Greg and I braved the godawful Road 4109 to access the north trailhead on Silver Star Mountain on July 9. We’re glad we did, but it’s the last time we’ll take our car on that road. More on that at the end of the post.
We did our usual hike: follow the old road up for a mile (the hiking trail that parallels it for a short bit isn’t nearly as scenic) then pick up Ed’s Trail. The flowers were totally glorious:
The views weren’t too shabby:
Ed’s Trail connects back up with the old road, which we followed to the summit:
Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier:
The Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams:
Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters:
Smoke from the Dry Creek Fire near Trout Lake:
The hike back down via the old road was spectacular, with lots of wildflowers:
One last view of Mt. Hood before the trail drops down to the trailhead:
Here is a video of the hike:
You’ll see at the very end of that video some footage we took driving back down Road 4109. This road has always been awful, but it’s gotten really bad. High clearance vehicles are required, preferably AWD/4WD for some steep sections where it’s hard to get traction when going so slow. My theory is that the Forest Service deliberately doesn’t maintain this road in order to keep the crowds down and protect the fragile meadows, but I don’t know if that’s true. Next year we’ll start from the Grouse Vista Trailhead on the other side of the mountain. It means a MUCH longer hike to get to the wildflowers, but at least the drive will be easier.