Mount Defiance Trail is a 12.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Cascade Locks, Oregon that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 5,072 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

partially paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

washed out

Starvation Ridge Cut-off trail #1414B, managed by Oregon State Parks, is closed due to a washout on the trail. Starvation Ridge Trail 414 is still accessible via Mt. Defiance Trail #413. 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
rocky
scramble
11 days ago

What an ass-kicking trail. The climb up is what you'd expect from a trail named Mount Defiance, but the harder the climb the better the views! Pretty windy and chilly at the summit at least with overcast. If you've got the time go out onto some of the rocky outlooks. You can climb out a ways and get some spectacular views. When the clouds did break letting us see to the east you could see past the Dalles and Coyote Wall. Be careful on the way down! Not a big trekking pole guy but they are quite handy. The trail is very dry making it slippery as the soil and rock can slide from underneath you. Also, some of the edges of the trail are blown out so watch your step. Enjoy and be sure to bring your hiking game. Finished on 7/6/19

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
washed out
11 days ago

This is an epic hike. There are spectacular views in many locations and there are some really challenging sections that are steep and difficult. The change in vegetation with altitude is great and the burn scars on trees in some sections underscores the devastating effects of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. The views from above the Columbia Gorge are phenomenal. Lunch at Warren Lake is a treat too. We only saw 8 other hikers/runners all day. We were told it was easier to ascend the West side and descend on the East. I agree with this as there is a great deal of loose rock on the west side that could create dangerous footing on decent, while there's only a little on the east side and we still had some ankle issues from slipping on gravel. We hiked this as a training hike for a longer hike in a few weeks, we had fully loaded multiday packs and we had a novice in our group, it took us about 8 hours to do the loop. I would recommend this hike for serious hikers who are experienced and sure-footed. Trekking poles are a big help as is 3-4 liters of water per hiker.

hiking
17 days ago

TOUGH HIKE BUT you earn bragging rights after this one! Amazing views at (almost) summit, thru the harder route. We did summit— warred lake— starvation ridge— mt defiance junction— parking lot and logged in just over 16 miles! Starvation ridge cutoff is closed. No snow. Pants and hiking poles are a must, imho. Pants because of the overgrown trail at starvation ridge and poles to help w the steep declines! So glad I did this One! Happy trails!

hiking
25 days ago

One of the more difficult hikes/runs I have done in the gorge. At the top turn right and take the "more scenic" option. The "easier" way was not that much easier and hides the beautiful views!!!

hiking
rocky
25 days ago

Tough climb! Cool day so that was helpful! On the return down Mt. Defiance trail I slipped on loose rocks and my left foot went directly under my left leg! I’m a second like a hurdlers pose. I sprained my left ankle and strained my left quad! Crazy pain, walked out though the remaining 2-3 miles thankfully! Other than that it was an awesome day, lovely flowers and some epic views along the way! Happy trails ! Used this as a training hike for my section hike of the JMT in August :)

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was challenging but doable. There was no snow and the waterfall and lake views were beautiful. My gps had the mileage at about 13.5 miles.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

I would recommend this trail too anyone looking for an all out workout. it's intense! I thoroughly enjoyed the varying different types of terrain though. Part of the trail is thick, wooded and rocky - part of the trail is rock and part is burned out and low vegetation is growing back. The only part I didn't care for is the steep gravel on about three parts of the trail. You can get through it though and the scenery is definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Brutal as always but it’s good to see so much green and wildflowers coming back after the fire.

hiking
1 month ago

No snow

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

First time doing this trail-- Its extremely challenging but beautiful views of the gorge and Mt. Hood, Adams, and St. Helens, and Hood River. Decided this would be good training for Mt. St. Helens. Very steep inclines and varied terrain from wooded to rockslides. It's worth taking the back look at the top of Mt. Defiance where you catch a glimpse of bear lake and stunning view of Mt. Hood. We started at 9am and finished at 7pm, with a half hour lunch break and a relaxing 1 hour hammock nap at Warren Lake. Knees will be screaming on the descent. Starvation Ridge Trail has a 20 foot washout so the longer hike back to Hole in the Wall falls is advised. Overall a tough one but worth the views. Take plenty of water.

hiking
1 month ago

Breathtaking sceneries, even in late march some parts of the trail was covered with snow about 3-4 miles.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Very nice trail, enjoyed the hike. Very steep, took me 3hours 30 min to reach the summit. Knee burner on decline:)

hiking
1 month ago

05/26/19 this hike will kick your a** but if you are looking for something to test your limits this is the one!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! She's certainly a steep one. Was able to make it to the summit in 2 hours 12 minutes. Patches of snow for minor sections a little past 4000 feet.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Hard as hell but very worth it!!!

snow
2 months ago

I am not an avid hiker and for me this was a tough one. I pushed myself all the way. I went with an experienced group and was probably an hour plus off there pace. They were cool to let me climb at my pace and I just kept plugging along. I let my will take over and it was 1000 mini goals. I really want to summit Mt Hood, and this is a harder climb minus the obvious conditions. Other hiker climbers use this hike as a conditioning for other big climbs. I may have some work ahead, but for me this was a breakthrough. Killer hike with some cool things to see, some cool views, and it's also on the edge of the Eagle Creek fire, it didnt get any further east. I enjoined the little things.

snow
2 months ago

hiking
blowdown
scramble
snow
2 months ago

A butt kicker of a hike, but awesome for training for hiking the larger cascade mountains. Started at 7am and finished around 2pm. This included a 30-min lunch stop at the summit to take in the views and our rest breaks in-between from the killer gains. There is still snow above 4,000. Post holing from the snow. Having trekking poles helped. We brought microspikes but didn’t end up needing them. Some downed trees but easier to climb over. Overall, beautiful hike with lovely views of the gorge and Cascade volcanoes (Hood, Helens, Adams, Rainier). Also, the hike it’s the edge of the gorge burn area. Vegetation is making a comeback :)

hiking
blowdown
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Hiked 5/6/19 13.6 miles with 5249 elevation gain. Did a loop hike starting with Defiance trail, to Mt. Defiance summit, to Warren Lake, to Mitchel Point, to Starvation Ridge trail and back on Mt. Defiance. Took us over 14hrs to complete. I was the first car in the lot at Starvation Creek State Park at 4:15am. Mt. Defiance was a great steep switchback trail with some flat sections in the forrest up high. Lots of downed trees on the trail. There is snow right after the scree field trail junction which we opted out of and crossed the snow instead (we used our microspikes in the snow). 2 to 4ft of snow in places. 2 miles or more of snow. Views were amazing the day we went. Couple good camp spots at Warren Lake. Mitchell point had OK views. Starvation Trail was super hard with very few switchbacks, so you're almost always going straight down. Poison oak on the trail, so make sure you cover up your skin. Lots of beautiful flowers and amazing view points. Visited 12/8/18. Beautiful area to stop at for hiking, sightseeing and a great lunch spot with a couple picnic tables next to Viento falls. Paved trails look very new. Bathrooms were flushing toilets and very clean inside, but only have air dryers, no paper towels for drying your hands. I've seen this place a bunch of other times while visiting the gorge and have always wanted to stop by and check it out. I came here to hike mt defiance trail. The trailheads are easy to find. Mt defiance, starvation ridge and a couple others are on the 14 going west when you walk on the paved path. Starvation ridge from historic trail paved path is closed but you can reach it on mt defiance trail. I did not complete trails because there were creek crossings on both mt defiance and starvation ridge that had no bridges, I was wearing my summer hiking boots (not wanting to get them wet in the water), it was cold out and I was hiking alone. This area is a must stop if you have the time to check it out. I will definitely be back to hike again. Counted 4 waterfalls.

hiking
scramble
snow
2 months ago

hiking
snow
2 months ago

One of those serious leg burner hikes!! There are a few patches towards the top where you should use crampons and have trekking poles as of now. Very clean trail!!! To all the hard workers who cleaned up this trail after the fire.... we appreciate you!

Load More

Featured Trails