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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,271.00 ft (692.20 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
6.60 mi (10.62 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Despite standing just 25 miles from downtown Portland, Silver Star Mountain has a remote feel. Silver Star is shorter and less salient than the iconic, glaciated peaks visible from the Portland area. Yet to pass over the hiking opportunities it presents would be a shame, especially in early fall when the foliage ranges from beautiful green conifer needles to broadleaves ranging from pale yellow to brilliant orange and deep red. Aside from the autumn colors, the Grouse Vista Trail to the summit is host to wildflower meadows in the spring and fantastic scenic vistas. On a clear day, the volcanoes Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and even Mount Jefferson can be spotted.

Although only 25 miles from downtown Portland as the crow flies, the drive from Portland to Grouse Vista Trailhead covers nearly 40 miles of road and takes more than an hour. After passing through Vancouver, Washington, the route becomes windy and rural, and services taper off. About 7.5 miles from the destination, you drive past the Larch Corrections Center. At this point the road becomes gravel and cell service is unreliable. Be sure to have an offline map of the area.

There is an established parking lot with bathroom and signage where Grouse Vista takes off. Park and pay the fee or display your Washington State Discover Pass. Begin hiking northward on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot. The trail starts steep, and you'll quickly reach a split. Take the right side and continue ascending for a mile. After climbing to 3,000 feet, the trail levels off for a time and you will see exposed rock formations jutting up to your right. Depending on the season, this is where the colors of wildflowers or fall foliage become pronounced. The trail splits at mile 1.4. Stay left and stick to the northwest side for the best views on the way up. During the descent you'll have the option to take the opposite side, but keep in mind that it is less established.

After passing Pyramid Rock, there is a slight dip in elevation. As the trail begins again to climb, there are a few side trails. Turn right onto Silver Star Summit Trail (180D); there should be a cairn marking the turn. Another 0.5 miles of steep hiking will land you on the basalt summit. To the north and east especially, you can see the area of the former Yacolt Burn - one of the most devastating wildfires in Washington history. Much of the wildflowers and deciduous foliage traces back to this fire, and the land's subsequent resistance to reforestation.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

True panoramic views. Wildflowers. Fall foliage.

Cons

Several miles driving gravel roads with no winter maintenance. Summit can become crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

2,395.00 ft (730.00 m)

Highest point

4,364.00 ft (1,330.15 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington

Comments

05/04/2019
Did this as a there and back and the views at the top were a amazing! There was still snow on the trail for about a mile and micro spikes helped. Make sure you have a discover pass before you arrive because there is no place to buy one there, and they do check.
05/14/2018
We usually do the Loop via Tarbell Trail/Sturgeon Rock, but about 1/4 mile pass the Rock Cr Bridge, logging blocked the trail. Otherwise, another beautiful day on Silver Star!
02/02/2018
road conditions getting to the trailhead were good today - took it slow in a subaru with no troubles. big surprise- i was the only car there today; the only person who thought trying to hit the summit via snow-covered trail, during a rainstorm.

the trail started out just plain wet but was snowy in less than half a mile. it was warm and rainy (40ish deg) so actually made snow hiking much more difficult, with just walking through runoff "stream" interspersed with falling knee to thigh deep in snow without a hard pack.

a storm rolled in about 0.4 miles from the summit, with sideways driving sleet, heavy winds and low visibility. between that and the soggy snowpack, i didn't feel safe and turned back.

I then ran for miles on the Tarbell trail, which was in good condition and only had patches where you'd have to do a little snow-running in ankle-deep snow, headed to Hidden Falls and wished I had done in the first place. :) i'll come back in better weather.
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