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Bluff Mountain

Southwest Washington > Lewis River Region
45.7423, -122.1910 Map & Directions
Length
12.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
890 feet
Highest Point
4390 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate/Hard
Bluff Mt. Trail in November. Photo by R.Ojerio. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Ridges/passes
  • Summits
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

Hiking across bare talus slopes, past rocky outcrops and fields of wildflowers while admiring sweeping vistas you would think you're at 7,000 feet. But the alpine-like setting at this mid-elevation is the result of period of wildfires that swept the area in the early 1900's. Continue reading

Rating
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Hiking Bluff Mountain

The Bluff Mountain Trail (#172) starts out as an old roadbed for about three miles then continues as single-track, dipping into a saddle before climbing the ridge. It then follows the ridge skirting Bluff Mountain and Little Baldy on its way to Silver Star Mountain. Along the way the route passes numerous rocky outcrops and open talus slopes where the rocky subsoil and repeated fires since the Yacolt Burn of 1902 have limited forest regeneration. Approximately five miles from the trailhead, continue another 0.8 miles past the junction with the Starway Trail (#172) to an unmarked junction. Turn left and ascend a short trail that joins an old road bed leading to the Silver Star Mountain summit.

Aside from the scenic vistas of Portland, the Columbia River and Mount Hood, the route is also decorated with an abundance of wildflowers many of which linger into the fall. For the trail maintenance aficionado, you’ll notice some impressive trail building through the talus fields and a few fine rock retaining walls. Lastly, if you forgot your lunch, you’ll be able to feast on huckleberries if the season is right.

For a more adventurous loop, consider linking the Starway Trail #175, Bluff Mountain Trail #172 and FS Road 41 in a counterclockwise loop. With two cars you can organize a shuttle to avoid walking on the road. Or if you want to save gas, bring a mountain bike and park your car at the Bluff Mountain Trailhead then ride to the Starway Trailhead to start your hike ending up back at your car at the end of the loop. Just don’t forget to pick up your bicycle on the way home!.

The Bluff Mountain Trail is part of the Chinook Trail, a proposed 300 mile, bi-state loop circling the rim of the Columbia River Gorge. From Bluff Mountain, the proposed connection will one day link to Three Corner Rock to the east. To the west, the Chinook Trail route follow's Ed's Trail from Silver Star's summit to the Klochman Butte Trail.

WTA worked here in 2014 and 2012!

Hike Description Written by
Ryan Ojerio, WTA Staff

Bluff Mountain

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.7423, -122.1910 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Note that sections of the gravel road beyond Sunset Campground may have large pot holes and graded drain dips. Cars with low-clearance may not be suitable for this drive.

From Vancouver, take Highway 503 north to Battleground. Continue north on 503 (NE Lewisville Hwy) for 5.6 miles. Turn right (east) onto NE 152 Ave./Rock Creek Rd. Continue as the road curves south then east and becomes Lucia Falls Rd. After 8.6 miles, turn right on Sunset Falls Rd. Go 7.3 miles on Sunset Falls Rd to Sunset Campground. Turn right and cross the East Fork Lewis River on FS Road 41. Stay on FS 41 for approximately 9 miles to a large parking area atop McKinley Ridge.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Southwest Washington > Lewis River Region

Bluff Mountain (#172)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Greet Trails 396 Lookout Mt.

Green Trails 428 Bridal Veil

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Bluff Mountain

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