Enjoy the rugged heights and colorful slopes of Bandera Mountain during its brief summer respite from snow. Head to Bandera to glimpse scenic alpine meadows leaden with colorful wildflowers, climb through talus slopes and gain some good altitude on the open but picturesque mountainside.

 

Head off from the Ira Spring trailhead, located at the end of the parking lot. Follow Ira Spring trail as it gently climbs upward along the base of the mountain. Roughly half a mile in to the hike a creek passes underneath the trail in a culvert. The trail gradually increases elevation as it wraps around the side of the mountain, slowly breaking out of the trees. The first switchback teases hikers with a brief glimpse of Bandera Mountain’s steep slopes before turning to climb upward along the mountain. The trail opens up to switchback along a talus slope, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Roughly 1.9 miles into the hike, the trail forks, confronting hikers with a quick decision: Mason Lake to the left or Bandera Mountain to the right.

 

Continue to the right to follow the trail to Bandera Mountain. The trail suddenly steepens into a set of short, vertical switchbacks as it climbs upward along an alpine slope adorned with wildflowers. As you hike upward, gaining roughly 1000 feet of elevation in a single mile, don’t forget to look over your shoulder to catch stunning views of the mountains on the opposite side of I-90 corridor, and of course, note how far you’ve come from the freeway below. The trail continues upward, taking a right to climb along the shoulder of Bandera Mountain. After cutting through a small patch of evergreens, the trail cuts upward along a talus slope. Continue along the rocky trail to reach the forested peak of Bandera Mountain, and soak up the views of the pinnacled peaks of the Cascade Mountains.

Directions:

From I-90, take exit 45. Take a left on Forest Service Road 9030.When the road ends on the other side of the freeway take a left onto Forest Service Road 9031. Stay on the gravel road until it ends at the Ira Spring Trailhead parking lot.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Distance: 3.5 miles one way

Variety: Out and Back

Open to: Hikers, dogs

Facilities at Trailhead: privy

Passes and Permits: Northwest Forest Pass

Directions:

From I-90, take exit 45. Take a left on Forest Service Road 9030.When the road ends on the other side of the freeway take a left onto Forest Service Road 9031. Stay on the gravel road until it ends at the Ira Spring Trailhead parking lot.

 

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