Planned to hit Bandera Mountain Summit, 2nd time, and 4th for Little Bandara. Perfect blue skies - almost too perfect as the temps rose. Started at exit 42 - Tinkham vs. the Ira Springs trailhead, in part to avoid parking crowds and the dusty potholed road, plus the lower trail is a beautiful moss-covered trail with stumps of old grown tree harvested long ago, with beautiful stream flowing along the trail. There are no water sources once you pass the log bridge, and the true summit to Bandara is long and hot as it's exposed to the sun. Wildflowers along the steep boot path to Little Bandera are in full bloom, so take your time and enjoy the many colors. All lakes are melted out and the trail to Bandera Mountain summit is completely snow-free. There is a talus field of a couple of hundred yards marked with cairns to navigate once you get to the final stretch. The talus covered summit has a summit register, a small box with some papers, and other odd items. From the summit looking South Rainier looms larger than ever. There is a massive blow of talus below and it could be an interesting scramble adventure to explore and connect with the trail for Talpus Lake in the future. Super views of the peaks along the I90 corridor with Tusk O Granite and Granite Mountain to the East, Silver, Tinkham, Abiel, and Humpback to the South. McClellan and the Dukes to the South West, Defiance, PPP, Web to the West, and many of the Home Court 100 to the North and North West. Stuart in the far distance. Most people don't venture past Little Bandera, but if you want an amazing hike and required, make the effort to push to the final summit.
Hit snow below Little Bandera and had a chilly lunch sitting in the snow on top before going on to the summit
Day hike up to Little Bandera, then to Bandera Mountain for the summit. Trip started uneventfully. Passed folks from Wisconsin hiking up the steep hill past the Mason Lake cutoff in flip flops :0. Upon reaching little Bandera, light snow flurries started coming down. We opted to push for the summit. Snow covered the trail and become progressively deeper, further into the trail. 1"-2" of new snow covered the trail and foliage and was wet and slippery. Poles were a must. As we progressed, visibility decreased, the wind picked up, and more snow was coming down. We pushed across the long scree/boulder filed to the proper summit, took some pictures, and retraced our steps back towards little Bandera. We were the only party past little Bandera during the day and the only two as we descended. Conditions were worsening. The hike to Bandera summit is great and will be much better later in the season. Contrary to some reports, there are great views from the top.
3rd of a 3-summit day with P3 & Defiance.
Did not traverse to the true summit; it was late in the day and I was looking to descend. (Speaking of descents, that stretch down the spur was unpleasant.)
Snow-free almost the entire way, with some patches left towards the top.
Highly recommend checking out Mason Lake; you are already most of the way there.
Finished on the Ira Springs Trail to close the loop.
A very cloudy day. The trail up Bandera is super steep for a brief bit, difficult but so short it's over before you know it. Didn't head over to the true summit...it didn't seem worth it given the very cloudy weather we had.
It was an overcast fall day, but the clouds were high enough to see the surrounding peaks. This one didn't have a lot of appeal for me, probably a one and done. Plenty nearby with better trail and better views for similar effort.
Go all the way to the true summit, you are so close! Hiked up with Maddie in an hour and 45 minutes. The incline after the fork towards Mason lake is intense, but short. Once on the ridge,it was an easy walk/easy boulder hop to the true summit. Not super exciting, but a great workout.
I forgot this one but thought I would not that it's a great short hike for good exercise. I did it quite a few times in the Fall of 2011 and took my 50 lb pack to train for climbing Mt. Aconcagua. Very pretty views of the mountains and the valley below! That last part is steep and up an open area so could be hot in the sun.
I forgot to log this ascent, and only realized it when it showed on SP's "Suggested Mountains" page. lol
Good views from false summit, not so much from true summit.
The last part is killer on the legs
Decent views from the top. Bear grass in full bloom. However, not my favorite hike. Needed blood transfusion after the mosquito onslaught at the top. Also, the dirt road in to the TH is one of the worst I've been on. Could be a good snow climb though, be back in winter.
Stair-stepped to the top! :)Bear grass, mountain pussy toes, turk's cap lily ... wildflowers and more wildflowers.
Encountered a few patches of snow. Cloudy when we arrived at the summit so no views
Easier to see the trail coming back. Stick to the S. side.
Great day for a 2fer along with Defiance.
Gorgeous day for a hike! Enjoyed the skyward scramble and scenic ridgewalk! Great early season conditioner with views!
Hit up little Bandera w/ridgewalk in the snow
As if I wasn't into it the last time I hiked up here, another friend who actually had never even hiked wanted to come up here. Well, ok I guess. Stopped at the false summit, which everyone pretty much calls the summit anyway. Don't think I'll ever be back- there are too many other places to go- but if you've never been, it's a great place to visit.
I've been up here so much, it's starting to feel like Si to me. Took two friends who had never been there.
Managed to squeeze this hike into a trip to Seattle for a job interview, thanks to friends who live nearby. I got the job, and am stoked to have a chance now to really explore the Cascades etc.