This exploration will take you through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where the wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest is on full display.
In this blog post, we will embark on a journey through the enchanting Silver Star Mountain trail, uncovering its hidden treasures and remarkable features.
So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking your next conquest or a nature enthusiast yearning for a day amidst the cascading landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge, this guide to Silver Star Mountain has everything you need to be prepared to hit the trail.
Complete Guide to Summiting Silver Star Mountain via Grouse Vista
Boasting expansive views of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge Area, the Silver Star Mountain Summit is a trek for the books. With a multitude of routes and side quests, you could spend days exploring this small section of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
General Trail Stats
Region: Columbia River Gorge
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,100 ft
Time: 3 hours +
When to go: May – Nov
Pass/Permit?: Discovery Pass
Dogs Allowed? On Leash
Date Completed: August 24th, 2023
Where is Silver Star Mountain
Silver Star Mountain is located on the ancestral lands of the Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Cowlitz, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indian tribes. We are grateful for the stewards of this land past and present. We are honored to be and recognize that we are guests on this land.
Accessing Silver Star Mountain Trail
In this section, I’ll guide you through the logistics, from reaching the trailhead, dealing with seasonal challenges, and ensuring you have the right pass to access the trail. So, let’s get prepared to conquer Silver Star Mountain!
Getting to the Trailhead
The adventure to Silver Star Mountain begins at the Grouse Vista trailhead. To reach this trailhead, you’ll start your journey from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest area, just outside Washougal, Washington.
From downtown Portland, it’s a little over an hour’s drive to the Grouse Vista trailhead. While the distance is manageable, keep in mind that the final stretch involves navigating a seven-mile unpaved road. This unpaved road can present challenges, especially during the winter months, so always check the road conditions before heading out.
The Grouse Vista Trailhead has a pit toilet for anyone that needs to use it prior to their journey up to Silver Star Mountain!
Season to Visit
Timing can make all the difference when it comes to hiking the Silver Star Mountain Trail. Here is what you can expect for each season on the Silver Star Summit Trail:
Spring: Typically in late spring and early summer, is a sight to behold for Silver Star Mountain if you’re willing to traverse across some snow. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom along the trail including: lupines, paintbrush, and other wildflower varieties.
Summer: Summer offers pleasant hiking conditions with more predictable weather. The meadows continue to bloom, and the Silver Star Summit is in clear view. It’s an ideal season for those seeking well-defined trails. Be prepared for hot trail conditions.
Fall: Silver Star Mountain Trail is less crowded during this season, making it perfect for those who prefer solitude. The cooler temperatures and fall foliage create a serene atmosphere, and the summit views become even more striking with the vibrant hues of autumn. Weather can vary and skies can be smokey, but it’s still a great time to summit.
Winter: Many people snowshoe Silver Star Mountain who are up for a tough and magical day in the snow. Road conditions to the trailhead vary and it is likely that a couple miles will be added to your trek because of road closures.
The best season to hike the Silver Star Mountain Trail truly depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience.
Choose the time that resonates with you the most, and Silver Star Mountain will reward you with its wonders.
Now that you have all the information you need to get to the trail, let’s pack our bags and grab our gear. In the next section let’s look at the gear that we need for a safe and successful hike!
What to Pack for Hiking Silver Star Mountain
Silver Star Mountain is definitely a trail that requires some preparation and proper gear. With the rugged terrain of the trail and long exposed sections of trail, here is a short list of gear you should consider bringing on your trek!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have come to love layers and packing my bag full of every layer imaginable. Here are some you should bring for a summer trek to Silver Star Mountain:
It wasn’t until this past year that I upgraded my undergarments to merino wool. When I was spending 6, 8 and 12+ hour days on the trail I needed something more comfortable that would minimize chaffing. These merino wool bras from REI fit the bill!
While I can typically be found in a sun hoodie in the summer, on a warm day it feels good to feel the sun hit my skin.
These Athleta Momentum Tank tops are my favorite for a day in the sun.
The trail can get rocky in parts so having sturdy shoes is a must! The Oboz Bridgers are my go-to boots for rocky terrain not just because they have a thick sole but because of the extra ankle support. Pair the Oboz Bridgers with a good pair of wool socks and you’re good to go!
I have been wearing my Oboz Bridger Boots for four years now! They are my go to boots for everything.
Wool socks are a must for all hikers. They mitigate blisters and keep your sweaty feet from getting irritated throughout your hike. Darn Tough are the only wool socks that I wear!
I brought my dog Meatball on this trail, here is some gear I packed to keep him safe and hydrated on Silver Star Mountain!
There are very few water sources on this trail and none after the first mile. I packed extra water for Meatball and used this lightweight and collapsible bowl.
Every pup deserves a treat when they are working hard on the trail! I pick up a bag of these treats every time I’m in REI. Meatball loves the Upward Dog flavor.
I love the hands-free leash because it is so versatile. I can hike handsfree and give Meatball as much lead as is safe for the route we are on. It can also be used as a hitch!
Hiking the Silver Star Mountain Trail via Grouse Vista Trailhead
The Silver Star Mountain Trail, accessed via the Grouse Vista Trailhead, is a mesmerizing adventure that promises hikers a taste of the Pacific Northwest’s rugged beauty.
This trail offers a diverse and challenging terrain, combining steep ascents, serene meadows, and jaw-dropping vistas into a single remarkable journey. As you set foot on this path, you’ll be immersed in a world of natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes.
The trail begins with a strenuous climb, taking you through dense forests. This initial section winds through the forest and can be extremely rocky at points! I found myself stepping on the sections of trail that had minimal rocks since it was so slippery.
The initial ascent, though steep, is but a prelude to what is to come.
High Elevation Meadows
Around 1.5 miles from the trailhead, the landscape changes dramatically as you emerge from the forest into expansive meadows.
While I was there the leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn for the fall season.
Continuing on your journey, you’ll arrive at a junction that leads you around Pyramid Rock, navigating a talus slope. The terrain drops a bit here before resuming its uphill climb.
Besides the summit, this was my favorite section of the trail.
Keep left past the Silver Star Mountain and Indian Flats trail to keep towards the summit. I suggest downloading a trail map since there are so many different trails that weave through the area, I downloaded mine off of AllTrails.
After a few more miles, you’ll reach another junction, bringing you closer to the Silver Star Summit. With each step, the anticipation builds as you near the grand finale of this hike.
Silver Star Mountain Summit
The summit rewards your efforts with unimpeded views of a breathtaking panorama. On clear days, the towering volcanoes of Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens can be seen.
Unfortunately, the smoke did not clear for me when I summited Silver Star.
You’ll also witness sweeping views of the Yacolt Burn State Forest stretching out below you, gradually fading into the urban landscapes of Portland and Vancouver.
From the Grouse Vista Trailhead to the Silver Star Summit, this hike is a true adventure, an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.
Should Silver Star Mountain be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington?
I am hiking all “100 Classic Hikes of Washington” and Silver Star Mountain happens to be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington. But the question is, Should Silver Star Mountain be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington?
After climbing up to Silver Star Mountain, a trail that I have attempted to climb several times but couldn’t due to road conditions, I was blown away by both the trail and the summit. This is one of my favorite areas in Washington and while it is not directly along the Columbia RIver Gorge, it is still a part of that beautiful area. The summit had plenty of beautiful birds and views to take in! I definitely want to spend some more time exploring the Lewis River Region.
I am going with: Yes, Silver Star Mountain Should be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington!
Let me know in the comments if you think Silver Star Mountain should be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington!
If you’d like to complete your own 100 Classic Hikes journey, you can purchase the book here.