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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Little Bandera Mountain

After-hours conditioner to Little Bandera for dinner. Last half-mile is (easy) scrambly in places, making this a sort of scram-hike.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The last half-mile or so, when you turn off the trail to Mason Lake, is slightly scrambly.  It is straight up and there are lots of rocks to climb over and around.  This last half mile is right on the edge between hiking and scrambling. Care must be used on the descent in this section as it is steep.

FS 9031 has a few sections with lots of potholes but is overall in fairly good condition.  Popular trailhead, so don't try this on the weekend if you can avoid it.  

Trail starts out on an old road, crosses on a heavy duty bridge over the stream flowing out of Mason Lake and when the trail leaves the road it gets steep fast.  Near the junction with the trail to Little Bandera the route breaks out into some talus/boulder fields.  

The junction with the Little Bandera trail is signed.  The LBT goes straight up very steeply to the ridge, which it then follows to the summit. It is only 0.6 miles or so but it will take extra time, especially on the way down.  Some boulders to hop over/on/around in places along the ridgeline.  The actual summit has lots of trees and only views to the south, so stop at a small platform just before the summit, which has views in three directions and down to Mason Lake.  Meadows from the junction up were in full flower.

Strange elevation "band" of annoying bugs that seemed to exist between 3,800' and the summit at 5100'.  Below 3800' the bugs were not an issue. 

Be aware that the last half mile is verging on scramble territory in my opinion, based on steepness and rock hopping involved. It's harder going down than up.  The rock is super sticky granite-y stuff like on Granite Mountain.