Mount Defiance Trail

HARD 39 reviews

Mount Defiance Trail is a 10.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cascade Locks, OR that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.4 miles 4957 feet Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

rocky

Hike to the highest point of the Columbia Gorge with amazing views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens, and Mt. Adams Many consider this hike Oregon's hardest trail. As you climb this six million year old shield volcano, you will find breathtaking views of the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St Helens. While the top is marred by a bunch of communication equipment, you will still find one of the best views of Mt Hood.

hiking
2 days ago

I've done this trail twice so far, once as as part of the triple D challenge where you complete Dog Mountain, Mt Defiance, and Devils Rest all in the same day. The first time I did Defiance I was a little bit slower since I was with a group and I didn't know the trail. I completed the trail in 4:16 minutes including rest. Yesterday I went back solo and did the Starvation Ridge up then looped back the other way in 3:16 total from parking lot to parking lot. I went light with just a liter of water, no poles, and a light backpack with food and a layer of clothes. Up the Starvation Ridge was a challenge on your legs. Bring a map or GPS or you can go on the wrong trail at the junctions. I just use the AllTrails apps on my phone and it works well. After Defiance I headed off to Dog Mountain to try and do that twice. Unfortunately I only completed Dog once in 1:28 then the sun went down and I had forgotten my headlamps at home. On my second attempt of Dog I only made it 1/3 of the way up before having to turn back around because darkness was approaching. Defiance definitely tired my legs out and it will do the same to yours if you push it. Defiance is a beautiful challenge that I will bring my wife with me once she gets a few go on Dog Mountain. This is a great training mountain before climbing other big mountains. I used about 1/2 of my liter of water round trip. I recommend 2L of water for average hiker. I also would plan on 5-6 hours on the mountain for an average hiker. If you start past noon, have headlamps in your backpack just in case. Enjoy the view at the top of Mt Hood and other places below. I know the cellular towers are not pretty compared to nature but the good news is you get very good cellular reception at the top. If you have legs left, go to Hood River and grab some food, my favorite is a Big Mac meal with large coke, then pay $1 to cross the bridge over and attack Dog Mountain. Do the Double D: Defiance and Dog every time you do Defiance and you will feet great! Be happy and be safe on the trails.

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked defiance with my buddy yesterday, Sept 15th, 2016. Beautiful weather, and cloudless skies. Did this with a 25 lbs pack, no poles, or any other assisting equipment. You'll savor the brief flat zones you get after the 3000' mark. At 4.25 miles you hit the wilderness signed showing 3,850' elevation, only a couple hundred feet until the open rock field that has some stunning views. I tore my ACL about 8 years ago and haven't had surgery so the way down realllllllllllly can hurt the knees, and due to the steepness a light jog may be better in some areas if you have no poles. Definitely a butt kicker, and the bees at towards the top seem to follow you and are attracted to bright colors (ex: my bright blue mt hardware pack, and the red trim on my buddy's) My friend and I are doing St Helens Oct 6th so wanted to hike this to prepare and from what I read this is the hike to do. If you keep your awareness, there are some breathtaking sights of several of the beautiful mountains the nw has to offer. Do not go unless you have a good amount of water and protein and can handle the steepness. Poles recommended (although again, my friend and I did not use any) Have fun with the monster!

hiking
1 month ago

Closed until September 2016 as is Starvation Ridge

hiking
2 months ago

Challenging and a bit rough on the knees on the way down. I couldn't have done this without poles! Pretty fun though!

hiking
2 months ago

This is one of the toughest hikes I have completed. went on a Saturday and hardly another soul around. the trail map states 11.1 mile, my fitbit claimed 17! I felt like it was 17 lol. good shoes are a must, trekking poles would be very helpful!! extremely steep climb, and the descent offers no relief as its just as tough. the beautiful views are well worth the soreness you'll feel the next day.

hiking
2 months ago

Closed M-F. Only open on weekends and holidays until Aug 2016. Trail head is down to the right of the Parking lot. Didn't get to hike this one because we didn't know it was closed. Not a lot of signage letting you know.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Fantastic physical and mental test. Toughest hike I've done, but amazing at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Great conditioning hike taking the Defiance trail up and the Starvation Ridge trail down. I took up a 35lb pack just to make it a little more fun. Coming down Starvation is fun and can run down most of it, if you still have the energy. You have to make it all the way to the top and around the corner to get a great view of Hood. On the way back down you can hit up the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

Mt. Defiance was am incredible hike! It took about 6 1/2 with a break at the top and my legs were pretty dead, but the view and the experience were well worth it! I highly recommend this hike! I also recommend taking Defiance Trail up and Starvation Ridge Trail down. :)

4 months ago

My legs are dead. But it was beautiful took me 6 hours

4 months ago

2 hr 28 min to the top 1 hr 45 min down its long and kinda steep don't let the comments bug you if you can hike Dog or Ruckle Ridge with little problem you'll be just fine at least Hike Nesmith Point its like 800 ' shorter but its a tad steeper and a longer round trip but not very rewarding either but will help you hike Mt. Defiance with ease

5 months ago

Mount Defiance and Dog Mountain in Washington one day with snow!

This is a awesome hike to test yourself on. some spot 700 EG in a quarter mile!

hiking
10 months ago

It about killed my hiking friend John but later he found out he had a clogged artery so now he is good and had gone on to do Saint Helens.
I myself enjoyed the adversity and will do it again for I do Hood.

hiking
1 year ago

Tough hike for this old dude, but i have to say i got a tremendous amount of satisfaction conquering this beast. Allocate more time than you anticipate. The trek down is as bad (if not worse) than the 5k climb.

1 year ago

1 year ago

The first part of the hike you are walking along the freeway. Then the switchbacks start up the mountain, but up the face that is closest to the freeway. Guess what you hear for the next hour? Cars and trucks. The trail gets much better once up the first ridge, and it is a good challenging incline. The top is nothing really spectacular the views of the other mountains are the best part, so don't go on anything but a bluebird day. The lake at the top is small, shallow, and green with algae. I don't like walking under power lines or along freeways, so I wouldn't recommend this hike. There are better in the area.

hiking
1 year ago

We are preparing to hike Half Dome in Yosemite....so this hike was GREAT training for that. It is a very strenuous hike, be sure and take about 3 liters of water on a warm day. Also, packing hiking sticks would be a good idea. I picked up a tree limb and used for a hiking stick for the trek down as it can be a bit treacherous. Harder coming down it all, than going up it. Also, plan to take a decent amount of food with you for energy. Definitely great views from the top, this took us 10 hours. Longer than most people who have done the trail, but, we had several rest periods. The view on the cliff at about 5 miles in up awesome, as you can see several of the mountains from there on a clear day. We had a GPS with us tracking our hike and to the top it actually said it was more than 6 miles. So, be prepared for that...as a lot of websites on this trail say 4-5 miles up....awesome trek, but pretty tough...not sure I will do this one again unless I am training for something.

1 year ago

Obviously I am out of shape. This hike kicked my butt - that's good, right? Next time I'll be in better shape.

hiking
1 year ago

This was one of the most difficult hikes in the Gorge. I highly recommend that you either go up and back down Mt. Defiance only. If you are going to do Starvation Ridge, it's best to go up and not down. It is very steep, loose gravel and narrow.
It's a grueling hike no matter, but it is definately a great training ground for Mt. St. Helens.