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Bandera Mountain

An Alpine Treat Above the Clouds, Great Seattle Hike
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.6 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Late summer days in the Seattle area often begin with a thick layer of gloomy clouds. So you can head east through the I-90 corridor, ... more »

Tips:  1. Take plenty of water. After you cross the creek, early in the hike, there are no water sources along the trail to the top.
2.... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Ira Spring Trailhead

Formerly the Mason Lake trailhead, 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 Washington Trails Association. The trailhead has parking for over 30 cars, and the space is well used because this trail leads to so many places. The info posted ... More

2. Waterfall & Trail Amenities

Even in late July, this waterfall along Mason Creek, and the one about 200 yards farther along the trail, roared down the hillside. You’ll have to climb in past some of the foliage to get a good picture, but the extra effort is well worth it. The second set of falls is even more dramatic; don’t let the fact that a 10 ft wide pipe shunts it under... More

3. Crumbled Rock & Trail Split

About two miles from the trailhead, you’ll arrive at the trail split. One trail goes down to Mason Lake, the other up to the summit of Bandera Mountain. From this point to the summit is only .5 miles, but you will gain 1000 feet of altitude over that distance. The trail is clear most of the way, although it is very narrow, and requires... More

4. Two Sides

At this point we can see both sides of the mountain. To the north Mason Lake comes into view. It rests in a glacial bowl about 500 feet below us. One of nearly 700 small alpine lakes (or “tarns”) which gives this region its name, Mason Lake just wet our appetites (pun intended) for more of these sparkling gems. If we’d taken the trail to the lake ... More

5. Summits

As with all good climbs, it seems, there is a false summit and a real one — much like life. After clambering up about 700 feet from the trail split, we reached a level spot (more or less). This seemed like a good place to stop for lunch. We were not the only ones who thought so. Having rested our legs, we continued up another 250 feet to the true ... More