Finding a hike up to an alpine lake in the Cascades is like finding a brewery in Seattle. There are plenty of them and for the most part refreshingly good!
Even though there are so many hikes to choose from, it can be tough depending on the trail selected. The reward is usually sweet since there are fewer crowds willing to make the trek.
We recently hiked up the Ira Spring Trail to Mason Lake. It is about 7 miles round trip. The trail starts with a gradual incline which turns into a steeper grade after roughly a mile. Mount Rainier peeks out from behind the mountains in the distance. The higher we hiked, the more Rainier revealed itself at viewpoints.
At 2.8 miles, we approached a trail junction directing us to Mason Lake. The other direction would have taken us up Bandera Mountain. We hiked that route in the beginning of July and the top was covered in snow. Back then Mason Lake was frozen over too. Here’s what it looked like then:
After an hour and a half from the trailhead, we made it to the lake. A group of rocks on the shore became a perfect spot to take a break. The crystal clear water looked inviting, so we took a dip. Let’s just say that the lake was crisp and invigorating. We hopped out of the water quicker than we jumped in. Then sunned ourselves on the rocks.
This is a great hike on a hot and sunny day. The views are worth it and there are many routes you can choose from while in the area. If you want to find an alpine lake near you in Washington, check out the WTA website.