Dirtyface Lookout is a popular early season and summer leg burner, climbing 4000 feet feet above Lake Wenatchee to an old fire lookout. The first three-quarters of a mile of this trail are a great hike for kids, climbing 700 vertical feet to a small waterfall with excellent views of the Lake Wenatchee Basin. This shorter route makes for a good snowshoe.
The trail is visited frequently enough that the snowshoe track will likely be broken in. If it isn’t and there has been a good snowfall, breaking trail will provide a good workout. While the trail is not hard to follow, it is smart to travel with a map.
Find the trailhead by snowshoeing 300 yards up the summer access road. Look for a winter sign in box and be sure to sign in. This is not only for your own safety, but so the Forest Service can monitor usage and will continue to plow the parking area.
From the trailhead, your route takes you through a lowland forest, ponderosa pines and big leaf maples, climbing easily and relatively quickly to a small “waterfall” fed from springs that create Fall Creek. There is one spot where a spring runs all winter down the trail and melts the snow for about 30 feet, depending on snow depth the snowshoe trail may parallel this spot or tromp up thru the slush.
From the waterfall, there are excellent views of Lake Wenatchee.This is an excellent outing for kids who are a more advanced hikers, or want to challenge themselves on snowshoes. Experienced, strong snowshoers frequently tackle the full climb to the top, but this is a far more challenging undertaking. If you have strong legs, a good understanding of the weather forecast, snow conditions and navigation, it may be a good jaunt for you, but remember, the top of Dirty Face is at 6000 feet, and much of the trail passes through a former burn, which can be dangerous in high winds.
WTA Pro Tip: Always check the Northwest Avalanche Center website for conditions before any snowshoe adventure.