|OregonWildflowers Locations Silver Star Mountain|
|Area||Gifford Pinchot National Forest|
|Best time to visit||Late June through July|
|Trail Info||5.7 mile loop, 1500 feet elevation gain (via Ed's Trail from the north trailhead)
6.0 mile out-and-back, 2040 feet elevation gain (to summit from Grouse Vista trailhead)
9.1 total miles, 2640 feet elevation gain (to summit and including Ed's Trail loop from Grouse Vista trailhead)
|PLANT LIST AVAILABLE|
|Oregon Hikers Field Guide information|
|Dogs||Allowed, but must be kept on leash AT ALL TIMES.|
|Northwest Forest Pass required!|
Here is an abbreviated list of wildflowers that await you: Bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax); Inside-Out Flower (Vancouveria hexandra); Western bistort (Polygonum bistortoides); Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa); Indian paintbrush (Castilleja miniata); Mountain golden-pea (Thermopsis montana); Cascade aster (Aster ledophyllus); Long-beaked hawkweed (Hieracium longiberbe); Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum); Subalpine mariposa lily (Calochortus subalpinus); Woodland penstemon (Nothochelone nemorosa); Cardwell's penstemon (Penstemon cardwellii); Cliff penstemon (Penstemon rupicola); Nuttall's larkspur (Delphinium nuttallii); Rosy spiraea (Spiraea splendens); Sitka valerian (Valeriana sitchensis); Oregon iris (Iris tenax); Tiger lily (Lilium columbianum); Small-flowered paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora); Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa); Mountain Wallflower (Erysimum arenicola); Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa); and Columbia Lewisia (Lewisia columbiana).
NOTE: There are many other trails, but we recommend Ed's Trail for the best wildflower experience.
Look for the trail sign at the south end of the parking area. Pass the kiosk and start up the Silver Star Trail (#180). The trail meets up with the old road, which continues uphill and switchbacks at a viewpoint of Starway Canyon, with Mount Hood in the distance. Slightly beyond this switchback is the start of Ed's Trail (#180A) on your left. This trail leads you through the abovementioned meadows, an experience which you will never forget. As you continue to climb beyond the meadows, take a moment to turn around and admire the views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams (from left to right).
Ed's Trail passes through a natural arch, and then reaches a steep muddy (but mercifully short) section that may require you to use your hands. Beyond that section, you will ascend a 15 foot rock wall that will definitely require the use of your hands. However, if you are in good physical shape, neither of these sections should present a problem (except in bad weather, in which case you should probably not be doing this hike!).
Above the rock wall, the trail continues through more flowers, followed by a brief forested section before ending at a trail junction. To reach the summit, head uphill on the old road. This is the same road (a/k/a the "Silver Star Trail") that you walked upon at the beginning of the hike. After 0.2 mile, turn left at an unsigned intersection marked by a large rock cairn onto another rockier road (the "Silver Star Summit Trail"). This continues a quarter mile uphill to the twin summits of Silver Star.
When you have had your fill of the views, return downhill to the old road, and take that all the way back to the parking area. But this is no ordinary "road hike"... the beauty continues with more meadows filled with more flowers and fine mountain views, especially Mount Saint Helens.
After 6.6 miles you will reach an unmarked four-way junction in a clearcut area. Turn sharply right and proceed uphill onto Road 4109. Proceed 2.6 miles on this rocky, rutted road to the trailhead parking area. The clearly marked trail begins at the south end of the parking area.
IMPORTANT: Road 4109 is barely navigable with a regular passenger car depending upon available clearance. However, a higher clearance vehicle is strongly recommended (e.g., Subaru Outback, Jeep, 4WD, et cetera).
If you have a regular (low clearance) vehicle, you may want to consider starting from the Grouse Vista Trailhead because the road access is much easier.
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