Bandera Mountain Trail

#10 of 294 trails in Snoqualmie National Forest

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Bandera Mountain Trail is a 7 mile out and back trail located near North Bend, Washington that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

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Bao-Yen Tran-Palelei (1017)

16 Completed16 Reviews

Wonderful, somewhat challenging hike with a beautiful view! One of the many mountain hikes off of the I-90 interstate. I really enjoyed this hike. The Ira Spring trail was nicely maintained with lots of different aspect versus the typical endless switchbacks.

Distance: 7.6 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 3400 ft
Time: 2.5 hours up, 2 hours down
Difficulty: Moderate to Intense Hike

Drive: Located off I-90 at Exit 45 on Forest Road 9031. For the last mile, the road is all gravel and dirt but still accessible. No big potholes of any kind.

Parking: Decent size parking lot. Can fit around 30-40 cars or so.

Trail: This is a very popular hike sharing most of its trail with the Ira SpringTrail. Mason Lake is another destination. The trail starts off fairly easy with a mild grade incline for the first 1.5 miles through the forest. You will pass a log bridge that was newly built. The pathway is wide but a little rocky. This part is nicely shaded.

The trail then starts to get a little steeper for the next 1.5 miles with some moderate grade long switchbacks (I counted 3-4). This part is partly exposed.

Then the trail comes to a junction splitting off to Bandera Mountain and Mason Lake. The way to the lake is on the left, the way to the mountain is to the right and it's all upwards from there. The elevation really picks up here. This is the steepest and hardest part of the trail. The trail zig-zags through a very narrow and rocky pathway with a intense grade incline. Lots of wild flowers blooming. This part is exposed.

After reaching the ridgeline, you will catch a glimpse of all the surrounding mountains. You will then re-enter the forest for about 5-10 minutes before reaching the minor rock field. The section was my favorite part of the hike. The many large boulders and rocks made it fun to climb over. To the left, you will get a birds-eye view of the beautiful Mason Lake. With no clear pathway, you will be climbing over boulders to the summit. This part is not bad at all but a little hard to navigate.

At the summit, there is a very distinct view of McClellan Butte and all the surrounding valleys. The clouds covered up the view of Mt. Rainier. This part is also all exposed.

Bugs: A few annoying bugs at the summit. Overall, I didn't wear any bug spray and I didn't get bit at all.

Tips: Becareful going down at the ridgeline. I slipped a few times. Bring lots of sunblock and water as most of the trail is exposed to the sun!

*Northwest Forest Pass required* Esparza (11)

1 Completed1 Reviews

It took us 445m round trip-with lunch and rest stops. Good hike. Strenuous but doable (54yrs old). Drank 2.5 liters of water on a 80 degree day. Hiking boots highly recommended due to the amount of rocks on upper portion of trail. Great views. We could see people swimming in the high alpine lakes below us!

Beth Long (113)

2 Completed2 Reviews

This was a challenging hike for me but a little on the crowded side. Would go again earlier to avoid the crowds.

Mark Tameling (129)

4 Completed3 Reviews

What a great, challenging hike. Make sure you have a fair amount of gas in your tank before heading (straight) up after the split from the main trail. Also, I should have brought 3 liters of fluids. It can get pretty hot up there.

Emma Young (134)

4 Completed2 Reviews

Katie Pope (781)

56 Completed19 Reviews

Kristin L (257)

7 Completed3 Reviews

Santiago Balcarcel (52)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Bryant Cunningham (142)

6 Completed2 Reviews

Great views of Rainier, St Hellen's, and Seattle way off in the distance. Tough steep hike near the end with rocks on the trail that can loosen easily. Be alert and listen for warning calls from others.

Emily Laura (189)

8 Completed8 Reviews

This was a nice hike. Pretty steep after you go about 1 mile and continues until the junction for Mason Lake. We chose to do both the lake and the summit. It was a tough scramble, mostly because you can't see the end until you get there and it is harder to find the flat spots going up. If you aren't prepared for more rocks after the initial scramble, it can be frustrating. The view is nice and it is pretty quiet at the false summit (we decided against more rocks for the real summit.) It was a gorgeous day and we got really warm, especially during the last bit where there is no tree coverage. Definitely be prepared with water.