Steep is the name of Starway's game. You'll reach the summit in just 1.5 miles, but it's a grueling 3000 feet of elevation to get there. Along the way, the trail (which is hard to find at times) is littered with wildflowers in the spring and huckleberries in the fall. Once you arrive at the top, enjoy a 360-degree view that includes Mounts Adams, St. Helens, Hood, Jefferson, and Rainier, as well as nearby Silver Star Mountain. On particularly clear days, you may even see the peaks of the Oregon Coast Range.
The primitive Starway trail was a slap dash job by its creator. The apocryphal tale is that after finding a mining claim back in the hills, the Starway trail's creator built a fast path up and over the nearest mountain in order to access it. As a result, the trail follows old road beds and the fall line of the hill in some sections, so it is one of the steepest ones you'll find in the state of Washington.
Add to this the fact that most of the roads accessing the trailhead have been severely degraded, and you have a recipe for an extremely overgrown, hard-to-follow trail. Carry a good map when you visit this area, and expect some route-finding along the way. All those obstacles to access mean you're likely to find solitude here, and the views are some of the best in the area Bring your camera, along with your map and compass.
From the trailhead, you'll start by heading downhill (adding to your total uphill gain over the short mileage to the high point) to Copper Creek where a bridge spans the stream. Cross the bridge and turn upstream. One-quarter mile past the bridge, the Starway Trail leaves the old roadbed and begins climbing along another roadbed. Follow this trail up to a ridge crest above the end of the road.
Here the trail vanishes, and you'll need to rely on flagging or route-finding to achieve the summit. Just before reaching the summit, the trail comes back into view, becoming a graveled path that winds around the east side of the high point (3,977 feet). After only a mile and a half of hiking, you're nearly 3,000 feet above the trailhead. If you feel like continuing on, another
Past the high point, the trail drops quickly through alternating huckleberry and beargrass-full meadows and forest to a saddle, then ascends to intersect the Bluff Mountain Trail 172 just east of Silver Star Mountain.
EXTENDING YOUR TRIP: From the intersection with Bluff Mountain, you can turn left and follow the ridgeline along the Bluff Mountain Trail 2.5 miles to the Bluff Mountain summit, or turn right and bag Silver Star in just another 1.05 miles.
- 11.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 2,377 feet
- Highest Point
- 3,977 feet
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 45.7873, -122.2224 Open in Google Maps