Mason Lake via Ira Spring Memorial Trail is a 6.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near North Bend, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
An Alpine Treat Above the Clouds, Great Seattle Hike Late summer days in the Seattle area often begin with a thick layer of gloomy clouds. So you can head east through the I-90 corridor, into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, to climb above the clouds. Bandera Mountain on the western edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area is an excellent place to find the sun and enjoy panoramic views of glacial history written in the rocks of the Cascade Mountains. The trail up to the summit of Bendera Mountain is 3.3 miles in length (and the same distance back; total 6.6 miles) with an elevation gain of 3048 feet for a final elevation of 5256 feet (according to my GPS). The last 1.5 miles of the trail gain 1800 feet by cutting straight up the mountain on a narrow path (2 feet wide in most places), the last .5 mile gaining 1000 feet. Difficult as this last leg is, the view at the top, and the feeling of accomplishment is not to be denied. Take Interstate 90 east and get off at Exit 45 (Road No. 9030). At the stop sign, turn left, go under the freeway to Forest Service Road No. 9030. Drive about a half-mile to a road junction and continue straight about three miles on Road No. 9031 to trailhead parking and facilities, elevation about 2,300 feet. Allow about an hour drive time from Seattle. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
This hike sure kicked my butt. The lake was really cool and very quiet. Went on a warm day and got to jump in the water. Stuck my little hula girl up there so if anyone sees it, let her stay!
This hike was great. There are stunning views almost everywhere and lots of wild flowers. The lake itself is beautiful. We took a swim. it was cold but very refreshing.
The hike is not too difficult. It's a good day hike. Loved it!
Beautiful area, but hampered (as are so many things these days) by our population override! Despite it being after Labor Day, and during the week, I still found 15 or more cars at the parking area, which, based on its size and signage (No Parking This Side and Face In Parking Only), often sees even more users. I started hiking fairly late - about 4PM - and due to this and quite a bit of rain - I pushed hard to get to the lake quickly. I made it in just under 2 hours, which I felt was pretty good since I was carrying over 30 lbs in my pack (I was solo backpacking), and I hadn't been backpacking in some time.
Probably my biggest complaint with this hike is that almost the entire hike - about 3 of the ~ 3.5 miles to the lake - you get to I-90 droning rather loudly in the background. I passed quite a few people coming down the trail as I went up, but once at the lake I only heard voices from a few on the trail, then had the lake seemingly to myself. However, during the night I was once again disturbed by "civilization." From about 11PM-1AM, large jets flew directly overhead every 5-10 minutes! I awoke to the lake completely clouded over, and hiked out in similar conditions. Since views were nonexistent, I skipped Bandera Mtn., which I had planned to hike to on my way back to the trailhead.
Overall, this is a decent, though difficult, hike (and a very nice lake) considering how close it is to Seattle, but look elsewhere if you are looking for peace and quiet or isolation. Also, as a quick aside, I have no idea why alltrails lists this as a loop. I never saw anything other than the main trail, and this is how it was represented on the trailhead map as well.
Hard going up at the end with the rocky switch backs but so beautiful. Mason lake is stunning in the morning. Great place to hike and camp!
Amazing hike, beautiful scenery. A little foggy this morning over the lake but overall really gorgeous.
Made it to the top in about an hour and a half, took an hour to get down. Not too difficult. The only thing I can say is make sure to bring your National Forest pass! Saw a couple cars with Discover Passes, which will not work.