Silver Star Mt. hike provides the quintessential hiking experience in the SW Washington Cascades! The Forever Young Hikers of Clark county were at it again. This hike affords outstanding 360 degree views of 5 volcanos (St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood and Jefferson) … on a clear day. We saw the bases of all but Mt. Jefferson.
Besides stellar views, “The Sound of Music” landscapes and dozens of vibrant wildflowers this peak is quite conspicuous on the eastern ridge-line from Vancouver and Portland.
The hardest part of this trek was getting there! The last 5 miles was a deeply rutted, winding dirt road. We approached from the North, at trailhead #180 (elevation 3,175′).
It was about 3 miles to the summit with a 1,200 ft elevation gain. The incline was steady and relatively easy due to the broad trail. The loose rock trail bed kept all eyes on the ground when walking.
We stopped often to catch our breath and savor the terrain. The cloud ceiling was still pretty low on our ascent. (Perfect weather for a workout.)
It is hard to visually convey the exhilaration of the exertion, the vast open space, the heights and power of wilderness. This view is looking east from the summit trail.
Below is an awesome shot that demonstrates how Silver Star got its name … I’m told from the star-like junction of five ridges.
The western ridge is bordered by the Yacolt Burn area, which is now a state park. Trees were not replanted and the western slopes remain treeless — but densely covered in shrubs and wildflowers.
Speaking of wildflowers, we counted 50 (20 less than last year’s count) and it was clear that with this year’s cool wet spring has delayed the peak bloom at this elevation. We saw bear grass, penstemon, golden pea, iris, phlox, violets, service berry, columbine, paintbrush, Sitka Valerian — and on and on! Gentian was everywhere but not yet blooming. This USGS link illustrates some of the most abundant wildflowers.