Stairway to the Stars Trail

Yacolt, Washington

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The road to this trailhead is atrocious; the only justification for forcing the car upward is that you avoid having to walk it, and that once reached, the trail to the site of an old lookout on Silver Star Mountain is a delight. Parkland extends in every direction, with the white torches of beargrass dominant in May and June. Children will want to know what happened to the forest that used to stand here. A few ancient gray snags hint at a long-ago disaster. The truth is that this is what remains of the famous Yacolt Burn of 1902, the largest and most destructive forest fire in state history. Two hundred thirty-eight thousand acres of forest were destroyed before rains finally contained the fire. “Why haven’t the trees come back?” the kids ask. The soil still isn’t ready for them, according to foresters who make studies of these beautiful meadows. But almost a century after the holocaust, kids can fly kites and run and play in the flowery meadows that are the legacy of the Yacolt Burn.
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)

The road to this trailhead is atrocious; the only justification for forcing the car upward is that you avoid having to walk it, and that once reached, the trail to the site of an old lookout on Silver Star Mountain is a delight. Parkland extends in every direction, with the white torches of beargrass dominant in May and June. Children will want to know what happened to the forest that used to stand here. A few ancient gray snags hint at a long-ago disaster.

The truth is that this is what remains of the famous Yacolt Burn of 1902, the largest and most destructive forest fire in state history. Two hundred thirty-eight thousand acres of forest were destroyed before rains finally contained the fire. “Why haven’t the trees come back?” the kids ask. The soil still isn’t ready for them, according to foresters who make studies of these beautiful meadows. But almost a century after the holocaust, kids can fly kites and run and play in the flowery meadows that are the legacy of the Yacolt Burn.

©  Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Yacolt
Distance: 5
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike
Season: June to October
Trailhead Elevation: 3,200 feet
Top Elevation: 4,400 feet
Local Contacts: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Local Maps: Green Trails No. 396 Lookout Mountain, No. 428 Bridal Veil; USFS Gifford Pinchot
Driving Directions: Directions to Stairway to the Stars Trail

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Apr 2018