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Beautiful Fall colors going on right now! We only saw one other group today. It was not only beautiful, but very quiet. We will definitely be back.

backpacking
2 months ago

First hammock camping trip. Tough climb to the lake. No bugs. Dry on the way up, but rained all night and on hike out. Saw fish caught. Probably swimmable with hot weather.
5 or 6 groups of day hikers but only one other overnighter at the lake.
Lots of day hikers with dogs on the lower, first section of the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Would’ve been five stars if I wasn’t socked in until the way back from Silver Star. Can only imagine the views on a clear day.

Like other reviews, you’ll need clearance on the Fire Service Road to make it to the trailhead. I entered through Sunset Falls Campground, then left on FS 41. Really straightforward. No cell service, but Google Maps works on GPS alone now, just in case.

Once at the trailhead, the first 2 miles are on an old Jeep Road. When you get to the end of that, there’s a little circle with shells and clay pigeons. Cut down and right onto a single track.

No sustained climbs. Lots of up, flat, down, and back up. Great mix of terrain from trees/berries/bushes to forest to rocks on the side of mountains. I’m sure my favorite would’ve been Silver Star, but since I had no view, it had to be the forest. There’s a spot where you literally can only see 30 yards in any direction because the tree trunks are so densely packed.

I have to second Bradley’s comment about long pants. The trail is fairly overgrown (but still clear and easy to follow) on much of the single track. Also, if you go on a day after rain, wear some waterproof shoes. I was soaked from the waist down from leftover water on the beargrass and other plants. Also, I saw a ton of bear scat in an area filled with blueberries. No bears, though.

Total from Bluff Mountain Trailhead to peak of Silver Star and back is 12.5 miles. Took me 4hrs 40 minutes, but again, I wasn’t stopping much to admire all the peaks and valleys I’m sure we’re out in the clouds somewhere.

Pick a clear day, if you can. I’ll be back on one.

hiking
2 months ago

First go back and read all the reviews that say the trail is steep. Then read them again. I would like to add that the first section is Steep. But it was a great trail, way off the beaten path. We found ripe blueberries, huckleberries, and thimble berries and were rewarded with a terrific view. The road in can get a bit rough in places and make sure you don't miss the little spur off the main road down to the trailhead for the last 1/2 mile.

hiking
2 months ago

Agree with Thomas Phillips. Hiked this trail 9/2017 and still remember the horror: steep grades, viewless, waterless, hot, and so seldom traveled there were spider webs across the trail so thick we had to hike while beating them away with sticks for a large majority of the time. On the way down the grade was so steep multiple people in my party fell, and then someone stepped on a hornet's nest & I got stung 6 times. Could have been worth the effort if there was ANY destination. But nothing - not a single area where we could stop and take in the elevation gain. Hikers below who praise the waterfalls have it a bit wrong - the waterfalls are technically on the Siouxon Trail; there are no waterfalls ON Horseshoe Ridge Trail. FYI people in my party are late 20s moderately athletic and most of us are not faint-hearted.

hiking
3 months ago

A great hike through a beautiful section of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. There are some steady ascents and descents, but nothing dramatic except for the last small part right before you reach the Silver Star Mountain trail. At the meeting point with Silver Star there is a small campground and a short trail leading up to Silver Star Mountain. In August 2018 there was NO WATER TO BE FOUND anywhere on the trail or at the campsite, so bring more water than you think you'll need, especially if you will be camping.

Make sure to go up the Silver Star trail to the top to get amazing 360º views of Washington and Oregon, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood, as well as the Columbia River Gorge and Portland off in the distance. The entire trail is flanked by wild berry bushes and beautiful vistas. If you don't want to get your legs scraped up, be sure to wear full-length pants. And, if you are going, please consider taking a machete to do some trail maintenance, as there is a lot of growth right into the trail that makes walking difficult.

As others have noted in the comments, the trail starts about 2 miles down a fire road, so if you have a high-clearance 4WD you can get right to the trail head, otherwise you will be parking at the turn around on NF-41.
(This was written 2018-08-07)

hiking
3 months ago

There is still a few wildflowers blooming. The view from the peak was not that good because of the smoke from the wildfires, but still a fantastic hike.

hiking
4 months ago

oh goodness do not take this trail lightly. at about 3 miles on the actual trail I started a chant of "a****** trail I will defeat yooooou"... but I only saw one person at the lake, otherwise, so undertraveled for such a lovely place.

The trail was in great shape and there's an awesome vantage point right before the Sister Rocks Trail intersection. There are three other outcroppings where you can get absolutely stunning views before arriving to the top of Observation Peak. There are bugs but be sure to bring bug spray and they won't be a problem. I will note that according to Google there are three routes to get to the trailhead. We took SR503 through Yacolt/Amboy to get out there but I would NOT recommend this route unless you have a high clearance vehicle and dont mind branches potentially scratching your vehicle. On the way out we took the forest road and followed it leading to Dry Creek Rd, Meadow Creek Rd, and eventually to Wind River Rd and took that down south to Carson. The flowers are still in bloom but it would be even better to go in late spring/early summer when they are all I'm full bloom!

Did this morning 7/15/18. It was super hot outside but this trail is almost all shaded it was felt great. Did get super busy by around 11am and BEWARE of all the potholes! No idea how none of the reviews I read didn’t mention this. Drove in my sedan and ate crap on a couple so I parked a mile away and walked the rest. And we had bees circling us as we were walking towards the start of the trail and a few on the hike that followed us for awhile so be careful if you are allergic. Getting to the falls was easy though. Took us 35 minutes.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked 192 with my walking club on Saturday. We went to the end of the trail and at the top we connected with the 132 Observation Peak trail & hiked down the mountain.... overall it was 18.23 miles & 3,444 elevation according to my fitbit. This is definitely a hard trail up & it looked like most hikers do this loop over a weekend. Was pretty moderate up till the 5 mile mark when you start climbing up the mountain on switchbacks. Most of us did great, I struggled on the incline but made the top. There were wild blueberries & orchids along the way & quite a few log bridges to cross over the creek. It’s beautiful & the waterfall platform was breathtaking.

Great hike. Super steep. Bring the poles! Leaving from Mineral Spring TH would cut out another mile or 2. I started from Trapper Creek and pegged it at 9.9 miles. Very rewarding.

Great hike with so many wildflowers! Our 10-year-old and 8-year-old did an amazing job and loved eating all the huckleberries, salmon berries and wild strawberries. Views of Mt Hood, Adams and Rainier, as well as Bonneville dam from the top. And we only passed 4 people on the entire trail; not bad for a Wednesday in June.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail head is a few hundred yards from where you park by a pedestrian bridge. No marking but it's the only major trail heading up hill so not hard to find. definitely agree with the hard rating. First mile and a half are straight up hill. you come out on a bench and get a break from the climb. Wind your way along the ridge top. In and out of the trees. One more short but steep assent and you're rewarded with a panaramic view of four mountains. Breadth taking. Wild flower we're beautiful. Don't underestimate the walk back down. Can be tricky.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful old growth with many saprophytic orchids out today. 5.9 miles to waterfall overlook. Nice campsites around 5 miles.

backpacking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike with a good level of ascent and descent to keep it interesting but not super challenging. There are a few possible small camping spots along the hike out there, but mostly they're all at or near the summit (which is where the best source of running water is anyway). The sunset at the summit was amazing!

The road out to the TH (NF-41) is a little rough. I was driving a Ford Eco-sport with 4WD and decent clearance and didn't have much of a problem, but a car with average clearance would probably not be able to make it. And 4WD probably isn't completely necessary to make it out there, but I would recommend it. The road conditions were also probably as good as it gets when we went, hadn't rained in quite a while so everything was dry, if it was muddy or snowy at all it would've been a lot more difficult. Also seems like NF-41 is a bit better than the NF-4109 road you take to get to Ed's Trail. Also, its already been said, but don't trust google maps to get you there. It kept trying to take us down the "jeep roads" which can hardly be called roads at all.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike, some edges are hazardous. Bring lots of water. Road towards hike has a lot of potholes and your vehicle needs about a 4-5in. of clearance to pass some of the bumps.

backpacking
5 months ago

Horrible. Hiked on May 18-19, 2018 It is very steep and viewless 99% of the time. The steep hike up was ok but the hike down, with a backpack and hiking poles, is scary. Each of us fell multiple times. There are a few good camp sites near the logging road at the top. No water so be prepared.
There are other, much nicer, hikes at Siouxon Falls. Unless you really love solitude and a challenge, avoid Horseshoe Ridge.

I’d definitely do it again but I would forget about Bluff Mountain and just summit Little Baldy and be happy!

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike! Well maintained trail, there is still snow covering the last .5 mile of the trail. Definitely one I want to do again and see the other trails in that area!

Had a great day hiking. It’s a slow incline on a horse trail and old roads. Once you hit the switch backs it gets harder but great views. 8.5 mile for the loop was long but good. Many other alternatives if you have time for 12 miles. Great views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams.

Hiked on 01/05/18. I love this hike. Getting up to the ridge from the Siouxon Trail is pretty challenging. The entire ridge is prime cougar habitat so be on the lookout especially around the many rock outcrops along the ridge. Many poops and paw prints in the snow were observed the day we went. Enjoy and always pack it out.

hiking
10 months ago

Couldn’t make it to the TH due to the terrible condition of the road. We bailed halfway to the “parking lot”. Too many potholes, ridges, and ditches for a standard passenger car. You will need AWD and a high clearance vehicle to make it all the way up! There was also snow in the higher elevations. Would try again with a better car in better weather.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

Nice trail mostly on logging roads. Last part is on a narrow unmaintained trail. A loop is possible, but those trails are not showing on All trails maps.

hiking
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Well marked trail that features rushing creek, several foot bridges, old growth trees, and a spectacular lake. Stunning fall foliage and even snow on the trail near the lake. Definitely is steep in places & this time of year it’s good to bring poles to help your balance with snow on the trail (was very very slick in a few spots) The lake took my breath away- absolutely beautiful with crystal clear water and snow covered peaks surrounding it. Eating our lunch on a log by the lake enjoying the sunshine -it started lightly snowing! Did not see one person on the way up...so peaceful & serene. My hiking buddy clocked this trail as being 11 miles out & back. Took us about 6 hours total. I agree with the “HARD” rating. Hiked this on October 13.

backpacking
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Hiked up on Sept 30 and had the trail to myself. I agree with the other reviews about the steeper incline. Set up camp at one of the 4-5 lakeside campsites. Pretty lake with mist rising from the water as clouds rolled over the mountain tops. Rained hard all night and next morning so it made for a soggy hike down the next morning. Camped the next day at one of the government mineral springs campsites and dried out by a campfire.

hiking
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hiked this on 09/13/17. Did it in the direction on the map.
You will clearly see the sign for the beginning of the Horseshoe ridge section and the Siouxon trail junction. I say this as there are several trails off to the right starting about 1/4 of a mile before the junction that lead you to believe you should take those. After the junction, you will ascend immediately and it is pretty challenging. If you are looking for views, this is not really the hike for you since there are only 2 clearings along the ridge line. There are accurate posted photos for these here. There are many rock outcrops in the forest along the ridge which are neat. The descent was a little steep in some areas, but the trail is very well defined the whole way. Once you get back to the Siouxon trail part of the loop you can easily cruise back to the trailhead stopping along the way to view many of the falls along this section. Enjoy!

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Definitely challenging for a shorter hike, absolutely beautiful summit. In early summer there was still snow banks near the top and the trail isn't easy to follow and it can be hard to find the trailhead

hiking
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Great hike! Mostly uphill with a few spots of level ground to catch your breath. There are several spots along the trail that you can veer off and take in the view. Mostly covered but the summit is open. Was able to see all 5 peaks on a clear July day. Take bug spray in the summer.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Could not find trailhead. 1 hrs on gravel pit roads you need a 4x4 and clearance for ruts. Suppose the trailhead is another 1 mile from where direction have you park which requires you to trek through a ravine or creek. Boo! Disappointed.

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