Mason Lake - Ira Spring Trail, Ira Spring Trailhead, Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington
Mason Lake - Ira Spring Trail - 7.0 miles
Ira Spring Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||7.0 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,200’ – 4,218’ (4,338’ max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+2,018’ net elevation gain (+2,346’ total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Mason Lake - Ira Spring Trail - 7.0 Miles Round-Trip
Mason Lake is a family-friendly outing to a large, protected lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It's accessible by the newly established Ira Spring Trail, which replaces a difficult user-made trail that scaled the saddle directly up Mason Creek on steep, loose talus.
The trail rises steadily from Ira Spring Trailhead on an old logging road before switch-backing east to Mason Creek (.8 miles : 2,575’), a kinetic stream that can be challenging with high water. Once across it passes an old trail intersection (.9 miles : 2,675') with intermittent views of McClellan Butte.
At 1.6 miles the trail veers off the logging road onto singletrack and begins a steep climb up the mountainside through intervals of silver fir, Doulas fir, salal and vine maple. The trail passes a stand of noble firs (2.5 miles : 3,818’) before thinning with views of McClellan Butte, Mt. Rainier and the greater South Fork Snoqualmie Valley.
It emerges in open space and crosses a talus field on well-built stairs and paver stones (2.7 miles : 3,950’) to the Bandera Mountain – Mason Lake Trail split (2.9 miles : 4,190’). Turn left for Mason Lake up to a saddle and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary (3.2 miles : 4,335').
Here it drops 160' on switchbacks into a damp forest and crosses an outlet creek to Mason Lake (3.5 miles : 4,218’). The Ira Spring Trail continues east with relatively easy access to Little Kulla Lake, Blazer Lake and Rainbow Lake.
- The Mason Creek ford at .8 miles can be difficult with high water, especially during spring runoff.
- A 19th century burned the upper part of Bandera Mountain and the forest has yet to recover. Silver stumps and bear grass fills this open space.
- This new traily built trail named in honor of Ira Spring replaces a difficult user-made trail that scaled the saddle directly up Mason Creek via steep, loose talus.
- The Ira Spring Trail is a great entry point for extended travel to a cluster of lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, from Thompson Lake (west) to Melakwa Lake (east).
Camping and Backpacking Information
The Tinkham Campground is located nearby for car camping. Exit 42 off I-90, turning right off the ramp, and proceeding along F.R. 55 to the campground on the left.
- An overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Max group size is 12.
- Camp only at established sites at Mason Lake and stick to the main trail around the lake. A privy is located just before reaching the lake.
- Fires are not permitted above 4000' west of the Cascade Crest, or at Mason Lake.
- Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.
- Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460
Rules and Regulations
- A Northwest Forest Pass or $5 fee is required at this trailhead.
- A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Directions to Trailhead
The Ira Spring Trailhead is located 3.8 miles from Exit 45 on I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass.
From I-90, take exit 45 (signed F.R. 9030) and turn left off the ramp. Continue along 9030, past where the pavement ends (at .4 miles) to a signed junction at .8 miles.
The right fork proceeds to the Talapus Lake trailhead (Trail #1039). The left fork (F.R. 9031) continues to the Ira Spring trailhead. Proceed on the left fork for 3 miles, passing a spur road that splits off right at 2.1 miles to a quarry. Arrive at the trailhead and parking lot at 3.8 miles.
The parking lot holds 35 cars; a privy is available.
Mt Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest | Snoqualmie Ranger District
902 SE North Bend Way, Bldg 1
North Bend, WA 98045
Reference Trail #1038