We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Mt Defiance Summit

Hike to the highest point of the Columbia Gorge with amazing views of Mt Hood, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 12.5 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  Many consider this hike Oregon's hardest trail, and in fact the Starvation Ridge portion is used to train for the Mt. Hood Summit.

If... more »

Tips:  To get to the trailhead from Portland drive I-84 east of Cascade Locks 10 miles to the Starvation Creek exit near milepost 54. If you... more »

Take this guide with you!

Save to mobile
Get this guide & thousands of others on your mobile phone
EveryTrail guides are created by travelers like you.
  1. 1. Download the EveryTrail app from the App Store
  2. 2. Search for the Mt Defiance Summit guide
  3. 3. Enjoy your self-guided tour
Get the app

Points of Interest

1. Parking Lot/Restrooms/ Trailhead

Parking is free and there are nice restrooms here. There is a short side hike to Starvation Falls. To hike up Mt Defiance follow the trail that heads back along the freeway.

2. Starvation Ridge

Turn uphill here for Oregon's most difficult trail. For an easier route (yet still difficult) keep going straight.

3. Hole in the Wall Falls

Hole-In-The-Wall Falls is a 100-foot waterfall on Warren Creek in Starvation Creek State Park, Hood River County, Oregon, United States. Its main drop is 60 feet. It was created in 1938 when Warren Creek was diverted through a tunnel (hence its name) to prevent washouts of the Columbia River Highway.

4. Lancaster Falls

5. Climb Begins

This is where the trail really starts to climb and does not stop until you reach the summit.

6. Majestic Views

Gorgeous views into Washington of Mt St Helens and Mt Adams.

7. Fork in the Road

This is the point where the Mt Defiance trail meets back up with the Starvation ridge trail.

Turn here to head up to the summit.

8. Left or Right

The path to the right crosses loose rock, but is a little easier then the path to the left.

9. Mt Defiance Summit

You made it to the summit at 4959ft. Enjoy the views of Mt Hood and the ugly communications equipment.

10. Warren Lake

There are quite a few spots to pitch a tent around this lake.

11. Fork in the Road

If heading down keep to the left for the Starvation Ridge trail. This is a very difficult trail even heading down.

If coming up continue on to the right.

12. View Point

13. Trail Fork

Turn right downhill to return to trailhead. Continue straight if you want an upper view of some of the earlier waterfalls.