Silver Forest – Emmons Vista Trail

Greenwater, Washington

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This route offers a perfect chance to see and experience a “silver forest” and to provide kids a learning experience as well. These stands of bright white trees can be found throughout the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the everpresent threat of wildfire. The silver forests are the standing skeletons of trees that were lashed by fast-moving, intensely hot forest fires. When the fires are hot enough and moving fast enough, they kill the trees and scorch many of the limbs and bark off but don’t devour the entire trunk. As a result, entire forests are left standing, though they are dead and stripped of their “skin.” Within a couple of years, the standing trunks are bleached white by exposure to the sun and wind, resulting in a shadowy stand of gray ghosts: the silver forest. When one of these shining woods is seen against a backdrop of emerald green meadows, brilliant blue skies, and a massive white mountain, the effect is amazing. You’d never think a dead forest could look so beautiful and vibrant. But that’s just what you’ll find here.
Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park

by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer (The Mountaineers Books)

This route offers a perfect chance to see and experience a “silver forest” and to provide kids a learning experience as well. These stands of bright white trees can be found throughout the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the everpresent threat of wildfire. The silver forests are the standing skeletons of trees that were lashed by fast-moving, intensely hot forest fires. When the fires are hot enough and moving fast enough, they kill the trees and scorch many of the limbs and bark off but don’t devour the entire trunk.

As a result, entire forests are left standing, though they are dead and stripped of their “skin.” Within a couple of years, the standing trunks are bleached white by exposure to the sun and wind, resulting in a shadowy stand of gray ghosts: the silver forest. When one of these shining woods is seen against a backdrop of emerald green meadows, brilliant blue skies, and a massive white mountain, the effect is amazing. You’d never think a dead forest could look so beautiful and vibrant. But that’s just what you’ll find here.

©  Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Greenwater
Distance: 2.4
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Season: July–Oct
Trailhead Elevation: 6,400 feet
Top Elevation: 6,400 feet
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Local Contacts: Sunrise Ranger Station
Local Maps: Green Trails Mount Rainier East, No. 270
Driving Directions: Directions to Silver Forest – Emmons Vista Trail

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Apr 2018