Mason Lake offers worthy payoff for strenuous hike

July 16, 2013

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness area covers 390,000 acres of pine-shrouded mountains dotted with lakes tucked away in bowl-shaped valleys in the North Cascades. While much of the area is difficult to access, Mason Lake is in King County, and reachable in a somewhat challenging day hike along the Ira Spring Trail.

The hike is about 3 miles each way, with an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet. It starts easily enough — a wide trail shaded by leafy trees and a fairly gradual incline.

By Susie Kim The first look at Mason Lake appears as hikers come up from just below the water level.

By Susie Kim
The first look at Mason Lake appears as hikers come up from just below the water level.

After the first half-mile or so, a small waterfall uphill creates a stream (which makes its way to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River) that cuts across the trail.

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