This hike provides varying terrain and wildflowers to distract the hiker from 96 switchbacks and over 4,000 feet of elevation. The reward: spectacular views of Lake Wenatchee, the White and Little Wenatchee rivers, the North Cascades, and Glacier Peak.
Maps: View our topo map below for more information.
Note: use ‘Print Preview’ to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.
Allowed: Hiking and non-motorized use. Not-Allowed: Motorized use prohibited
Nearest Town: Leavenworth
Skill Level: 2 (intermediate)
Fitness Level: 2+ (advanced intermediate) to 3 (advanced).
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 4,300 ft elevation gain
Access. Driving west, follow Highway 2 to Coles Corner (19 miles east of Stevens Pass).Turn right onto Highway 207 and drive to the Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station (8.5 miles). Find the trailhead on the right.
- Follow the trail for 1.5 miles to an intersection with an old logging road. Turn left on this road and continue along it for 0.5 mile
- At and elevation of 3700 feet, the road meets the trail again
- Reach the site of the old lookout (elev. 6,193 ft)
- The true summit of Dirtyface Peak involves a cross-country hike with rock scrambling. This portion is not recommended for casual hikers.
Other. In summer mosquitoes can be bad along this trail–be sure to bring bug repellent. Also, the trail is quite dry in summer, carry plenty of water.
Additional Information: Use this link for information on the old Dirty Face Lookout site. Information on the trails is also available from the Lake Wenatchee Ranger Station (763-3103) or the Wenatchee River Ranger Station in Leavenworth (548-2550).
Permits. A Northwest Forest Pass is needed to park at the trailhead. Cost is $5/day or $30 for a year’s pass.
Condition Update: Writing for The Wenatchee World, Rob Ollikainen reported on July 3, 2007 that, despite the 2005 fire and the recent windstorms, the trail is still in good condition.
–10/24/2017 Update: The Women with Altitude Hiking Group reported about 3 inches of snow on the trail, making MicroSpikes very useful. Beautiful fall colors and views. There is now quite a bit of deadfall across the trail (probably 15 blown-down burnt trees across trail on the first half of the trail). Brush on edge of trail is growing in as well. Group did not finish the second half of the hike due to time constraints.
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.
Fred Rose and I did the ascent Friday, July 24, 2020. Conditions were favorable with cooler weather prevailing that helped moderate the elevation gain of 3900’. Recent trail work included some brushing on the lower part of the trail and logs cut out up to about 2/3 of the way to the top. Perhaps half a dozen logs remain covering the upper part of the trail, and none are difficult to pass by. Buckbrush is extensive in the middle portion of the route, encroaching the trail significantly in many places. If the vegetation was wet, one would get soaked from top to bottom. The trail passes Fall Creek about a mile up and at about 1.75 miles, a short sidetrail goes to a creek. Above that, be sure to have ample water. The trail is mostly south facing and can be very hot. Views from the top make the ascent worthwhile. Charlie Hickenbottom