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Mount Defiance Hike

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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Mount Defiance Hike

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  • The trailhead from Starvation Creek State Park.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Hiking only.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View over the Columbia River Gorge from the Starvation Ridge Trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Waterfall along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Two options to reach the summit.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Wind Mountain (1,907') and Mount St. Helens (8,366').- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Entering the Mount Hood National Forest along the Mount Defiance Trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Mount St. Helens (8,366').- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Mount St. Helens (8,366') at higher elevation.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Mount Adams (12,280') at higher elevation.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View from the summit.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View from the summit.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Communication equipment at the summit.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View from the summit.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Spraypaint marks the trail at higher elevation.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Camping at Warren Lake.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Warren Lake.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Camping near Warren Lake.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Wind Mountain (1,907') from lower elevation.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to Dog Mountain (2,948') from Starvation Ridge.- Mount Defiance Hike
  • View to the Columbia River Gorge from Starvation Ridge.- Mount Defiance Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great view. Close to Hood River. Low congestion. Restrooms and ample parking.
Cons: 
Few views until the summit. Heavily shaded.
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Region:
Columbia River Gorge, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
5,000.00 ft (1,524.00 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
160.00 ft (48.77 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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The hike to the summit of Mount Defiance is grueling-but-rewarding. Setting out from the trailhead, it may seem that you’re in for a scenic hike sprinkled with waterfalls and wildflowers with a modest elevation gain. One mile in, however, the experience quickly changes from easy hiking with a view of the Columbia River Gorge to some serious vertical elevation gain.

Overall, the Mount Defiance hike is known as one of the more difficult hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, and it is regarded as a training hike for some of the higher summits such as Mount Hood. You have two options to get to the top, the Mount Defiance Trail #413 and the Starvation Ridge Trail #414. Combining the two trails allows you to do a there-and-back loop from Starvation Creek State Park to the summit. Along the Mount Defiance Trail, you’ll spend most of your time hiking in the shade, with the occasional view over the Gorge to Wind Mountain, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier. The Starvation Ridge Trail will provide fewer views to the volcanic peaks at higher elevations, but it will take you past Warren Lake and a number of camping sites. Once at the summit, you will have a panoramic view to Mount Hood over the Mount Hood National Forest.

With nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain over more than 12 miles, the Mount Defiance hike can take anywhere from five hours for the fast-paced to more than seven hours for those with a more-leisurely pace. The trail can be very vertical at times with some loose rock, so trekking poles are recommended.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

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(39 within a 30 mile radius)

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