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Difference between revisions of "Silver Star via Ed's Trail Loop Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

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[[Image:St. Helens from Ed's Trail, Silver Star.jpg|thumb|400px|Looking to Mount Saint Helens from Ed's Trail ''(bobcat)'']]
[[Image:St. Helens from Ed's Trail, Silver Star.jpg|thumb|400px|Looking to Mount Saint Helens from Ed's Trail ''(bobcat)'']]
[[Image:Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa), Silver Star Mt..jpg|thumb|250px|Red columbine ''(Aquilegia formosa)'', Silver Star Trail ''(bobcat)'']]
[[Image:SilverStar1.jpg|thumb|250px|Flowers on Ed's Trail ''(Steve Hart)'']]
[[Image:SilverStar1.jpg|thumb|250px|Flowers on Ed's Trail ''(Steve Hart)'']]
[[Image:SilverStar2.jpg|thumb|250px|Ed's Arch ''(Steve Hart)'')]]
[[Image:SilverStar2.jpg|thumb|250px|Ed's Arch ''(Steve Hart)'')]]

Revision as of 00:42, 17 February 2021

Looking to Mount Saint Helens from Ed's Trail (bobcat)
Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa), Silver Star Trail (bobcat)
Flowers on Ed's Trail (Steve Hart)
Ed's Arch (Steve Hart))
Looking east from the summit of Silver Star Mountain
View to Mt. St. Helens from the Silver Star Trail, Silver Star Mountain (bobcat)
USFS Silver Star network map
  • Start point: Silver Star North TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Silver Star Mountain
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.7 miles (round trip)
  • Elevation gain: 1460 feet
  • High point: 4,375 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: March through November
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids

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

This is the (slightly) more difficult way to visit the north side of Silver Star Mountain. It's also the most scenic. There are great views to the north, beginning at the trailhead and getting better all the way up. This trail has a couple of short stretches of scrambling (requiring the use of your hands), so it's probably not the best for small children or dogs. If that worries you, hike the out-and-back variation instead.

From the Silver Star North Trailhead, pass a hopelessly inaccurate sign and start up the Silver Star Trail (#180). The first part of this trail is a fairly new single track through a new forest, but soon the trail reaches a closed road and follows it upward. You'll soon come to a switchback at a beautiful viewpoint of the Starway Canyon. Just past this switchback, look for a sign marking the start of Ed's Trail (#180A). Ed's Trail was built in 1995 by the Chinook Trails Association in honor of CTA co-founder Ed Roberts, who died in 1994. The trail starts up through meadows that become a riot of flowers in June and July. The trail hooks around a point and you'll have views of the ridge to the south. There's an informal trail heading down to the west that connects with the Silver Star Trail and the Chinook Trail. Then you'll see a plaque dedicating the trail.

The trail stays just on the east side of ridgecrest and passes several rock outcroppings. The Ed's Trail Arch can be somewhat hidden in the berry plants, but the trail goes right through the arch, so you can't miss it. Soon after the arch the trail climbs a steep muddy section that often requires climbing on all fours. This section is only about 30 feet high. A second section will certainly require your hands as the trail ascends a 15 foot rocky wall. Both of these sections can be challenging in bad weather, but they're really not too difficult for anyone in decent shape.

Above the rock climb, the trail traverses the ridge through more flower gardens. There's a short section of forest walking before Ed's Trail ends at the Silver Star Upper Trail Junctions. A number of trails come together here. The Bluff Mountain Trail (#172) runs east across the slopes of Little Baldy and Bluff Mountain to a trailhead. The Sturgeon Trail (#180C) heads down to the west past Sturgeon Rock.

Head uphill on the old road, which gets pretty rocky here. This closed road is now known as the Silver Star Trail and is the same road you walked back in the early part of the hike. After a short distance turn left at an unsigned intersection on another, even rockier road. This is the Silver Star Summit Trail (#180D). Hike this road uphill for about a 1/4 mile to a saddle between the summit of Silver Star Mountain and its slightly lower sibling, Silver Star 2, on the right. The concrete foundation of a fire lookout on the summit of Silver Star Mountain is worth a visit and provides a tiny bit of shelter from the wind. The views here include all of the main paths to the summit, as well as five volcanic peaks and the sprawling neighborhoods of Vancouver and Portland.

When you tire of the view, head back downhill to the junction with the rockpile, and make a right. In short order, you’ll arrive at the five-way junction, with Ed’s Trail joining on the right. This time, keep straight on the old road bed. The route follows a wildflower corridor hemmed in by firs, but a gap in the trees offers a view along the Little BaldyBluff Mountain ridge. Soon enough, you’re out on the open ridge, with Sturgeon Rock behind and Mount Saint Helens straight ahead! A spur right gives you a clifftop view that also includes Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, with the deep and rugged valley of Star Creek below. Ed's Trail is very close, hugging the steep slope. The bear-grass meadows here bloom exuberantly with wildflowers in spring and summer. Down to the left is the Coyote Creek drainage. The trail descends past rocky outcrops and above a noble fir wood. You’ll pass a campsite and jeep track on the left and then the unmarked four-way junction with the Chinook Trail. Continue on down the west side of the ridge until the trail reaches the crest and switchbacks down past the Silver Star-Ed's Trail Junction. As you hike lower, don't forget to find the dirt path from the road back to your car.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Yacolt Burn State Forest Non-Motorized Trails (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.

  • High clearance required on access road

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • 100 Classic Hikes: Washington by Craig Romano
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Hikes Near Portland, Oregon by Fred Barstad
  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I. Bond
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Best Short Hikes in Washington's South Cascades & Olympics by E.M. Sterling & Ira Spring
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker

More Links


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.