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Silver Star Mountain

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

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Silver Star summit (Jeff Statt)
July wildflowers (Adam Schneider)
The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood from summit (Jeff Statt)
USFS Silver Star trail complex


Silver Star Mountain, commonly called just "Silver Star," is a bald, exposed peak in Skamania County in Southwest Washington not far from the eastern limits of Vancouver. It is one of the most prominent peeks on the northeastern horizon looking from Portland, and visible from places all over the Columbia River Gorge. Silver Star is a popular destination due to the amazing summer wildflower meadows on its slopes, as well as the fantastic 360 degree panoramic viewpoint from the top. On a clear day you can see five Cascade volcanoes: Rainier, St Helens, Adams, Hood and Jefferson. It is a former lookout site, as evidenced by a leftover foundation on the summit.

There are many approaches to climbing Silver Star. The three most popular options are: Silver Star Trail #180 from the north, the easiest of the three; Blue Grouse Trail #180F from the south, the most varied but with the most elevation gain; and the Bluff Mountain Trail from the east, much longer but a lot quieter.

No matter which of the trails you select, you'll spend at least part of your journey surrounded by vast meadows on all sides, thanks to the devastating Yacolt Burn fire of 1902. Depending on the time of year, these meadows are filled with abundant wildflower blooms; many people say it's the best display anywhere near Portland. June and July are typically the peak months.

The Chinook Trail Association has been building a system of trails from Yacolt to Three Corner Rock with Silver Star Mountain as its crown jewel. This network is part of a large scale plan to connect existing trails all along SW Washington.

Silver Star is a very popular destination among hiking clubs, but it gets passed over by many due to the perception of the difficulty in getting to one of the main trailheads. True, you must traverse miles of forest roads whose conditions are inconsistent from season to season. This author has made the trek on a half dozen occasions with nothing but a low clearance passenger car, and had few problems (had to navigate around some large pot holes in places!) This referrs to the Grouse Vista Trailhead, not rugged Silver Star Trailhead.

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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.

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