Mount Defiance Loop
This is a moderate loop trail to Mount Defiance in Lindsey Creek State Park. One of the toughest hikes in the gorge (5,000ft elevation in approx. 5 miles), and an excellent training hike for entry level mountaineering climbs. This is a great skill check before jumping onto a South Sister/ Mt. St. Helens/Mt Adams level climb.
From Portland, drive east on I-84 for more than 50 miles to Exit 55, signed for the Starvation Creek Trailhead and Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.
There's no westbound exit to the Starvation Creek Rest Area, so drivers from the east (Hood River) will need to continue to Herman Creek Road and double back. Similarly, when leaving the rest area westbound drivers (Portland) will need to drive east on I-84 for about a mile and take the Viento exit, which leads to an underpass and then an I-84 on-ramp to Portland.
Be aware that the two primary hiking trails at this location (Starvation Ridge and Mt. Defiance) do not begin within the state park area by the restrooms and Starvation Creek Falls (walking east leads to Viento State Park along the historic highway), but instead require walking west, back alongside the freeway on the paved Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. This route offers close approaches to Cabin Creek Falls and Hole in the Wall Falls. The Starvation Ridge Cutoff Trail also descends to this lower walk-in section.
Start at Starvation Creek State Park. There are toilets and the parking is ample and overflow on the wide shoulders. Expect lots of cars in the summer, so arrive early.
Head west along the old HWY30 until you see sign for Mt. Defiance and make a left. Start with Starvation Ridge or Defiance, they will both lead you back to the same spot. The climb goes uphill, continuously and quickly. Carry a good map or GPS if you climb early spring as the snow can disguise the trail at the top and it's easy to miss the path.
Would only recommend this hike for experienced children as the hike is long and steep.
Rate this Hike