A Halloween Pilgrimage to Silver Star Mountain

Silver Star Mountain is easily visible from much of the Portland and Vancouver area, and is located about 28 crow-flying miles northeast of home. The upper mountain is mostly bare due to the century-old Yacolt forest fire, providing an uncommon “alpine” area at 4,300 feet.

In late October I began the hike from Grouse Vista. The weather was unusually warm with crystal blue skies.

After a detour to a row of Indian pits with views seemingly forever, I did the final steep one-mile climb to the summit of Silver Star. The crown jewels of the mid-Cascades were sparkling in the sunshine, showing off their fresh coats of snow.  

On a personal note, we have placed a potion of the ashes of my father, mother and only niece on Silver Star’s summit over the years. Sitting on the summit gave me an opportunity to honor their memories.

They would have enjoyed the location. The views are open and far-reaching. Deer are often nearby, as are black bears when the huckleberries ripen in the autumn. Less than one mile away are the Indian pits used for religious ceremonies in the long past.

Hikers on Silver Star Mountain

View from one of the Indian pits

Mt. Hood

Rock Creek Falls

Mt. St. Helens (Noble Firs are the only trees able to grow in the area)

Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier

Steep trail leaving the Indian pits area

Mt. Hood from one of the Indian pits

Summit of Silver Star Mountain (Mt. Rainier in background)



Categories: Columbia River Gorge Hikes, Personal ReflectionsTags: , ,


  1. John, how large are the Indian pits? How can I find more info about them, if you know? Very interesting. Sandy Covey

    • They are about four feet deep. There are seven or eight pits near Silver Star, but they are also relatively common in exposed places in the Columbia River Gorge. They always have spectacular views, and are thought to have been built by young male tribal members for vision quests while they fasted.

  2. We too love Silver Star!! An honored final resting place…

  3. John, lovely photos all. You are so fortunate to live close to such wonderful hiking areas.

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