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Mount Defiance

Snoqualmie Pass West

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Mount Defiance

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  • The trail begins through fir trees.- Mount Defiance
  • Rock field crossing on the way to Mount Defiance.- Mount Defiance
  • The trail junction to Mason Lake and Mount Defiance.- Mount Defiance
  • Mason Lake.- Mount Defiance
  • A cool, dark trail leads toward Mount Defiance.- Mount Defiance
  • Steep ascent on the way to Mount Defiance.- Mount Defiance
  • Alpine wildflower meadow.- Mount Defiance
  • The trail to Mount Defiance leads through a rock field.- Mount Defiance
  • Indian painbrush (Castilleja).- Mount Defiance
  • Tiger lily (Lilium columbianum).- Mount Defiance
  • First view of Mount Rainier (14,411').- Mount Defiance
  • Beargrass flowers (Xerophyllum tenax) and views to the west.- Mount Defiance
  • Scramble to the top.- Mount Defiance
  • Looking west from the summit of Mount Defiance.- Mount Defiance
  • Looking north toward Mount Baker (10,781') in the distance.- Mount Defiance
  • The view northeast toward Glacier Peak.- Mount Defiance
  • The view east toward Bandera and Granite Mountains.- Mount Defiance
  • Mason Lake, Little Mason Lake, Lake Kulla Kulla.- Mount Defiance
  • The view south toward Mount Rainier.- Mount Defiance
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Wildflowers. Lakeside camping.
Cons: 
Rough road to trailhead.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,584.00 ft (1,092.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The hike to Mount Defiance starts with mild zig-zagging on the Ira Spring Trail, passing under tall alder and fir trees and offering a variety of wildflowers to admire and salmonberries to sample along the way. Soon the trail becomes more of a climb, cutting long switchbacks up the ridge until it reaches the junction to Bandera Mountain. Following the trail instead toward Mason Lake, you will cross a rocky expanse before dipping down through the woods to the water. The main trail continues along the west and north sides of the lake before splitting off from the shore and running into the Mount Defiance Trail.

After turning left toward the mountain, the trail rolls gently up and down through the dark forest before it turns steeply upward for a series of switchbacks. The forest ends suddenly, and the trail begins skirting the ridge through a near fantastical landscape of wildflowers and butterflies. Tiger lilies, Indian paintbrush, lupines and beargrass provide a wealth of color, and to the south is always the immense Mount Rainier.

Several rock fields and lush meadows later, a steep scramble climbs the remaining 400 feet of elevation up to the rocky summit. The 360-degree view from the top is positively staggering. On a clear day you can see distant Mount Baker and Glacier Peak to the north, and Mount Rainier and Mount Adams to the south. Closer peaks include Bandera and Granite to the southeast, and Teneriffe and Dirty Harry to the west. Down below and clearly visible are Lake Kulla Kulla, Mason Lake and Little Mason Lake, all reflecting the landscape around them.

Note: The Mason Creek crossing (1 mile in on the Ira Spring Trail) is impassible when water levels are high in early spring.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(115 within a 30 mile radius)

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