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Bandera Mountain picture
Agency:USDA Forest Service
Location:Along the I-90 corridor, 47 miles and about 55 minutes east of Seattle, WA.
Difficulty:More Difficult
Distance:8 miles (round trip)
High Point:5,241 feet
Updated:May 2005
Season:mid-May through October

Access

Traveling east from North Bend along I-90, take exit 45 (Road 9030). Turn left and continue under the freeway. The road curves left and in a short distance the pavements ends. The road splits a few miles later. Road 9039 heads right (north) to Talapus Lake trailhead. We continue west on Road 9031 to Mason Lake trailhead.

Facilities

There is a pit toilet at the trailhead.

Description

Ira Spring Trail No. 1038 starts at the Mason Lake Trailhead and gradually ascends an abandoned roadbed for about a mile. You pass a couple of waterfalls. Finally leaving the old roadbed, the trail shifts gears and heads more steeply up slope to the left, snaking its way up a ravine. This newer section was built just a bit too steep in my opinion, turning it into a painful experience for the knees and toes on the way down. After another mile and a couple of switchbacks, a sign identifies the Bandera Mountain trail, a goat path straight uphill to the right. The route to the left leads to Mason Lake and points beyond.

The route from here to Bandera Mountain's summit is a half mile of stair steppers through a lovely meadow dominated by bear grass. The slope is probably thirty percent if not more, making for a real workout. There are few if any trees, so views down into the Snoqualmie Valley are increasingly marvelous the higher one progresses. Near the top the trail disappears into a jumble of smallish boulders, but the route is obvious. Just stay on the highest point of the ridge and point yourself up.

Views from the forested summit itself are not quite as good as those just a bit lower down, but if you're like me, you will want to find the summit anyway. There are some really nice views of the backside down to the Mason Lake / Lake Kulla Kulla basin, and Mount Defiance across the basin to the west.

 

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