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Looking back from Bandera ridge 8/1/15


⭐⭐⭐⭐️☆(4 of 5) Trail run from Bandara Mountain TH (trail head) to Talapus Lake TH, WA. This is a perfect through run (apx. 11 miles with some a fair amount of vert) to do with a friend and two cars (or if your timing is good, you can get a friend to follow you to the Talapus Lake TH, leave your rig and have them drop you at the Bandera Mountain TH. Both of these THs are located off exit 45 on the North side of Interstate 90. I chose to do run the clockwise route, which requires leaving the “pick-up” vehicle at the Talapus Lake trail head which is the first right you get to leaving the in the road (forest service road 9030) and the run starts at the end of (fs road 9031) the “main” dirt road”. Note: just like most of the trail access roads, it is a bumpy ride, for a mile or so, but fine for low profile vehicles.

 

The run starts out at the Bandera Mtn. TH (2,200′) climbing at a nice grade for apx. 3 miles, when you hit the ridge of Bandera (apx 4300′). Then the trail starts to descend over the ridge down towards the first of  five lakes on this very nice run, Mason Lake, which is apx .5 miles loosing a couple hundred feet.

Mason Lake as seen 8/1/15

Mason Lake as seen 8/1/15

Once at Mason Lake, continue on the runners left side of the lake and stay on the “main trail” (lots of little off chute trails, but wooden signs up in some of the trees stating “main trail”), you will come to a junction with in .25 miles for Little Mason Lake (which is to the left), stay on the “main trail” for another 10th or so, until you hit another junction for Mt. Defiance to left, but take the right towards Rainbow Lake. You will climb for about .3 miles then hitting some nice flat running which will bring you to Rainbow Pond (see our fb page for pics of this small pond). Shortly after you run to the left of the pond you will come to Rainbow Lake (this is where I chose to get water).

Rainbow Lake as seen 8/1/15

Rainbow Lake as seen 8/1/15

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Continue running the sweet terrain towards the Island Lake junction apx. .3 miles past Rainbow lake. Take the right trail for .4 miles down to Island Lake (my favorite on this run, also a great lake to do an overnight trip). Note as you approach the lake you can get a couple peek a boo views of Talapus lake far down the drainage (pic on our fb page).

Island Lake as seen 8/1/15

Island Lake as seen 8/1/15


Head back out the .4 miles to the junction then take the right for some great ridge top running that leads first to the junction for Pratt lake (to left, but stay on main trail) then to a nice view off to the right of Mt. Rainier in the distance and Olallie Lake down in the valley (pic on our fb page). The trail will circle Olallie loosing a good amount of elevation (apx 600′), bringing you to the junction on the Southern side of the lake for Olallie/Talapus Lakes. Take the trail to the right, getting off the main trail (which the “main trail” would take you to the Granite Mtn. TH). Another 10th of a mile after you take the right trail to Olallie/Talapus, you will hit another junction. To the right leads to Olallie and to the left will lead to Talapus (which I chose not to hit Olallie). Apx. 400′ and .75 miles down the trail you will see Talapus Lake off to the right.

Talapus Lake as seen 8/1/15

Talapus Lake as seen 8/1/15

Once you roll past Talapus Lake the trail has an easy grade down to the Talapus TH just under 2 miles and loosing around 5 to 600′.

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