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Little Baldy Mountain

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Little Baldy from the summit of Silver Star Mountain. (Jeff Statt)

Description

One of a dozen exposed peaks in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington, Little Baldy stands out as it appears like a nearly symmetric rock pile. Many hikers pass Little Baldy on the Bluff Mountain approach to Silver Star Mountain, but a side trip to the top is worth it for the solitude and views. The main trail skirts the summit, but the old trail to the peak can be found along the way, or you can make your own path by scrambling up the scree field from the north side. Several vision quest pits are sccttered around the top of the mountain, but ther authenticity is questionable. The big pit at the summit has been obviously reinforced by modern questers. On a clear day, you'll see Mount Saint Helens and Rainier to the north, Mount Adams to the east, Hood to the southeast and a hint of Mount Jefferson seemingly directly south.

To reach the top of Old Baldy from the Bluff Mountain Trail, head into the silver fir forest saddle westserly beyond Bluff Mountain. Look for a tree marked with two orange dots on your left. The old trail to the summit is on the right, across from this marker- see picture. You'll climb up through the forest, and then have to navigate a short stretch of tightly packed little trees and brush before you emerge onto the open slopes of the eastern flank of the mountain. Once on the open scree, following the tread of the old trail may save your ankles some wear and tear, but you may just make a bee-line to the top.

The trails around Little Baldy and Silver Star are completely exposed and devoid of vegetation. A massive forest fire, called the Yacolt Burn, tore through this entire region back in 1902. Trees have struggled to return now over a hundred years later. This exposure makes this area an fantastic location for wildflowers and bear grass in the spring, and an underrated source of huckleberries in the fall.

The Chinook Trail Organization has incorporated a number of trails in the area, with the eventual hope of connecting points west, like Lucia Falls and beyond to Vancouver Lake, with points east on the Columbia Gorge, including Three Corner Rock, Table Mountain and as far east as Coyote Wall. Some of the plans got stalled in red tape when the USGS refused trail building in a seven mile stretch near the Washougal River in Skamania County.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.