Silver Star via Bluff Mt

  • October 26, 2013 · 7:45 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

TOTAL MILES: 13+ miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1650 ft
PACE: “Quick” (~2.5 mph)
DIFFICULTY RATING: Challenging
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: 7 hours
PERMITS: None
**RSVPs will open at 7:00 pm***


CARPOOLING: RT mileage is 90 miles, give or take; we suggest a mileage donation of 10 cents/mile/person, or $9.00. Exact change makes it easier to divide among our drivers. No one will be turned away for an inability to contribute. Thanks!

Each and every time that I have posted a hike for this area the forecast was good when I posted it, but by the time the date of the hike arrived the weather took a turn for the worse and we were left looking at the inside of a cloud, so, for everyone who was looking forward to sunshine this Saturday, feel free to blame me if it doesn't materialize :-) But I digress...

The plan is to park at the eastern junction of FR41 and FR4104 (located in the Gifford Pinchot NF, so no WA Discovery Pass needed). Trail #172 starts out following an old 4x4 road south for a couple of miles to the “old” trailhead. From there we’ll follow the single track as it winds its way westerly under Bluff Mt, through a forested section, then back into the open as we pass Little Baldy and follow the ridge line past the junction with the Starway Trail. From there it’s a short jaunt up to the twin summits and those panoramic views that I have only seen pictures of. Finally, no hike in this area is complete without a stop in Battle Ground on the way back for one of the best banana milkshakes that you have ever tasted!

Here’s a much better hike description than I could ever come up with on my own:
http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Silver_Star_via_Bluff_Mountain_Hike

We’ll be walking along an exposed ridge for much of this hike, and historically the trail has been pretty overgrown, so sunscreen, a windbreaker, and long pants are must have items on this one. Also, while the driving mileage doesn’t look like much, FS 41 isn’t the best road in the world (nowhere near as bad as the access up to Ed's Trail !!), and we’ll be on back country roads for a while before we even get onto FS 41, so we’re looking at about 1.5 to 2 hours of driving on each side of the hike, which means that we probably won’t get back to Gateway until 8:00pm at the earliest. In other words, please don’t RSVP for this hike if you have someplace to be Saturday night.


NO DOGS, please.

What to bring:
• Sturdy hiking boots/shoes with at least one change of socks
• Two or three light layers of clothing that can be adjusted or removed as necessary (NO COTTON!!!)
• Rain gear
• Safety whistle, preferably on a cord around your neck (highly recommended)
• The 10 essentials*
• Trekking poles (never a bad idea)
• Lunch, snacks and plenty of water

*Navigation, Sun protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid, Fire, Repair Kit/Tools, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter. For a more detailed description, check out “The Ten Essentials” on the Portland Hiking Meetup Group’s FILES page.

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  • dara

    How did you like this route?

    October 28, 2013

    • Zachary

      Ed's Trail is nice, but not worth the wear and tear on my car, IMHO. The road to this TH is totally driveable, and this route has lots of variety and views (!) along the way. Not a lot of people either, which I like. I haven't done the Grouse Vista route from the south, mostly because I don't want to buy a Discover Pass (the TH is on DNR land).

      October 28, 2013

  • Jacqi F

    Gorgeous views of the mtns all along the trail (St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood, etc) and of courese panoramic at the top. It's a rocky trail but worth it!

    October 28, 2013

  • Alok G.

    Thank you guys. It's awesome!

    October 28, 2013

  • Jacqi F

    Wonderful day - thank you all!

    October 27, 2013

  • David

    Pretty perfect day

    October 27, 2013

  • Zachary

    Thank you, Weather Gods, for ending my 0 for 6 streak! So that's what the views from Silver Star look like- WOW!! Speaking of awesome, I would also like to thank a wonderful group of hikers for being so flexible out there, and also for putting up me gushing about the views the whole time!!

    October 27, 2013

  • Tim F

    Enjoyable group of hikers and a nice hike, and I can say I was there when the Zach Silverstar curse was broken. stats for the day, 13.6 miles, 2895 elev gain, low point was 3154, high was 4381, mov avg 2.6.

    October 27, 2013

  • Cynthia L.

    So glad we had a beautiful fall day for this. The views were spectacular! Great people and great hike. Thanks Zach

    October 26, 2013

  • Cindy

    Hope it is clear at the summit this time, Zach. I'm heading up Sunday, hope its a win, win!

    October 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a Halloween Party this Saturday but would love to join some other time soon

    October 24, 2013

  • Rachael

    sorry, wasn't expecting that kind of drive. I have to work Sat. Evening. Might have to head up alone :)

    October 23, 2013

  • Melissa

    I'm coming from Hood River...Is there somewhere I can hook up with the group and carpool or follow you without having to drive to Gateway?

    October 23, 2013

    • Zachary

      You can meet us at the Battle Ground Safeway. Ditto for anyone else who lives in WA and doesn't want to make the trek across the river to Gateway. Just shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

      October 23, 2013

  • Pete

    Zach, Did this one last Friday and it was great. The road in was not too bad, could be done in a car if you take it easy. Awesome hike and great views from start to end.

    October 22, 2013

    • Pete

      and the elevation gain is very gradual

      October 22, 2013

    • Zachary

      Yes it is.

      October 22, 2013

  • Zachary

    Hey Steve & Kathy- now that you mention it, I always did think that the 12.4 miles was a bit short. I'm going to hedge my bets and change my writeup to "13+ miles". Thanks for the GPS numbers !!

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • Steve

    Actually the mileage is pretty close.... I GPS'd it at just a hair over 13... but the elevation gain is closer to 2800 round trip...per GPS... beautiful hike and worth every footstep! Enjoy!

    October 22, 2013

  • Kathy

    Zack that mileage isn't correct unless you drive to the start of the trail. You can ask Steve for the correct mileage. I think he said 14.5 miles and 3500 elevation gain. Pete and I just did it and didn't make it anywhere near the summit and it was 10.5 miles and 2300 elevation.

    October 22, 2013

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