Silver Star Mountain Hike
From Oregon Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Silver Star Mountain Trailhead
- End point: Silver Star Mountain
- Trail Log: Trail Log
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- Distance: 5.6 miles (round trip)
- High Point: 4360 feet
- Elevation gain: 1240 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: March through November
- Backpackable: No
- Crowded: Yes
- Family Friendly: Yes (8 and older)
Silver Star Mountain is one of the best 360 degree summits within a day's drive of Portland, boasting a rocky, exposed viewpoint of five major Cascade volcanoes. It is also a great wildflower area in the spring, and features huckleberries in the fall. Further, there are enough unique and sometimes fanciful rock outcrops along your journey that you'll wish you brought a geologist along!
The Silver Star Hike using trail #180 is the shortest and most direct route. It is also also the best for wildflower lovers. In late spring, the meadows here are abundant with avalanche lilies and beargrass blooms.
The trail starts as a single track dirt path through a young maple forest. It soon comes to a closed road and follows the old lookout access road most the rest of the way up the mountain. You'll pass the signed lower end of Ed's Trail (you have an option here detailed as the Silver Star Mountain Loop Hike) and then an unsigned junction with the Chinook Trail. The Silver Star Trail is exposed just about the whole way up, so you'll want to bring a hat and sun protection in the summer months.
After passing a couple of false summits, the trail eventually dips into the forest near the junction with Ed's Trail and the Bluff Mountain Trail. Then old rod becomes really rocky at this point and you'll soon come to another unmarked road junction. Turn left and head up the rocky spur road toward the summit.
As you approach the summit, you get your first views of Mount Hood and the gorge near Washougal, Washington. The trail basically ends at the middle of a saddle. This is a dual-summit of sorts. Take the left spur to the "true" summit which has the remnants of an old lookout tower. Then turn back and hike up the short 'south summit' (called Star 2 on the USGS maps) for the great photo-op of the north summit with Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens at its side.
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