Trail Report from Bandera Mtn.
May 28, 2012
Location: Bandera Mtn., Alpine Lake Wilderness
Region: Snoqualmie Pass — Snoqualmie Pass
Agency: Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District
This trail report covers the following trails: Ira Spring trail # 1038
From Seattle take I-90 east to Exit 45*. Take a left onto Forest Service road 9030. Continue on 9030 & then veer left onto Forest Road 9031. Road 9031 is a gravel road that is narrow and has some potholes. Follow 9031 until it dead-ends at the Ira Spring trailhead.
*Note:If you are heading east, you will have to bypass exit 45 FS RD9030 and continue to exit 47 Tinkham Rd, Denny Creek, Ashael Curtis at which point you will head westbound to exit 45 to access FS RD9030. 5-28-12
Guide books and Maps:
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 206
NW Trail Pass required
Highest point: 5200′
Length: 7.6 total miles
Trail Type: Out-and-back
The condition of the Ira Spring Trail #1038 is good. There are group of trees leaning over the trail just past the very first switch back. You don’t see snow until you reach the first large rock field. Leading up to that the trail has a few wet spots but I wouldn’t say it’s muddy.
There is one tricky patch of snow just before the junction where the trail splits to Mason Lakes. Hiking poles would help for crossing this 50’ side hill snow patch. After the junction the tread going up to the summit was damp for me as it was quite misty. Traction was still good. By the time you reach the shoulder of Bandera, maybe half way to the false summit most call the summit you hit snow again. There are a few rock patches further up but from here to the summit it’s all on snow. (If you decide to walk the open area of snow in the beginning of the shoulder, beware as it’s a cornice)
There are a few steep spots on the way to the summit that can be tricky for those not sure of foot. I was able to navigate them with just running shoes but others may not deem the risk worth it. The first one can be avoided by following a set of footprints to the right.
I did not go to the true summit as the weather was not ideal and neither was my clothing.
What to expect:
You can expect an easy ascent with a smooth tread for the first mile or so. During that first mile you’ll see a couple waterfalls and views of the south side of the I-90 corridor. The trail then turns off the old road you’ve been walking on and get’s steeper.
Currently there is water on the trail in parts, some mud, and plenty of snow on the shoulder of Bandera as you make the summit.
The Trillium is starting to bloom but that is it for wild flowers at this elevation. I did see one Pika and also the usual suspects when it comes to birds, Chickadees, Mountain Jays, Dark-eyed Juncos, Crows and Ravens.
On a clear day you will have views of Granite Mtn., Defiance, West Defiance, Mailbox Peak, Mt. Rainier, McClellan Butte and more. You can also see the Mason Lakes on the north side of the mountain as well as the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Local Groups/Clubs/Bike Shop: