Trail #180E Indian Pits

Area Status: Open

The trail leaves Silver Star Trail #180 at 2 miles from the Silver Star Trailhead on Forest Road 4109. It descends steeply through beargrass and huckleberries for 0.5 mile and then climbs the ridge to the site of the Indian Pits. The trail ends 0.5 mile beyond the Indian Pits.

Please do not disturb any cultural or archaeological features in this area.

Archaeologists have three theories regarding the Indian Pits. One is that young Native Americans, during their spirit quest, built the pits. Seeking a spiritual vision, they would fast and sit isolated in the pits for days. Another theory is that the pits were used as hunting blinds. Until the 20th century, the Silver Star area was home to mountain sheep and goats. Both species used talus slopes to escape natural predators such as cougars or wolves. Native American hunters may have hidden in the pits waiting to ambush sheep or goats forced upslope by other hunters located in the brush and timber below. The third theory is that the pits were used as food storage areas. Similar features are commonly found throughout the Columbia River Gorge.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 03/19/2024: Indian Pits Trail is open.
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Yacolt, WA; Vancouver, WA
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Administrative Headquarters  (360) 449-7800

General Information

Trail can be accessed from Silver Star Trail #180 (Forest Road 4109) or Tarbell Trail.


Day Hiking

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
1.0 miles

  Elevation : 
3800' - 4300'