Summit Mt. Defiance

Washington Ira Spring Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    11 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3300 Feet

Forest
Lake
Scenic

Hike your way to amazing views at the summit. The last quarter mile ascent is pretty steep, but the reward is well worth it.

This hike offers some of the best views one can see in the area. On a clear day, you'll get amazing views of Mt. Rainier. The best part is that as you start heading uphill in the first half mile, you'll get great views of McClellan Butte. Once you reach the summit of Defiance at 5584 feet, you'll be towering over McClellan by roughly 400 feet.

Early in the hike, you'll cross Mason Creek. During the summer and fall, the river is drier and it's easy to cross by using logs and rocks. Be careful if you decide to go earlier in the year as the river could be running a lot faster from snow melt. Once you've crossed, continue heading uphill toward Mason Lake. When you've come across the Ira Spring plaque, you'll head quickly downhill to Mason Lake.

Take out the water and your camera, and get a few shots of Mason Lake, then continue on the trail. You'll have to cross Mason Creek once more. From here, continue heading uphill toward the summit. The trail will fork without a trail sign pointing you in the right direction. When you reach the fork, head to the right - the left will lead you to Little Mason Lake. Next you'll come to another junction that's signed with the Mt. Defiance Trail. Take a left here and continue your hike to the summit.

Once you reach the summit, enjoy the views of Dirty Harry's Peak, Mount Teneriffe, Russian Butte, and Lake Kulla Kulla.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Hiking Boots
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Hat
Read More

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Unlike many summits on the I-90 corridor, the trip up Mount Defiance is rewarding during the hike up, not just at the top. Mason Lake along the way is absolutely magnificent, and a perfect spot to plan a quick overnight getaway from Seattle. Try to get up here on a clear day for the best views.

7 months ago
7 months ago

Hiking up to Mt Defiance is probably one of my favorite hikes so far in Washington. You start at the iris spring trail which has a pretty steady incline but rewarded with wild flowers and a great view of Mt Rainier. You then have the option of veering off to Bandera Mtn if desired. Continuing on the Iris Spring trail, you reach mason lake which is a great resting point for some lunch or you could turn Mt Defiance into a two day hike and camp here. The rest of the 1.5 miles up to Mt Defiance is steep and difficult but once you get to the top you won't be disappointed! With panoramic views of alpine lakes below you and Mt Baker and Mt Rainier level to you, it's definitely worth it.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Scott KranzExplorer

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.

Nearby Adventures

Hike Mailbox Peak New Trail

Washington / Mailbox Trailhead

*Disclaimer this article is in regards to the newly built trail.* For the old trail, head to Hike Mailbox Peak.  Just off of exit 34, Mailbox Peak offers a birds-eye view of the surrounding area.

113 Saves

Hike to Grand Valley via Grand Pass

Washington / Grand Pass Trail

Camping is available around Grand Lake, Moose Lake, and Gladys Lake. Camping / backpacking requires permits from May 1 - September 30th.  Photos: Sean Munson, Sankara Subramanian, Wild Trees

19 Saves

Hike the Little Quilcene Trail

Washington / Little Quilcene Trailhead

Little Quilcene Trail is a 16.1 mile out and back trail close to Sequim, Washington. The trail is an alternate route to the Mt. Townsend summit.

19 Saves