60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Seattle - Including Bellevue, Everett, and Tacoma
by Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2016 Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
Great hike! Pretty steep grade for most of the hike, but the views down the I-90 corridor, the surrounding peaks, and Mason lake are well worth it!
Mid July the flowers and beargrass in full bloom. A consistent grade up and steeper switchbacks the second half of the trail. Trail was pretty busy and Mason lake was less then peaceful with all of the visitors, but it was completely worthwhile.
This is a great trail for those who don't have the time (or don't want to spend the time) traveling hours and hours from the city just to get to a trailhead, and it shows in the horde of cars parked in the lot. Still, it's not quite as crowded as the Mt. Si trail. While you won't be alone for more than five minutes at any given time of day, it is certainly a pretty hike. We took the path at the first signed junction to Mason Lake and had lunch, then back-tracked to take the Mt. Banderas path. This was the hard part, with a grade that was equivalent to a staircase. The heather was past its prime, but other wildflowers (paintbrush, lupine, BEARGRASS, tiger lily) were putting on a great show. The views of Mt. Ranier from the Banderas side-trip could make it worthwhile even without the wildflowers later in the summer. There was no snow on the path at any point, and only a small patch in a side-shadow near the top of Banderas.
Wear sunscreen and bring a hat--much of the middle 2 miles is exposed. Too bad you can see I-90 almost the entire time after the first mile or so...but still a pretty trail and decent exercise.
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