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Silver Star Mountain via Grouse Vista Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Hikers on Silver Star 2, with Mt. Jefferson in the distance (Jeff Statt)
The Grouse Vista Trail as it emerges from the forest to an exposed section (Sturgeon Rock in the background) (Jeff Statt)
Pyramid Rock (Jeff Statt)
Sturgeon Rock from Silver Star Mountain (bobcat)
Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier with the Silver Star summit in the foreground (Jeff Statt)
Map of route
Hike profile
  • Start point: Grouse Vista TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Silver Star Mountain
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 6.8 miles (round trip)
  • Elevation gain: 2040 feet
  • High point: 4,375 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: May through November
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

This hike, approaching Silver Star Mountain from the west, has become the most popular access point since Road 4109 to the Silver Star North Trailhead has become impassable to all but 4WD vehicles. While this route does not have the plethora of wildflowers or the numerous trailside views that the north route does, the advantage is that you will have plenty of shade on hot days since two-thirds of the hike is in the forest. You will also not destroy your car getting to the trailhead. And if you're up for a long hike, you can still tack on the loop using Ed's Trail to your hike.

Cross the road from the parking pullout and begin hiking up the Grouse Vista Trail, like most of the trails on Silver Star an old jeep road. Also like most of these trails, the tread is often composed of loose rock. You’ll soon pass the Grouse Vista-Tarbell Trail Junction, and continue ascending in Douglas-fir/hemlock forest with an understory of vine maple, salal, fairy lantern, and sword fern. A small spring flows over the trail, and soon silver and noble firs enter the forest mix. Just before the trail levels, you’ll pass two impressive silver firs next to the tread. Hike along in a lush corridor of mountain ash, huckleberry, and thimbleberry where tiger lilies, paintbrush, lovage, and lupine bloom in summer. A view opens up to the the summit of Silver Star Mountain. Sturgeon Rock stands out on the ridge above the deep Rock Creek drainage. These open slopes were denuded by the vast and intense Yacolt Burn of 1902, and a few whitened snags from that fire still stand out. On the ridge above you, you can make out the crags of Pyramid Rock. Then you’ll pass through a shady copse of silver and noble fir before passing a track leading right which gives access to the saddle below Pyramid Rock. (See the Silver Star-Pyramid Rock Loop Hike for a loop option on the return.)

Looking back, you can now see back to Larch Mountain and the extended Rock Creek valley. The trail passes below Pyramid Rock's boulder slope and begins to rise gently. In summer, the yellow-blooming invasive smooth hawksbeard blankets these slopes. You’ll continue to get good views of Sturgeon Rock and Silver Star 2. Then the trail ducks into a corridor of Sitka alder before starting a steep rise on a rubbly track through silver and noble fir woods. Keep straight on the Silver Star Trail when you pass the unmarked Silver Star-Grouse Vista Trail Junction. After more steep trail hiking, finally make a level traverse through wildflowers with views to Larch Mountain and the Fourth Plains beyond. The trail then rises into woods again, reaching a four-way junction with the Indian Pits Trail #180E heading up to the right and the old Sturgeon Rock Trail dropping down to the left. Keeping straight, you’ll soon reach another junction with its signature, ever-growing rockpile/cairn.

Turn right, and pass a campsite on the left (there’s a connector to the Bluff Mountain Trail from here) before leaving the sheltering noble fir forest and emerging into an open meadow of bear-grass, huckleberry, spiraea, lupine, and bistort. At a saddle, you’ll see the lower summit of Silver Star 2 to your right and the rocky prominence of Silver Star Mountain to the left. The spectacular ridge that conveys the Bluff Mountain Trail past Little Baldy stretches to the east. Mount Adams is on the eastern horizon, with Mount Rainier to the far left and Mount Hood to the far right. Once on the summit of Silver Star Mountain itself, which more than likely will have other occupants, you’ll note the concrete platform from the former lookout. Looking north, you can see up Silver Star’s north ridge and the route of Ed’s Trail. Mount Saint Helens forms a spectacular backdrop. Far to the south, Mount Jefferson should be visible on any clear day.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Yacolt Burn State Forest Recreation and Trails Map (Washington DNR)
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources: The Yacolt Burn State Forest Map
  • Green Trails Maps: Bridal Veil, OR #428
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument & Administrative Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Discover Pass required
  • Vault toilet, information kiosk

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Best Hikes Near Portland, Oregon by Fred Barstad
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics by Ira Spring & Byron Fish

More Links


Contributors

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.