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
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RT Distance 11 Miles
Elevation Gain 3300 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Lake
Scenic

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Mt Defiance Hike

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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