For this loop hike, we started at the Grouse Vista trailhead and took the Tarbell and Sturgeon Rock trails to Silver Star Mountain, then we completed the loop by returning via the Grouse Vista trail. This was my first time hiking here in the fall, and my first time on the Tarbell trail. I was hoping it would be less steep and rocky than Grouse Vista… but it wasn’t.
8.4 miles with 2,100 ft gain
The first part of the Tarbell trail was through forest, with a waterfall at the Rock Creek bridge crossing. After that, the trail goes through a clear cut area… for far too long. The trail is visible, but it’s not scenic and it’s not well maintained. Logging roads cross the “trail” in several places and it takes a bit of looking to find where the trail continues on the other side.
Once you are past the clear cut section, the trail is back in the forest. We took a side trail for a scramble attempt up the west end of Sturgeon Rock, but we couldn’t get all the way up so we continued on the main trail. The steepest part is between Sturgeon Rock and the junction with the Grouse Vista trail. It’s steep and rocky and seems to go on forever. But of course it doesn’t.
We continued to the summit of Silver Star and the views were stunning. It was a cold but clear day, with wind gusts up to 30 mph so we didn’t linger at the top.