Silver Star Mountain is a 8 mile out and back trail located near Winthrop, WA and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for snowboarding and is accessible from January until May.
The drive from Battle Ground takes about an hour to get to the trailhead. The trail I usually take begins from the south edge of the parking lot. This fall it was widened and brushed out. The trail soon comes out of the trees and joins an old jeep trail. Follow the trail up the ridge and eventually back into the trees. When the trail starts climbing in the trees, look for a junction uphill to the left. That will lead to the summit. Just before you come out of the trees is a campsite without nearby water. There is a trail from here that leads to Bluff Mountain Trail (#172). Youll see this trail from the summit of Silver Star. Head on up the hill, out of the trees, and the trail spits again. Straight ahead is the lower summit of Silver Star. To the left about 1/10 mile are the remains of a fire lookout and the summit of Silver Star.
There is a side hike to Indian Pits on Trail 180E. You can access this trail two ways. One way is to go over the lower summit of Silver Star and join up with the trail. The other way is to go back down to the junction in the trees, turn left, and follow the old jeep trail about 2/10 mile to the wooden trail sign for 180E. Follow this footpath about 1 mile to the ridge where the Indian pits are located.
There are three theories for why the Native Americans made the pits. One theory is they were used for hunting blinds, another theory they were used to store food. I like the theory that Native Americans used them for spirit quests. Native Americans on a spirit quest would fast and sit isolated in the pits for days seeking a spiritual vision.
On a clear day look for Mt. Hood framed by the cliffs of Star Creek. From the summit of Silver Star you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and the Columbia River. Looking to the northwest there is a trail along a cliff. This is Trail 180A.
Adults can access this trail from the trail signpost in the trees about mile from the summit along trail 180. Trail 180A is not a steady grade but goes up and down with views into Star Creek. This is a narrow trail with a couple of steep sections. This trail was created and is maintained by the Chinook Trail Association of Vancouver, WA.
Back on the main trail, follow the old jeep trail all the way back to the parking lot and enjoy the view of the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake in the distance.
On the way back you might want to stop at Sunset Falls or Moulton Falls County Park and enjoy the river and a waterfall.
Hiking to Silver Star is a great hike for a partly-cloudy or clear day. Trail 180 is a very safe trail for small children because it is so wide. You need to watch small children at the summit because there is a small drop-off on the east side of the summit. Portions of trail 180A are not a safe trail for small children or many pre-teens. Trail 180A has a couple of little rock scrambles.