This connection of trails lets you take off from gravel parking on the side of I-90 without having to do a 20 to 30 minute drive up an unimproved road to the Ira Springs trailhead.
With a roundtrip length of about 9 miles to get to Mason Lake and back, it’s something you can do in a couple hours if you’re run, and a few hours more if you’re hiking.
The trail starts out just off of I-90 with little fanfare and quickly dives into the woods with a nice log bridge over a stream.
Thus begins the climbing – you’ll get about 600 feet of gain for each of the first 2 miles and continue up until clearing the trees and coming out on a rock field with some amazing views.
Enjoy the relaxed incline before dropping down a bit for the arrival at Mason Lake. From here you can go on to Mt. Defiance, on to more lakes, or call it good here before turning around and heading down.