In a quiet glade just beyond the popular Mason Lake, the trail to Mount Defiance departs the Ira Spring Trail and begins its steady climb up the mountain’s heavily forested spine, only relenting in its ascent to cross a high alpine meadow before redoubling its upward thrust in its final approach to the summit. Few others venture this far or this high. From the mountain’s stone pinnacle, views take flight in every direction, encompassing thumbprint lakes nestling about its feet, the South Fork Snoqualmie River Valley riven along its southern flank, and snow-tipped Cascade peaks stretching northward, eastward, and southward as far as the eye can see. Like Bandera Mountain, its neighbor to the east, Mount Defiance hosts a brief, early summer spectacle of wildflowers in the steeply pitched meadow that spans its upper swath.
The trail commences at the Ira Spring trailhead, which also provides access to Bandera Mountain, Mason Lakes, Rainbow Lake, Island Lake, and other destinations by connecting trails. This profile begins approximately a quarter mile/0.40 km beyond Mason Lake, where the trail branches southwest from the Ira Spring Trail, as indicated by a small sign. The trail’s round-trip distance to and from the Ira Spring trailhead is approximately 11.00 miles/17.70 km. Beyond Mason Lake, throngs of hikers thin to very few, affording rare opportunity for wilderness quietude not far from civilization. Some may find trekking poles helpful in navigating the trail’s steep grade, especially near the summit where the terrain is loose and rocky and when snow is present.