours before the heat became too intense...After driving down the road a short way we came upon this trail head. Trail started out steady through the mature timber; then quickly turned into a steep incline. Trail was mostly dry despite a crazy downpour just hours before. There were TONS of bugs, so make sure you spray up before heading out.
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dirty face trail galiwalker.jpg
The trail up Dirtyface. Photo by Galiwalker.
Location
Dirtyface Peak (#1500)
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station
Statistics
Roundtrip 9.0 miles
Elevation Gain 3950 ft
Highest Point 5989 ft
Features
Wildflowers/Meadows
Summits
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Wenatchee Lake No. 145

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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