Start on an abandoned road grade, crossing Mason Creek at milepost 0.6 and continuing east for another mile before leaving the road grade to switchback up through open south-facing slopes to the junction with Bandera Mountain Trail at 2 .8 miles.
At the junction take a right for a steep scramble up Bandera Mountain or continue 0.2 miles left to the ridgeline, which marks the boundary of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Continue 0.4 miles, losing 300 feet in elevation, to the Mason Lake outlet at milepost 3.4 and follow the west shoreline before gradually climbing to the junction with Mount Defiance Trail 1009 at milepost 4. From the junction, head west to Mount Defiance and Thompson Lake or east to Rainbow and Island Lakes.
Enjoy fantastic wildflowers displays late spring through summer. On a clear day find several vantage points with views of Mt. Rainier. Bandera Mountain summit is at 5,240 feet elevation.
At a Glance
From North Bend, WA follow I-90 east and take exit #45. Go north and turn left on Forest Service Road #9030. Continue on #9030 for three-quarters of a mile. At the “Y” stay left onto Forest Service Road #9031/Mason Lake Road. (Forest Service Road #9030 turns right and goes to Talapus Lake Trailhead.) Continue for 3.2 miles to Ira Spring Trailhead at the end of road.