Explore 8 Before Graduation - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
1 day ago

Rocky trail. At first I was looking at the data and wondering why this trail was rated as hard, but it all made sense because of the extremely rocky trail starting at 1 mile from the trailhead. However, the view at the top made it all worthy. We camped near the lookout (it was soooo crowded), and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower!

There was a little stream at 4347 ft, and also a lake on the north side with some distance which was not easily accessible. Otherwise there was no water after you get started on the rocks, so bring enough water on hot days.

This hike is awesomely hard and rocky. Even though the views today were obliterated by smoke from the wildfires (we accidentally missed the media's warning to avoid strenuous outdoor activity), the gorgeous and dynamic rock formations made the effort worth it. We did not see as many people or bugs as previously reported, probably a positive side effect of the smoke. For dog owners: I would recommend this hike to dogs that are used to hiking on rockfaces and unstable surfaces. Our jack russell terrier made it up the mountain like a champ, except we did not take him on the final rock scramble because the rocks were too big and slippery for him to gain the appropriate traction. On a clear day, I can imagine the view from the top is breathtaking.

Been there on Saturday 08/04/2018. One of the best hikes. Though it is little long hike for me, I enjoyed it fully because of few view points on the way. Trail is wide and good. The lake at the end is nice and easily accessible for swimming. Small parking area. I would go there again.

We loved this hike! The Ira Spring trail is fairly steep and provides a good work out, with some interesting exposed sections periodically up switchbacks and then amidst boulder fields toward the summit. Views are incredible on a cloudy day. We went up and over to the Mason Lake trail on the other side of the peak and enjoyed a nice break at the lake, enjoying the serene water and quiet before making our way up and back down the front side.

hiking
3 days ago

This hike was exhilarating! I highly recommend everyone try it at least once. We went on August 12, which was a little overcast. Check the weather before you go so that you hike on a day to meet your expectations. An overcast day keeps you cooler, but you will miss some of the views. Overcast worked for me, as I skipped some of the trails the closer we got to the top. For an extra challenge try some boulder jumping. This was an amazing experience!

Well graded trail 2/3 in the forest and 1/3 in the open alpine. Great views

Oh sweet Jesus this was challenging! Mostly because it was so hot! Went on Wed Aug 8 and it HOT! But what a beautiful hike and views at the top we’re worth it... I went alone but in hindsight might have been good to have company... I appreciated the meditative time with nature.. Enjoy!

This was a difficult hike but the views were amazing!

The pictures posted here only scratch the surface of how beautiful this hike is.

The intensity level reflects what is stated on the site, HARD. I’m new to hiking and this hike was very rigorous and exhausting. I’m not in the best shape and I have asthma so I took many breaks on my way up. My legs started giving up once I was almost at the lookout but a group of hikers let me borrow their trekking pole. You definitely meet nice people when hiking :)

Tips:
- Bring bug spray, you don’t really feel the mosquitos and flies unless you stop.
- Drive VERY carefully on the last 6 miles before arriving at the parking lot as the dirt/gravel road is filled with a lot of potholes.
- Wear hiking shoes as you are walking over LOTS of rocks.
- You need a parking permit (Northwest Forest Pass), which you can purchase at Verlot Public Service Center for $5.
- Bring plenty of water and a snack.
- Take breaks as needed.

Aug 6,2018. Another wonderful day with nature. But the road going there was awful, it was like crater in the moon! So drive safely. And don’t forget to bring bugspray, you’ll thank me later. Lol.

As always, view at the top is breathtaking. But definitely not for beginners.

I love this hike for the amazing work out and AMAZING view at the top but there are a couple things to know:

1)The potholes on the road were awful! Enormous potholes everywhere so you have to drive pretty slowly and carefully which takes quite a while.

2) The mosquitos were REALLY BAD! Bring bug spray for sure! They are swarming everywhere, even at the top! Flies were pretty dense too but avoid mosquito bites and bring some spray!

Great loop hike today. Started at the Ira Spring Trailhead. Climbed Putrid Pete's Peak. Ridge-walked down to connect with the main trail. Climbed Mount Defiance. Walked down to Mason Lake for a cooling swim. Returned to the car at the Ira Spring Trailhead. Total distance: 9+ miles. Total elevation gained: 4,000+ feet. Epic hike. Great day!

NOT A BEGINNERS HIKE!!! Beautiful exciting views all the way up. Definitely a leg burner

Holy hard! I agree with Jake Ryan. (Hi Jake) I am from Utah and used to hard hiking and this was definitely on the difficult list.. last mile literally straight up! Hand and feet scrambling!! Soooo fun! If you wanna major work out this is the trail for you!!

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful!! I’m a fairly experienced hiker but this is one of the tougher ones I’ve done. We went at dusk and ended up having to hike back at dark with a little one on our backs which made it feel a lot more intimidating. The scramble at the top is no joke but is completely doable. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

This was a great hike but it’s an ass kicker.
WARNING: As others have written, The trail distance info listed here as well as on the trailhead markers ARE INCORRECT!!!!
It’s exactly 4.2 HARD miles over Headley pass to the lake. Then another .7 miles to the summit.
Plan on 5 miles EACH WAY and spending the night at the lake is a good call.

Route finding experience is suggested but the trail is failed well marked with cairns on the boulder fields where it’s easy to get lost. While on the boulder fields keep your eyes peeled for these cairns and other hikers. We ran into several people who lost their way.

The trip was amazing but very crowded with helicopters & mountain rescue teams looking for the lost hiker.

hiking
10 days ago

I hike all the time, workout religiously, and am in great shape... yet, this trail kicked my ass. The trail is somewhat easy to lose if you aren’t watching the lightly trekked pathway, but a quick reference on the AllTrtails app will help you get back on track. The trail gets extremely difficult and somewhat dangerous the last mile of it, and is almost totally vertical. The view at the very top is totally worth the torturous trek... be sure to find a PVC tube with paper pad an pencil to date and sign your name showing you made it (its lodged in between the rocks at the very peak). This app says its 4 miles, but it actually was over 6 total...not sure why there’s a discrepancy. Overall: trail is extreme and not for the faint of heart, but the risk is worth the reward!

hiking
10 days ago

Gorgeous hike but steep as you turn up towards Granite Mountain (vs. going to Pratt Lake). Technical as you get into the higher elevations with rock scrambling needed at times. 4 stars b/c of the bugs, the higher you go, the worse they are - esp. towards the fire tower. Late afternoon hike that took approx. 5 hours due to the scrambling and awareness needed on the uphill and downhill. Once we got out of the technical sections we ran most of the way down. Total miles were approx. 9.5 up and back.

hiking
10 days ago

Was here a few days ago. The road to the trailhead is very poor, lots of potholes that took a bit to maneuver in my little car (others with trucks and 4WDs flew by with no issue however). The trail was actually fairly easy to follow with orange signposts along the way, however if you’re not paying attention it would be pretty easy to take a wrong turn and wind up going the wrong way so be alert. I wore bug repellent and had no issues. It was a beautiful trail, only a few people up the top when I summited ~10am however passed many groups on their way up when I was descending so if you want a quiet trail best to go in the morning I would say.

Cool Misty day, bugs were not a problem. The road going up was!! Dirt road for first 4.7 miles. In about the worst condition l have seen a popular Forest Service road. Then paved the last 1.8 miles with one 15 foot dirt path with about a 4 to 6 inch drop. Trail was as expected with about 4 short snow patches. Got to have good knees.

Started at 10:45am. Parking lot was about 1/2 full. Temperature was in low 60s at start and low 70's at end. Sky was clear and sunny. Hiking traffic was light, though there were 11-12 people at the fire lookout at 1:15pm. Mt. Ranier was visible, but in a bit of a haze which may have been partly smoke (from CA and OR fires) and/or partly low clouds from on-shore winds. Views to the north, east and west were pretty clear and magnificent as usual. Trail was in excellent shape, but dry/dusty. Alpine flowers were limited as season may have passed. Pond near the summit was almost dry, so need to carry enough water. I went thru 2.5 liters. Elapsed time: 2h 30m up; 1h 35m down.

Great hike with a bit challenging ascent. Beautiful trees and warm lake!

hiking
15 days ago

Last did this hike in 1977, Wonderful views. Going back this year.

hiking
17 days ago

One of the best hikes i've had all summer. Do not underestimate this trail, you will need to pace yourself. As far as the view, second to none. It was well worth the couple hour hike. Down side is the bugs, stop and you get eaten.

The trail starts out moderately easy and then gets difficult... lots of rocky terrain with amazing views all along the way. Took about 2 hours to get up the trail and 1 hour to come back down. Keep in mind you will literally be climbing your way to the top of the mountain. We took our corgi and he made it up all the way :) it’s best if you get there around 7am to avoid the heat and the crowds. Bring lots of bug repellent!

hiking
18 days ago

I definitely underestimated this hike, but the bugs are what ruined it for me. Every time I stopped to catch my breath I got swarmed, maybe next time I go I'll leave in the morning on a weekday so there's less people as well. Great views though..

18 days ago

Great for a rocky hike with awestruck views of the cascade from the lookout post at the summit. The trail is close to 6 miles and has a lot of bugs/mosquitoes. Recommend wearing long sleeves and doing the hike as early as possible. Carry lots of water.

hiking
18 days ago

I love this trail ..... 2 weeks ago did it and started at 8:30 with EVERYONE else I guess
Today started at 7:30 and saw only a few on the way up and the “everyone else” on the way down :)
Up and down total time less than 4 hours.
Very dusty trail lots of bugs near the top. Bug repellent is a MUST.

Definitely earns it's hard rating! Took me 4 hours, that's with a generous pitstop in the tower. Would estimate 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the avg hiker. Lots of scrambling over rocks!!

hiking
18 days ago

Good views. Really rocky. Hiking shoes recommended. Steady climb to the top then some rock scrambling to get to the lookout. Nice place to camp or hang a hammock on the ridge left of the lookout

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