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Bandera Mountain Hike

Snoqualmie Pass West

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Bandera Mountain Hike

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  • The trail leads through an alder forest.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Mason Creek crossing.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis).- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Switchbacks up the side of the ridge.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Foxgloves (Digitalis).- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Cool, forested walk.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • The trail to Bandera Mountain.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Turn off to Bandera Mountain.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • The trail becomes significantly steeper after the trail splits to Bandera Mountain.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Alpine argus (Plebejus orbitulus) butterfly.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Indian paintbrush (Castilleja).- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • The view back down the steep trail.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) and Mount Rainier (14,411').- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • View south from the rock field at the top.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • View to the west.- Bandera Mountain Hike
  • Mason Lake from Bandera Mountain.- Bandera Mountain Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers. Great views. Low traffic.
Cons: 
Mosquitos. Rough road to the trailhead.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,400.00 ft (1,036.32 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
7.60 mi (12.23 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The trail to Bandera Mountain starts out mild and wide, zig-zagging through fir and alder groves with salmonberries and wild blackberries to taste on the way. As it gets higher, steeper and rockier, occasional gaps in the trees offer partial views of Mount Rainier. After about 3 miles of hiking on the Ira Spring Trail, the way to Bandera separates from the trail to Mason Lake, and the true climbing begins.

Scramble straight up the side of the mountain for a quarter of a mile through beargrass and paintbrush flowers. This wildflower field is peppered with sun-bleached tree stumps, the remains of a 1958 wildfire. Mercifully, rocky footholds are plentiful and the climb is short. The trail tops the first mini-summit and offers a staggering view of Mount Rainier and the valley below.

The trail becomes less obvious as it skirts the ridge through alpine forests and rock fields. Continue east to eventually crest the boulder-covered summit of Little Bandera. From here you have the best views of the hike: Mount Rainier on one side and Mount Defiance and Mason Lake on the other. After this, the trail nearly disappears. Continue further along the ridge through the forest to reach the true summit of Bandera Mountain, though there are no views from here because of tree cover.

Note: Bring bug repellent, as the mountain is surprisingly thick with mosquitos.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(115 within a 30 mile radius)

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