Sunday, September 10, 2023

Silver Star, How I've Missed You!

Next on the "Linda's summer wildflower tour 2023" is a recap of a most excellent trek I did up to SW Washington's Silver Star Mountain.  This is an annual hike that I usually try to time for Father's day because that's normally peak wildflower bloom.  Except for this year - our wet, cold spring delayed everything, so I didn't get out on this trail until the second week of July.

Tiger lily

However, even late as it was, I still managed to miss peak bloom by a week or so.  The lupine was already done, the Indian paintbrush on its way out, and the beargrass blooms were long gone.

Nice patch of tiger lilies

But after missing most of my favorite summer hikes for two consecutive years, I was overjoyed to be back on this trail, peak bloom or not!

Flower-lined trail

I started out from the Grouse Vista Trailhead to cloudy skies and cool temperatures.  The first mile or so climbed steeply up an extremely rocky trail so I was thankful for the respite.

Indian paintbrush

After getting through the steep rocky part, things leveled out and the forest cleared.  The views were nice - one could see forests and mountains for quite a ways.  And there were still quite a few wildflowers blooming next to the trail.

Old stump surrounded by wildflowers

Enjoying the views and flowers, I strolled through this portion of the trail until the forest closed in once again, and my path steepened up.

Prominent rock outcrop

I'd nearly forgotten what a tough climb it is to reach the top of Silver Star Mountain.  But remembering the spectacular views were worth it, I buckled down and kept going.

Silver Star summit

Soon I reached the trail junction, marked by a huge pile of rocks.  From here, it was a half mile slog to reach the summit proper.  

View from the top

But finally reaching the top, I was rewarded by awesome views of the surrounding green hills.  Usually four of the Cascade peaks are also visible, but today a low cloud bank hid them all.  And there weren't many wildflowers blooming.  It appeared I'd missed the peak.

Nice light on nearby hills

There were two other people already on the summit, but both of them left soon after my arrival.  So I had the place to myself for nearly all of the 15 minute break I took.

Flowers lined the old road to Ed's trail

Heading back down to the rock cairn junction, I then took a turn in the opposite direction of my approach.  When hiking at Silver Star, I always include a side loop on Ed's Trail.  Usually you'll find the highest wildflower concentration here.

These yellow butterflies were going after the yellow flowers

Today was no different.  Despite missing the wildflowers at their height, there was still enough color to entice me to get out my camera.

Another butterfly species

This trail follows an old gravel road across an open ridgetop.  Flowers bloom here in abundance all summer long.  My path was lined with occasional patches of bright orange Indian paintbrush.

One more yellow butterfly

There were also lots of yellow wildflowers blooming, a species which I couldn't identify.  But, oh did the butterflies love them!

I loved these bright blue butterflies

Purple color spot between the rocks

I followed the old road steadily downhill until it intersected with Ed's Trail proper.  I took a quick lunch break at this junction, readying myself to regain all the elevation I'd just lost.

Sweeping view from the road

After hiking down the wide gravel road it's always a shock to turn onto Ed's Trail.  A narrow, dirt path that winds uphill through thick underbrush, it's occasionally a bit sketchy.  Sometimes perched on the side of a steep slope, and in a couple places you need to use your hands to climb a short distance up a rock face.

A few wild iris were still in bloom

But, oh were there wildflowers!  The higher I climbed, the better the show got.

Fantastic clouds today!

And the cloud bank that had hindered my mountain views began breaking up into smaller, fluffier specimens.  They were quite pretty, and made great accompaniments to my landscape shots.

Wildflower and amazing sky

Ed's trail began with wildflowers

Finally, rounding a corner I came upon a huge meadow blazing with color.  Yellow, white and orange wildflowers covered an entire slope.

This slope was thick with colorful wildflowers

Oh it was magnificent!  All forward progress ground to a screeching halt.

The best wildflower display of the entire hike

Lucky for me, I hadn't entirely missed out on the yearly wildflower bloom.

A close up of the flowers

The rest of the trek on Ed's trail was a uphill slog, with a little bit of scrambling thrown in just to make things interesting.  The trail also passed through an interesting rock arch that always makes a great photo op.

Interesting rock outcrop

Usually super popular, especially when the wildflowers are in bloom, I didn't see a single soul the entire time I was on Ed's trail.  That's a first!

Looking back from where I was

Ed's trail eventually connected back to the huge rock cairn intersection.  From here, it was a 3-mile hike retracing my steps, back to the trailhead.

A bit of pink 

The famous rock arch

I returned to my car with a camera full of images and a big smile on my face.  It was wonderful to be back on another of my favorite summer wildflower trails.  Silver Star Mountain, I've missed you!


  1. A marvellous array of flowers even if you did miss some of the peak bloom.

  2. I'd say it was well worth the trip--- about 10 times over! Great pictures.

  3. ...Mother Nature is quite a gardener.

  4. What lovely views, those rock formations are wonderful too!

  5. Beautiful views, flowers and butterflies. A wonderful hike and post. Your photos are beautiful too. Take care, have a great day and a happy week ahead!

  6. Nature saved some of her best for you. Fantastic photos, Linda.

  7. You were certainly on top of a magical, floral world on Ed's Trail, both physically and figurally. I love the change in the clouds. Stunning.

  8. What a gorgeous hike! Love those wildflowers, and that's an awesome arch!!

  9. What a pretty arch...It looks would make me nervous! You found some beautiful views and flowers!

  10. That's a spectacular coastline and you did justice to show it's beauty.


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