This is a fairly long out-and-back that features views galore, serene lakes and the stunning beauty of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
If you're looking for a shorter/easier hike, consider turning around at Mason Lake
. If you're feeling rambunctious, tack on the Bandera Mountain Trail
for added mileage and views.
Features: Lake — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall
Take exit 45 off I-90. Then head up Forest Service Road 9030 until you come to the 9030/9031 junction. Switch onto 9031 where the sign for Ira Spring (Mason Lake) Trail #1038
points. The Parking lot is a good size, but this is a very popular trail since there are so many places to go, so be sure to get there early or you might have a long hike to get to the trailhead
The trail starts at the Ira Springs Trailhead and follows the Ira Spring (Mason Lake) Trail #1038
. The trail crosses over a few streams, both of which have beautiful waterfalls flowing right on the side of the trail. You'll start to get glimpses of Mt. Rainier after crossing the streams, but once you get above the tree line the views are spectacular! About 3 miles in, you'll come to a fork in the trail that is very well marked. Follow the trail to the left towards Mason Lake
Continue around the lake following the signs for the "Main Trail." Shortly afterwards you'll turn away from the lake and come to a junction that goes to left to Mt. Defiance (Mount Defiance Trail #1009
) and right to Pratt, Rainbow, and Island Lakes (Island-Rainbow Trail
). Continue on this trail past a small pond until you come to Rainbow Lake.
This is a beautiful lake and has some amazing scenery. You can then continue on until you come to another junction (Island Lake Trail
) that goes toward Island Lake. Straight will take you down to the Pratt Lake Basin. Turn towards Island Lake.
As you continue on the trail you'll catch a glimpse of Pratt Lake. Shortly after you'll arrive at Island Lake. Be sure to check out the waterfall that flows out of Island Lake and eventually flows into Pratt Lake.