Explore the most popular trails near Washougal with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Washougal, Washington Map
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MAKE. SURE. YOU. HAVE. A. DISCOVERY. PASS. prior to leaving for this hike. The road to the trailhead is unforgiving if you don’t have a 4x4 vehicle or maybe a Subaru or the like. Upon reaching the trailhead, we noticed the signs requiring a discovery pass, yet there was nowhere to obtain one locally, not even a fee drop box. Luckily, we had just enough cell phone service to obtain one online and leave the info on a piece of paper that we left on the dash. 3 vehicles had tickets on them when we got there. The trail itself is steep and very rocky, so much care must be taken not to break an ankle or fall. Make sure you bring a headlamp if you may end up doing part of it in the dark. The views are INCREDIBLE at the top. Well worth the hassle to get up there. I agree with the hard rating. I have done some tough hikes, and this was taxing, but awesome overall. DO IT.

ALERT!!!!! There is a Coyote on this trail just now it’s Ben hanging out for a week take caution!

I would call it more than moderate for some parts of it

A bit of a workout which was nice. Plenty of inclines, plenty of viewpoints, plenty of resting points. Lower trail is a bit rocky. Trail is well marked with signs everywhere, there's a parking lot with an out house. Enjoy!

Did this in the afternoon. There was a slight chance of rain but thankfully it held up. Sun shined down which made for some really nice picture opportunities with the fall colors. Even saw a big boar black bear over by Ed's trail from the summit, may want to carry bear spray just in case! If you want to catch the fall colors I'd get up there as soon as possible. Overall, it was a great trip only 2-4 other people that I saw on the trail.

Without a doubt one of the most breathtaking hikes I've ever done. The views from the top are absolutely incredible. Completed it with my wife and our friend yesterday morning, and Fall is in full swing. Gorgeous colors all around. Strenuous going up, and slightly harder (for me anyways) going down because of all the rocks. Slow and steady and it was fine.

Ok, let me start by saying this hike is hard but totally worth it. Absolutely amazing 360 degree views of 5 Cascade peaks. The views from the top make up for the steep, rocky, uneven trail you have to navigate to get there. Pick a clear sunny day, and I would take trekking poles and sturdy shoes for sure. If you have any balance, ankle or knee issues, this is not the trail for you. Also wanted to mention that according to the all trails map, there is a section of trail that goes around the east side of Pyramid Rock and connects back to the main trail. We tried to take this on our way back down to make a lollipop loop but the trail very quickly vanished into the brush. We bushwhacked for a while to see if the trail cleared out again but it disappeared and we had to backtrack. We didn’t investigate the trail from the south junction, only the north, but it’s definitely not a viable trail option. Keep this one as an out and back. :)

great views!

Such an amazing reward at the top of this steep and super rocky trail. It is incredibly uneven and can be slow going at spots but gorgeous and worth it.

Beautiful way to spend an afternoon in fall.

Amazing view!

hiking
1 month ago

I can only speak to the upper trail, because the lower trail was closed when I went due to the falcon mating season, but I have to say that at least the upper trail is way overrated in my opinion. It is dominated by new growth trees and weeds - some pretty wildflowers mixed in, but mostly just weeds. Compared to most other trails in The Gorge, this trail is sorely lacking in aesthetic beauty.

You would think the views would more than make up for that, but it takes a couple miles of mundane switchbacks just to get to the first viewpoint, which is just above and practically identical to the view you get from the Cape Horn Lookout, which you can reach by simply pulling your car over on Route 14. Along the way, you will be enjoying the company of many other hikers talking loudly, on their phones, with their dogs, and see several bags of dog poop left behind by careless owners, and rude joggers who expect you to step off the trail so they don’t have to break their stride.

Even though I always welcome the opportunity to go hiking and get a nice view of the gorge, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed and underwhelmed after this one. Perhaps we should just leave this area to the falcons. Do yourself a favor and just pull over the Cape Horn Lookout off 14 instead, and go one one of the countless other amazing hikes in the area that are more beautiful and less crowded.

Some good view points. Start with upper and then loop your way down. You will pass a waterfall, and some rocky steep sections. Last mile or so is on a old country road.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

We found the trail easy beside the parking lot. The trail to the upper loop was fun to hike and beautiful. There are a few spots to rest that allow views of the Columbia river. We pushed a bit further across a road to the official upper loop and it was stunning. It was worth every step. We did not complete the loop by going to the lower section. I read not great reviews of the long walk back. We went back the way we came and the whole hike was perfect. Probably 4 Miles or so. ( that’s a guess )

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

Alright view. Several viewpoints of the same thing.

VERY popular!

One of the best viewpoints around. Smoky time of year, but when we reached summit of Silver Star, we had clear views above the smoke layer of St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood, and a bit of Jefferson. Lots of trail offshoots - use the map. We extended our hike to include scramble up Sturgeon Rock (awesome) then a loop back via Tarbell Trail. Warning on Tarbell - new logging roads have been cut through trail...again, use map w/Phone/GPS and you’ll find trail. Also, after parking at Grouse Vista, trailhead starts *across* parking lot from pit toilet (not the other way, which is continuation of Tarbell).

hiking
2 months ago

The upper Cape Horn hike is great, not too difficult but also a good workout. Lower Cape Horn is ok, the rocky part is a tad tedious and the final portion which is about 1.5 miles of paved road is a slog.

Beautiful hike that’s not too crowded. We hiked it on a partly cloudy day and the views were still super pretty. If you don’t have an 4 wheel/AWD car I wouldn’t recommend it. I didn’t feel comfortable driving my car over the bridge at the bottom so we parked and hiked to the trailhead for extra 4 miles each way. Worth it though!

hiking
2 months ago

I really like all but 1 mile of this hike. The last mile for us was on a road and it was unclear if you walked on the road or if there was a trail we missed. Other than that last mile the hike is really pretty, seems like most folks do an out and back so after the viewpoint at 2ish miles there was hardly anyone out there.

Great spot, not crowded, a little too smokey for any views this time, but Ill be going back on a clear day!

Tougher than moderate and longer too. Views are incredible.

Instead of the TH marked here I came from the north, hitting the pct and made in with RT 5.2 miles or so. If you'd like details just message me.

trail running
2 months ago

Yes a bridge is out, currently the stream is a trickle and can be crossed super easy. I ran this and liked the view of St. Helens around 2miles in, you can also see Mt Hood on the trail up.

hiking
2 months ago

About 8 miles. Took us almost 3 hours. I’d say moderate is a good description if you are in shape. We started with the upper trail and did the loop. Glad it wasn’t any hotter or we would have really suffered. Not crowded. People were nice. I would not take small children or dogs. Lots of loose rocks and narrow passages.

still killer views even though we couldn't see the mountains this time through the smoke. one of my top favorites. this trail is hard on dog paws.

Nice trail! Beautiful look out!

hiking
2 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)

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