Mt. Defiance

Tackle this difficult route up past a popular alpine lake to reach a meadowy summit with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.
Total Distance: 10.5 miles
Total Ascent: 3400ft
Highest Point: 5584ft
Difficulty: Hard
Our Hiking Time: 6h
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
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. View Google Directions >>
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 and the work we do by picking up a copy!


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.
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