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Silver Star Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking back at the Silver Star trail. Saint Helens and Rainier in the distance. (Jeff Statt)
The trail follows an abandoned lookout access road. One of the false summits in the background. (Jeff Statt))
One of the many spine-line ridgelines in the Silver Star area. (Jeff Statt)
Mount Hood from the Silver Star summit. (Jeff Statt)
USFS Silver Star network map
  • Start point: Silver Star Mountain TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • 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)

TAKE CARE OUT THERE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this trail is experiencing extremely heavy use. Be prepared to wear a mask during the many portions of this hike where physical distancing is not an option.

DO YOUR PART: Services are extremely limited at this time, so please bring a trash bag with you so you can pack out what you pack in, including any dog poop from your four-legged hiking buddy.


Hike Description

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!

Of the many hike options in the Silver Star area, three are most established: The Grouse Vista Trail, Silver Star Trail #180 and the Bluff Mountain Trail.

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.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Classic Hikes: Washington by Craig Romano

More Links

Silver Star - OregonWildflowers.org


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.