Silver Star Mountain (BC)

July 28, 2018

1890m

Vernon, BC

Silver Star Mountain near Vernon of central British Columbia boasts one of the major ski resorts in Okanagan Valley and in the summer time, this resort still runs but for downhill biking. Other than these activities I don’t see any other reason to come up here, although there is one other reason that is “peak-bagging”… This peak is actually better known among American peak-baggers because its significant prominence. It’s a P4K “peak with 4000 feet of prominence” so not quite an “ultra”, but close enough. The ascent is very easy – just over 250 m elevation gain on either trails or grass slopes. The drive up to the resort has dispatched at least 80% of the elevation gain.

I had meant to hike up this summit for a couple years but every time I drove through the Okanagan I either had a lack of motivation, or some very smoky or cloudy skies. I wanted to get up there with at least some views. On the way back from Bryce Center I had the entire afternoon ahead of schedule and meanwhile the sky was not super smoky. The temperature was hot though – over 34 degrees in Vernon but I figured this would be as good as it could get. I pulled over and downloaded some maps to my Gaia GPS app and made a spontaneous decision to head down Highway 97 and then Silver Star Road. To my great surprise this is actually a paved road all the way to the resort. I thought it would for sure be gravel… Parking in the resort was a problem but I did find a secret spot.

Silver Star Mountain hiking near Vernon, BC

I had no idea where exactly to go but among the biking trails and the grassy clear-cuts all I needed was going up. I didn’t even bother to carry a backpack because of the low elevation gain, despite the hot temperature. I figured I could push hard for two hours without drinking anything and I was correct. I didn’t take me that long to reach the summit as I did manage to link up some biking trails. The only mistake I made was not applying mosquito repellent. They were brutal… The summit is broad and ugly with lots of machines, constructions and gondola stations…

This is roughly where I parked, right beside a private building

Initially I hiked up this dirt road but soon bailed

The idea was to link up these biking trails but I was a bit scared of the bikers

Partway up, looking down showing the typical scenery

Someone else’s taking a faster way to the top….

Almost at the summit now. The view is far reaching not just hills

Me on the summit of Silver Star Mountain

Not doing any lingering I immediately started the descent. I decided to not retrace my route as I spotted a broad “gully” that went more-or-less straight down towards where I parked. This gully worked out pretty nicely except for a little bit of bushwhacking on tall grass. Lower down I went skier’s left into the woods and linked up a “Milky Way Trail” that brought me right back to the truck.

A view at the resort village on descent

For a brief while I was in the forest

Out onto open grassy slopes again.

This is Milky Way Trail.

Again not doing a lot of lingering I immediately started the engine and drove down the road. I thought about hiking up something else but decided to save them for later use. I drove down Highway 97 into Kelowna for a well-deserved dinner in Moxie’s before pushing all the way back home in a single shot.