Total Ascent: 3400ft
Highest Point: 5584ft
Total Distance: 10.5 miles
Location: N 47° 26.1120, W 121° 33.8580
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
A sunny summer day with a forecast of clear skies has a way of shaking up the best laid plans, bending them toward mountaintops and lookouts. And so it was that we recently found ourselves once again at Ira Spring Memorial Trail #1038, this time readying ourselves for a trek up to the top of Mt. Defiance by way of Mason Lake.
Since it was first blazed in 1958, the Mason Lake Trail #1038 has had a reputation for being steep and dirty. Over the years thousands of boots had badly eroded the trail, and hikers were forced to negotiate long uphill stretches over rocks and boulders. At the urging of wilderness advocate Ira Spring, a new route was proposed to address the trail damage, the steep grade, and the rocky obstacle course. Between 2003 and 2004, a small army of volunteers in coordination with Forest Service made the trail a reality. With the passing of Spring in 2003, the new trail was dedicated the Ira Spring Memorial Trail.
There's a lot more to Mt. Defiance and Mason Lake, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington. You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!
To get there, take I-90 to Exit 45, going left under the freeway to Forest Road 9030. Follow FR 9030 for about a mile until the road splits. Veer left onto FR 9031 and follow it for two more miles until the road terminates in a parking lot. - Nathan
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