Mount Defiance Trail is a 10.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cascade Locks, Oregon that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
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.
Hiked this on 3/19. The trail conditions on the way up were decent, my dog and I made it to the summit with just boots and no trekking poles. There's a lot of snow at the top but there's a track up to the summit, and because of the high snow levels at the summit there was an amazing view of Hood. I went back down starvation ridge and wished I would have gone back the way I came, it's super icy and slow going from the cutoff after the lake to the main starvation ridge trail. Overall the views were amazing and I had the trail all to myself, definitely doable with the snow if you have the right equipment.
Went on 10/28/16. Bring 2 sets of legs!! Seriously. This circuit has a little of everything. Good gorge and mountain views, a lake, steep ascents. Clear day views of Wind Mountain, Mt. St. Helens, Mt Adams and Mt. Hood. Will do this again next season with more daylight for exploring and relaxing along the route.
Beautiful trail this time of year. I am a seasoned hiker and I would consider this hike difficult. There is just about nothing "gradual" about the assent or decent. Never the less, it is quite enjoyable.
I rated it a 4 star because I consider myself a naturalist and I am always a bit bummed out when the trail includes power lines and a cell phone tower. If you would like to avoid these power lines, perhaps taking the "there and back" approach up and down starvation creek trail instead of the entire loop would be more secluded.
For those of you who hike with your K9 companions: I did the loop with Lulu, my Saint Bernard and my best hiking/backpacking companion. Unless you have a mountain dog who is regularly exercised and has regard for cliffs and steep canyons don't bring them. Also, water is scarce for the first 5 miles. So, take a liter for your dog as well. There is an area at the half way point to refill for yourself and the pup.
Over all, this was a beautiful, very clean trail and I would recommend it. -RC
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 feel great! Be happy and be safe on the trails.
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!
Closed until September 2016 as is Starvation Ridge
Challenging and a bit rough on the knees on the way down. I couldn't have done this without poles! Pretty fun though!
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.
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.
Fantastic physical and mental test. Toughest hike I've done, but amazing at the top.
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.
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. :)
My legs are dead. But it was beautiful took me 6 hours
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
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!
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.