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Mount Defiance Trail [CLOSED] 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 is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 12.4 mi Elevation gain 5,072 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Forest Lake River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble Washed out Closed
Description
Waypoints (7)
Facilities
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Getting There

Note: as of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. 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.

The parking lot is big and there is a restroom at trailhead.

Make sure you are prepared with LOTS of water. This is a very difficult and steep hike. The lower portion of the hike is in dense forest and the upper portion has exposure to the sun. So make sure you are prepared for both shade and sun.

To find the trailhead you must follow I-84 to exit 55 the Starvation Creek State Park rest area. If you are coming westbound there is no exit and you have to go past to the Cascade locks exit and backtrack. Once at the parking lot the trail begins by taking you along the shoulder of I-84 (behind a fence) for almost a mile before the uphill begins.

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Reviews (399)
Photos (964)
Recordings (302)
Completed (777)
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Tommy Nockles
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 12, 2020
HikingRockyWashed out

I hiked this back in 2012, and the trail has completely changed. It was very fascinating observing the wildfire damage back in 2017. The trail was in good condition however defiance trail #413 has about 40 downed logs to scurry over as well as very slippery dirt and gravel on the way back down. I would not hike this trail again just because of that. The view at the top was just as beautiful as I thought it would be!!

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Janelle Fuston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Need better signage that Starvation Creek trail is closed

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Natalia D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Lots of poison oak.

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GorgeHiker Berry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 4, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
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Colleen Buckley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

This was a great trail! It’s definitely a leg shredder (both on the way up and the way down), but the views are worth it. We did it as an out-and-back due to construction. You pass a few waterfalls at the very beginning and then wind through some meadows before entering the forest. Be aware on your way down- the steep section towards the bottom is very dusty and slippery. Took us about 7.5 hours, including 45 minutes at the top. There’s a cold creek about 20 feet past the parking lot- great for your feet and legs at the end of a big day.

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Ed Fichers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 30, 2020
HikingBlowdownGreat!Over grownRockyScramble

Left parking lot at 630am, beat the crowds, only a few cars in parking lot, it was overflowing when we returned. We did as a loop, going up 413 to the summit, clockwise on the top loop as like other hiker said, you get better views looking North after leaving the summit. We took the 414 Starvation Ridge trail down, passing Warren Lake. There are three reasons not to go this way and rather do as an Out and Back on 413 IMO. 1st off the trail is officially closed about 1.5 miles from the bottom, and 4 miles from the top. The signage for the closure is very confusing and positioned in terrible locations, as you cant see it coming up as you hit the fork with the 413 trail, the closure sign is out of sight around the 1st bend in trail, so you don't get the indication it is closed as you plan your loop. Coming from the top as you descend, you run into a closure sign far too late. We don't like to pouch, but we were already committed without the energy and time to backtrack 4 miles and ascent 3k feet more of climbing, so we continued on. Reason for closure is There is a little construction work on the power line and a re-route of the trail to bypass the area and avoid power pole and it's guy cable anchors , we just made sure to avoid the work are an continued on, the 2nd, and most convincing reason to avoid this route is there is quite a bit of poison oak on the bottom third of the trail, thankfully we lathered up with Technu at the car. Lastly, it is very loose and steep during much of the decent, even more so than the 413 Deception trail route if you can believe that. If the Park site had this listed as closed, we would have avoided, but only the 414b connector trail was indicated as closed due to a slide, plus it was taped off, so we knew to avoid it, they must be leaning on the contractor to warn of closure, they just aren't doing a great job with closure warnings and status. I described this in detail, because it was a question many others we ran across had. All in all, it is a butt kicker of a hike, do it only if you treasure Gorge views and strenuous hikes, otherwise you might want to pass. Last pieces of advise,bring plenty of water, account for if bringing dog there is no streams after the 1st mile, and hiking poles are huge here, I never use them but sure glad I did here or I would have landed on my rump a dozen times on the way down! We totaled 5400' of elevation gain and 14.4 miles on Strava report. Pics of journey can be seen here; https://www.instagram.com/p/CEiYiw_pmii/

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Maria Van Wambeke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020

Parking lot fills up early! 13.5 miles from the parking lot, up and back on route 413. Suggest taking 413A at the top to the left, then looping back 413B on the way down. The views of Mt. Adams are amazing. This hike climbs all the way up without a break, but the forest sections are lush and ethereal. The burnt areas are great for photographers and wild berries and long purple flowers abound. Fast hiker, took about 2 hours up and 1.6 hours down.

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Saad Ahmed
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 23, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

It turns out to be 15 mile, 5600 ft arduous hike according to strava, perhaps because we did the loop. It took us total 10hrs to complete the hike, considering the avg speed of the whole group. Very good hike to do if you are in a good shape.

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Chris Weaver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking
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Mohit Kankariya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking
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Sebastian Mendivil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Got about 2/3 of the way up there but then Mygull’s hip gave out so we mobbed back down. I could’ve taken it on though, so we’ll come back after some chiro and multivitamin gummy seshes

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Derek Wilfong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
RunningOver grown

Definitely a lot of uphill climb to the summit. The trail is a little over grown in some places. At the top before the split to Warren Lake there is a boulder field where the trail is a little difficult to follow. Had some good views of the Columbia River but the views at summit looking south toward Mt. Hood were obscured by clouds.

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Mitchell Hein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

There are waterfall hikes, and summit hikes for 360 degree views, and then there's this. Arrived at 7:30 am on a Saturday, the small parking lot was half full. 65-70 degrees and hiked in shorts and t-shirt, and packed a hat, light jacket and gloves for the top--and this turned out perfectly. While yes, you'll be pushing through some overgrown paths, the very mild abrasion was worth the trade off over wearing pants on a hike with this elevation change. Poles were a lifesaver on this, though a machete would have also been helpful. Brought 3 liters of water, used 2.5 and felt very hydrated with that. Don't forget some snacks. Exposure wasn't a concern. Signage at the bottom indicated Starvation Ridge is still closed due to construction, so it was an out and back on Mt. Defiance trail for us. The bottom 2-3 miles has most construction noise, which was helicopters coming and going, and only noticeable on the return leg. It's a hard push for the first view miles until it literally levels out--perfect for a break and a snack. After that put on your cruise control and know the grade is not going to get any worse than that first leg. The coolest part of this middle section is watching the progress of the regrowth from the 2017 wildfire. Eventually you reach an edge of the burn and feels like you're entering a completely different ecosystem, its SO dense with vegetation. There are plenty of nice view points along the way up, but the views from the loop around the summit were something else. Just keep your head up and you'll know when to pop out to a viewpoint, I've never seen the gorge look so expansive. This trail is RUGGED, a few washed out parts and lots of very slick gravel sections. Bring poles and be patient. Saw 15-20 people through the day, including a pair running the trail twice, and even one man who was doing a triple. Once was good enough for us. 6:38 moving time, 7:40 total time. Arrived back at the car around 3:30 pm.

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Hubert Billod-Morel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
Hiking

Did this trail on July 28th, and this trail is not closed, only one side is, you can still go to the top from trail#413 up and down. She saw only 2 other group of 2, very quiet. This trail is not easy for sure but is worth the effort, beautiful view from the top.

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Britt Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsClosedOver grownRockyScramble

Amazing hike. definitely hard. We started at 5:30am via trail 413, completed hike at 1:45pm. 4 hours and 15 min to the top. 3 hours down. several breaks. Scary coming down, very steep. Need good traction shoes, hiking poles. brought 3 L of Water, only drank 1.5 L. probably should have drank more. should take bug spray, got bit by mosquitos, saw some bees. Bring Sunscreen on a hot day.

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Erin Kriscunas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely amazing! Salvation trail is closed at the bottom so I just did out and back on mount defiance. Steep and slippery in spots but an amazing hike

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Jessica W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 20, 2020
BugsClosedScrambleWashed out

Hiked Saturday 7/18/20. Starvation Ridge Trail was closed due to construction. They didn't put up signs, so had to learn this from people who learned the hard way. Going down the Defiance side mean a lot of steep inclines with gravel. it was very slippery and dangerous. Parts of the trail are washed out and there are trees laying over the trail in many places as well. Not worth the view imo, but maybe if I'd been able to go down the Starvation side, I'd have a different opinion.

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