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Bandera Peak – 7/16/2008

Posted by joeabbott on October 9, 2008

I have a few notes from hikes and climbs I’ve done this year that I’ll be posting. Not sure how far back I’ll go, but I have a reasonable backlog from this year so I’ll post those. Here’s one I hiked on 7/16/2008.

Just a quick note about a hike up Bandera.


If you haven’t made an acquaintance with this hike, you should.


You start at the Mason Lake Trailhead which is straightforward to find; Karen Sykes in a write up for the Seattle PI gave good instructions with:

Take Interstate 90 east and get off at Exit 45 (Forest Service Road No. 9030). At the stop sign turn left, go under the freeway to Road 9030. Drive about a half-mile to a road junction and continue straight about three miles on Road 9031 to the trailhead, parking and facilities, elevation 2,280 feet. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.


The one catch I found is that about a half to a third of the way to the trailhead you’re presented with an opportunity to take a right hand fork that goes up. I chose to stay straight\left and ended up at the trailhead. Not sure where the other branch goes … maybe somewhere good! J

(note: this branch was blocked last time I was by)


The initial part of the trail is broad, flat, and straight; from there you take a switchback and it starts to ascend gently but remains broad and flat. About a mile in, after you’ve passed a nice waterfall, you get to a point where the trail goes up and makes no excuses. The trail seems better when you’re taking smaller steps, moving slower, and going uphill than it does when you’re descending, but it’s a decent track either direction. By the time I got to the branch I had worked up a good sweat and an hour or so had passed. Continuing on the trail takes you around a shoulder and down to Mason lake; those interested in high points can head up a rutted, rotten poor excuse for a trail that is more stair stepping exercise than anything else. It goes up 600’+ it seems in what seems like less than a quarter mile. A brutal affair that had me gasping even though my legs could take more.


The summit of Bandera is a bit anticlimactic. A few firs prevent a 360 degree view but a couple rocks are around that you can prop up against. By walking around a bit you can see in all directions and a wonderful view it is. Rainier was out and looking magnificent, the lakes to the north and a ridge of rocky peaks lay to the north.  Lots of good things in all directions.


The way down is quick but you have to watch your footing coming off the peak … it’s rocky and steep. Once back to the trail I made good time to the car without even trying. While I passed a half dozen people coming in, I saw even more going out. For a hike after work on a Wednesday that far out, it was pretty popular.


In short … great trail, enjoyable views, and a fair workout. Oh … lots of wildflowers are out now!


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