Hike of the Week:
July 21, 2008
Location: Snoqualmie Pass - West
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 3000 ft gain to 5200 ft
Map: Green Trails #206: Bandera
Summits are always fun to hike, and Bandera Mountain is no exception. For Seattle-area hikers in particular, it's an excellent close-in choice for a day hike that will get your lungs pumping and your senses engaged.
The hike to Bandera Mountain starts on the Ira Spring Trail, which peels off just past the 2 mile mark to Mason Lake (which is combinable for a long day of hiking). This trail was dedicated a few years ago in memory of Ira Spring, who was one of the country's foremost advocates for hiking trails and a co-founder of WTA. Volunteers from WTA and other organizations donated hundreds of hours in honor of Ira to improving the trails to Bandera and Mason Lake.
From the trailhead, follow the old road bed through the trees. You'll pass over Mason Creek, which is your last chance for water on this sometimes dusty hike. The trail steepens and then opens up to pretty wildflower meadows until it reaches a fork. Take the trail to your right for Bandera. Now the trail starts to really climb, heading up the ridgeline to Bandera Mountain.
You'll first reach Little Bandera Mountain (5000 ft), which is a fine spot to enjoy the panoramic views and have lunch. To reach the true summit of Bandera Mountain (5200 ft), continue following the ridgeline up over the rocks to the top. Do note that the summit Bandera Mountain proper is in the trees - the views are better lower down.
More InformationGuidebook: Day Hiking Snoqualmie Pass by Dan Nelson & Alan Bauer (Mountaineers Books). Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District (425) 888-1421 - look at the Ira Spring Trail for details.
From I-90 take exit # 45. Go left onto Forest Service road 9030. Continue on 9030 and then veer left onto Forest Road 9031. Road 9031 is a gravel road that is narrow and full of potholes. Follow 9031 until it dead-ends at the Ira Spring trailhead. Northwest Forest Pass required.