We did the same route in our late august hike up Harney. We also took the trail from the western edge of the parking area. After talking to a few people on the way up, we came to the conclusion that the number 4 trail is the best way to go, and isnt all that much longer, it just works its way around the other side of the adjacent mountain. I believe its called ‘little devil’s tower’ trail, whcih runs along the side of cathedral spires. We took the gps along and returned on the number 9 trail. The biggest difference is trail 4 rises more vertically before falling a couple hundred feet. number 9 trail elevation gain is alot more gradual.
Cant wait to get back in those ponderosa pines next summer.