Photos of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Camping Trails

hiking
3 days ago

Summited 10/12/19. Went Mt Defiance Trail (follow the paved trail along the highway that eventually turns left to the Hole in the Wall Waterfall) --> summit --> back down Starvation Ridge Trail (which is currently CLOSED so when you hit the junction on the way down follow Mt Defiance BACK and finish the same way you started - which adds some mileage - because you will end up at a dead end like I did if you don't pay attention). Starts out easy and flat for a little then with some mild elevation gain. Once the switchbacks start, it gets pretty steep for quite some time. Eventually you'll hit a straightforward part of the trail that gives you some time to catch your breath.... and then it starts shooting back upward. At around 3k? 3.5k? elevation, there is some snow as of right now. Never more than a few inches and mostly with dirt poking through but there are a few icy areas so watch your step. Once you hit the junction between mount defiance and mitchell point, you'll be heading up some rocks. About .25 miles away from there is a temporary sign: you can go left to the slightly shorter way (through the forest and past the service road) or to the slightly longer/more scenic route. You're not too much further from the top here. When you go back down from the summit, to go back down the slightly shorter way, turn right into the forest at the "HIGH VOLTAGE" sign (reassuring, right?). Follow the Mitchell Pt Trail/Warren Lake signs and then eventually turn back down onto Starvation Ridge Trail... just make sure to turn back onto the Mt Defiance Trail when you see a sign for it :)! It took me about 6.5 hours (with getting a little lost. About 7 hours with breaks). Clocked ~14 miles with a little over 5000 ft elev gain. Parking lot was empty @7:30 am and full when I left @2:30 pm (though with some side parking avail). Didn't see that many people on the trail as I was going and had the summit (and radio towers) to myself. View was great but the trail was difficult. Can definitely get similar views for less work but great for training and also getting to say you were at the the highest point of the Gorge!

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