Area: Bandera

Length: (2.6 +) 1.5

Elevation: 3800 +1440 -190

Condition: primitive

Solitude: moderate

Appeal: high

outstanding peak views

Difficulty: moderately difficult

Administered: USFS, North Bend R.D.

Trailhead: ---

Connects to: Ira Spring trail

Guides: DNSnoq

Maps: USGS Bandera, Green Trails Bandera



As the jogging highway trail takes a switchback to the west, something resembling a rough boot-beaten foot path heads straight up the slope, in dust and boulders. The elevation gain is too rough for the thronging crowds, but the views are worth it, if you are lucky enough to win one of the coveted parking spaces in the trailhead lot.



On the Bandera Mtn. trail


Take the Ira Spring trail for 2.6 miles. At a switchback where the trail turns left and points toward a forested part of the ridge, the Bandera foot path cuts sharply uphill to the right. Grit your teeth and dodge boulders on steep dusty tread as you head straight up the steep avalanche slopes — watch your footing.

It is only 0.5 miles to reach the ridge, but you must gain over 800 feet, a respectable effort. There are beautiful views over Mason Lake. If you stop here on the comfortable large boulders, nobody will blame you.

On the Bander Mtn. trail

If you choose to continue on to the summit, take a soft right turn and follow the trail as it winds between brush and boulders on a more reasonable grade. At 0.6 miles, enter a small patch of forest where bellowing grouse are often heard. This doesn't last very long, and you will soon be back into the boulders and brush. At 0.9 mile reach the summit for better views to the north toward the Snoqualmie Pass peaks.

Hard core peakbaggers will not be happy. They will quickly notice that this is a false summit. The true summit of Bandera Mountain is further to the east. You can continue along the path and go there, if you wish, staying on the ridge, dropping down about 150 feet, regaining all of that plus 100 more feet, reaching the true summit in a relatively easy 0.6 miles. The views are maybe a little better, but this summit is more brushy and less attractive. At least, you can truthfully claim that you made it to the top.


Mason Lake and Mt. Defiance

Mason Lake from Bandera Ridge

If all of this isn't enough, you are close enough to drop back down to the Ira Spring Trail and make a quick visit to Mason Lake.