Take a short, rugged trek to a forested summit. Along the way, you'll enjoy beargrass in spring, get some good views of the Silver Star Scenic Area, but the best thing about this hike is the workout.
From the trailhead, set off to the southwest (most hikers here will be northeast-bound, heading to Silver Star via the Grouse Vista Trail). Pass the privy at the trail and head uphill (straight the ridge), climbing up a flank of Larch Mountain. The forest around you is nice enough, and quiet, but the grown-up trees do restrict views. After a mile of climbing, arrive at a small saddle, where there’s evidence of a descending trail to your right having been closed off. Ignore that route and stay straight ahead; in just a few hundred feet, bear right at another fork, heading around the base of a small knoll.
There’s evidence that this reroute is relatively new, and it’s quite an improvement over the straight-up route in terms of trail sustainability. Follow this now-more-gently graded trail as it parallels Grouse Creek. At 1.2 miles, a bridge crosses Grouse Creek.
Crossing Ground Creek, continue on through mature forest. Alder begins to overtake as the dominant tree species here, just before you pop out onto another shoulder of Larch Mountain for the best views of the hike.
Here, across the way you can see Silver Star Mountain and sometimes Mount St. Helens. There’s not a great place to sit and enjoy a snack though, so continue to the summit, following the trail for 0.7 miles to a junction. Bear left at this junction and continue another half-mile to arrive at the summit of Larch Mountain.
It may be a little dismaying to be greeted at the summit by a road and several communication towers, but the road is gated at its base, so you're unlikely to have company in cars. Ignore the towers too, and enjoy views south to the urban centers of Portland and Vancover by walking west a little ways.