A late in day quick hike to check out the trail up to Mason Lake from the freeway. The trail starts on the North side of I-90 Exit 42 at the end of the road (same exit as McClellan Butte). In the last few years the area has started collecting a fair amount of trash and toilet paper.
Go past the concert block with the "No Target Shooting" sign. The old road splits just a few feet after the block, to the right is the shooting area. Several years ago, the shooting area had an old burned out Caravan that was riddled with bullet holes. The position of the Caravan would have met that people were shooting in the direction of the trail with only some bushes and a few trees in the 50 yards to the trail.
Follow the road to the left. The trail starts on the right just before the Mason Creek. One large tree provides a bridge over the largest portion of the creek. The trail crosses over another smaller section and then parallels the creek on the West side.
The trail crosses the road to the Mason Lake (Ira Springs) trail head about a quarter mile before the trail head. Cross the road and continue following the stream. Just before hitting the Mason Lake trail, at about 2,400 feet of elevation, the terrain forces you bare to the left and start navigating through under brush. Follow the main trail and cross Mason Creek. 500 feet after crossing the creek, look for the old Mason Lake trail and continue up the hill. After several switchbacks the trail splits, take the trail on the left.
Icy snow started at the base of the talus field. We were running out time and I didn't was to put on microspikes, so we turned around.
The trash filled "No Target Shooting" shooting area.
The Mason Creek crossing. They removed the old logging road culvert a few years ago after a large portion of the road was washed out.
A December 2010 picture of the culvert after the washout.