Late summer days in the Seattle area often begin with a thick layer of gloomy clouds. So you can head east through the I-90 corridor, ... more »into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, to climb above the clouds. Bandera Mountain on the western edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area is an excellent place to find the sun and enjoy panoramic views of glacial history written in the rocks of the Cascade Mountains.
The trail up to the summit of Bendera Mountain is 3.3 miles in length (and the same distance back; total 6.6 miles) with an elevation gain of 3048 feet for a final elevation of 5256 feet (according to my GPS). The last 1.5 miles of the trail gain 1800 feet by cutting straight up the mountain on a narrow path (2 feet wide in most places), the last .5 mile gaining 1000 feet. Difficult as this last leg is, the view at the top, and the feeling of accomplishment is not to be denied.
Take Interstate 90 east and get off at Exit 45 (Road No. 9030). At the stop sign, turn left, go under the freeway to Forest Service Road No. 9030. Drive about a half-mile to a road junction and continue straight about three miles on Road No. 9031 to trailhead parking and facilities, elevation about 2,300 feet. Allow about an hour drive time from Seattle. A Northwest Forest Pass is required. less «