BANDERA MOUNTAIN

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Most people associate Bandera Mountain with day hiking during hot summer month when the upper slopes burst with wildflowers but this 5240 ft tall peak offers quite spectacular campsites as well. Just not in summertime.

Camping season on Bandera Mountain is relatively short. It starts in mid to late spring when the snow has settled and the mountain is no longer prone to avalanches, and ends when the uppermost part of the trail melts out and starts showing patches of newly sprouting vegetation. During some years the weather window is merely two weeks long.

During this brief time period, Bandera makes a worthwhile backpacking destination and will satisfy those who wish to watch the sun rising over the Cascade Mountains and sunsets into the Puget Sound. After the darkness takes over, lights in the valley point out location of small mountain communities and when one points their eyes to the sky, their gaze is met by the millions of the stars.

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Come prepared. Snowshoes are a must to cross the soft spring snow through the boulder field. Ice axe and crampons will become useful if the snow freezes overnights and you will have to descent the steep slopes in the early morning hours.

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Directions:

Take exit 45 off of I-90 and turn north onto FR 9030. A little over three quarters of a mile from the exit, stay left onto FR 9031. Follow it to its end and the trailhead for the Ira Spring Trail #1038. Road is one-lane gravel and dirt.

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