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Silver Star Mountain

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

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 peaks on the northeastern horizon looking from Portland and is visible from points 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 vista 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 the remains of a 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 hike of the three, but with the worst drive to the trailhead, currently needing high clearance and AWD; the Grouse Vista Trail #180F from the south, the most varied and popular, but with the most elevation gain; and the Bluff Mountain Trail from the east, much longer but a lot quieter (a very potholed road and long drive, however). A very underused approach is to take the Silver Star Trail #180 from its south trailhead (see the Silver Star South Ridge Hike): this is a a lot more elevation gain but guarantees you more solitude, at least until you reach the crowded summit area.

No matter which of the trails you select, you'll spend at least part of your journey surrounded by vast meadows and open slopes on all sides, thanks to the devastating Yacolt Burn 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 the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

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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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