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Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake

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Hikers owe an incredible debt of thanks to Ira Spring. This soft-spoken man and his trail-loving photography did more for trail protection in Washington than any other person in hiking history. Ira was a tireless advocate for trails, working both behind the scenes and as one of the most recognizable trails spokesmen in the country. He lobbied Congress, he influenced local land-management decisions, and he introduced several genera-tions of hikers to the wonders of Washington's trail network through the hiking guide series he created with The Mountaineers Books. It is only fitting that this rehabilitated trail to Mason Lake bears his name. The fact that his namesake trail leads to a beautiful mountain lake is also appropriate, as Ira loved lakes of all kinds and sizes.

Start up the road and in just 0.5 mile cross Mason Creek. You'll enjoy a couple of miles of walking on this old roadbed-turned-trail, giving you ample time to stretch and loosen up muscles before starting the real climbing. The road ends at around 2 miles, and the new trail leads upward into the forest.

You'll find a trail junction near the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary at 2.25 miles out. Stay left here and continue climbing through the dense, young forest (regrowth that sprouted after a fire many decades ago). In just 0.5 mile you'll crest the ridge (elev. 4750 ft) and start a short but steep descent (losing 500 feet in elevation) to the forested basin of Mason Lake.

Mason Lake is a deep pool, home to some fine--though hard to hook--trout. Enjoy a dip in the cool waters, if you don't want to try your angling skills, and then relax under the shady forest fringe and reflect on the man who helped save these mountains for hikers.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 45 (Forest Road 9030). Drive north, then stay left on FR 9030. About 1 mile from the freeway, you'll encounter a fork. Stay left again, now on Mason Lake Road (FR 9031). At about 3.9 miles from the freeway, park where the road is blocked--the road continues on the other side, but only for foot traffic.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 435 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake, Little Mason Lake — Apr 12, 2014 — Norm
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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We departed the trailhead in clouds and 39°F temp., at 0830, anticipating a sunny day. We decided ...
We departed the trailhead in clouds and 39°F temp., at 0830, anticipating a sunny day. We decided to leave the snowshoes behind but carry traction devices. We headed up the Ira Spring trail and upon arriving at the Mason creek crossing, noticed that the culvert had washed away. There is a make-shift crossing of limbs and rocks but hopefully it will be improved upon until the $50,000 bridge is built. Snow patches start about 3300' and the trail is totally snow covered after 4000'. Shortly after there is a junction with many tracks leading to Bandera or directly to the saddle toward Mason lake. Many hikers put snowshoes on and headed up the very steep slope to Bandera but Steve and I had planned on going to Defiance, so we continued up over the snow covered boulder-field and down to Mason lake. When we got to about 4450', on Defiance's SE ridge, we realized we would not have time to summit and return at our scheduled time, so we made Little Mason lake our destination. We had lunch on its' snowy shore and departed back down to Mason lake and up over the saddle and down the boulder-field. The harder snow in the morning now was much softer so that post-holing while decending the snow covered rocks was problematic. So snowshoes would have helped to keep us from sinking down to our groin, in places. So if going up, take the snowshoes and for early morning travel take the traction devices, along with boots and poles. No flowers blooming yet.
https://www.flickr.com/[…]/
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Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake — Mar 24, 2014 — Joe Hiker
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail | Avalanche danger
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Started off at around 0930 in the morning. Very little snow on the road to the parking lot. Trail sn...
Started off at around 0930 in the morning. Very little snow on the road to the parking lot. Trail snow starts about 1/2 mile into the hike, but the trail was easily followed. Micro spikes made the hike much more enjoyable. The snow in the shade was still hard and the spikes gripped easily. I turned around about 1/3 mile from the lake at the large snow field near the top. There had been a small avalanche at the far end of the field (only 15 feet across), but it was still intimidating looking down the hill. The wind was also blowing about 40+ and my foot prints quickly disappeared from the blowing ice crystals.
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Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake — Jan 25, 2014 — NataliaK
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Beautiful scenery all along the trail! We arrived at the parking lot at 12:45pm, started hiking by ...
Beautiful scenery all along the trail!
We arrived at the parking lot at 12:45pm, started hiking by 1pm, and returned to the car shortly after 5pm. Our trip included a leisurely lunch break and a walk around the perimeter of the frozen Mason Lake. Snow started at around 3,500 ft and continued all the way to the lake. Snowshoes were not necessary, but microspikes were helpful, especially on the steeper sections.
The latter part of the forest road is unpaved and full of potholes. Be careful driving!
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Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake — Jan 20, 2014 — schuette4
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Snow free hike to around 3700 ft. Continuous snow at 4000 ft but only 6-12 inches deep. Packed tra...
Snow free hike to around 3700 ft. Continuous snow at 4000 ft but only 6-12 inches deep. Packed trail through boulder field with minimal icy spots. Trail down to Mason Lake is all ice. Advise to not take the summer route up Bandera. Continue 200 yards on trail to lake and then turn right and head up hill.
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Mount Defiance, Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake — Jan 01, 2014 — Marek
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Road to the parking lot is completely free of snow so getting to the hike wasn't a problem even for ...
Road to the parking lot is completely free of snow so getting to the hike wasn't a problem even for my very small car.
Trail starts off snow free and all streams were easy to cross. Snow on the trail started about 2 miles in. Once the snow started my microspikes became quite essential for the rest of the hike up (I started early so the snow was still very hard and icy).
The trail around Mason Lake was a little hard to follow. I did not try to venture on the ice as I could see many people did.
Hike up from Mason Lake to Defiance was easy going until I got to the meadows. From there it seems that most people chose a direct, straight up hike to the summit as opposed to following the actual trail around and up. That part was rather steep and very, very icy in the morning (I was there around 10:30 am). I had my microspikes on and wouldn't have attempted to summit without them. Way down was even worse (still early at about 11:30) - very hard pack snow, with just a couple inches up top soft enough to step into. I ended up switching into my crampons for better traction on the steep sections back to the meadows. Rest of the hike down was pretty easy, although microspikes were still a good idea to keep on.
Hike took me just about 5 hours up and down (3 up, 2 down).
Overall great hike in great weather. Breathtaking views on the top. Due to icy/hard snow conditions towards the summit extreme caution needs to be taken though (a fall up there would result in quite a long slide down).
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Mason Lake NW Fly Guy.JPG
Mason Lake. Photo by NWFly Guy.
WTA worked here!
2010
Location
Ira Spring Memorial (#1038)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 2550 ft
Highest Point 4750 ft
Features
Lakes
Mountain views
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Bandera No. 206

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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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  • Trail Work 2010
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