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Mount Defiance - Starvation Ridge Loop (OR)

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There are 3 trip reports for this hike.
Mt Defiance-Starvation Ridge Loop, Columbia Gorge — Jun 29, 2012 — TreeLady
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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Seeking a challenge in prep for high-country backpacks a bit later in the summer, three hikin' gals ...
Seeking a challenge in prep for high-country backpacks a bit later in the summer, three hikin' gals took off from the Starvation Creek rest area.

The trail followed an interesting old 1910s road along the freeway under the straight-up bluffs, passing a couple of the ever-present waterfalls before switchbacking steeply up the front of the bluff. Views were amazing east and west along the gorge, and previous significant blowdown had been cleared by some hardworking and likely insufficiently recognized trail crew (THANKS!!!).

After about 2 miles and 2000' the trail straightened and entered dense Douglas-fir forest, no longer bothering with switchbacks but just taking the elevation gain on 'straight ahead'. Finally we emerged from the trees into a dwarf alpine-boulderfield landscape with stupendous views.

Passing our return trail (Warren Lake) on the left, we proceeded to mile 5 where we took the Defiance Cutoff trail to the right (unmarked - look for two big cairns on either side of the trail), through boulderfields rounding the western side of the summit and finally reaching the somewhat anticlimactic summit itself, featuring a set of towers and nice views over Hood River to Mt Hood.

To finish the loop we searched the NE corner of the summit and found our trail heading downward. We took the turn to Warrren Lake and in about another mile passed the pretty lake - the one spot suitable for pitching a tent on the route.

Reaching a junction, we turned north on the Starvation Ridge trail and proceeded through incredible old forest mixed with early lupine and bear grass, first fairly flat then turning super steep. Soon the ridge narrowed to the point where we again had views east and west along the gorge.

Then the trail seemed to end on the nose of a slope under the powerlines hanging precipitously over the gorge. But then we saw the trail, switchbacking very steeply down under some interesting white oak patches back down to the trailhead. Look out for the slippery gravel underfoot. We turned right on the Starvation Cutoff which took us back down to the old wagon road .2 from the trailhead.

Poison oak EVERYWHERE! But a great day, better that it was a bit overcast or it could have been very hot.

For more photos go to the link[…]huser=0&feat=directlink
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Mt. Defiance #413,Starvation Creek S.P. Waterfalls — Apr 18, 2007 — Robert Michelson
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes
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Starvation Creek Waterfalls 4/18/07 Starvation Creek State Park, just off of I-84 on the Oregon si...

Starvation Creek Waterfalls 4/18/07

Starvation Creek State Park, just off of I-84 on the

Oregon side of the Columbia gorge offers 4 large

waterfalls within a short 2 mile hike. They each

have different shapes, characters, and settings. The

first is Starvation Falls just east of the park picnic

area. It falls 186 ft. with a large volume. Rated

4 stars. Next heading west on the trail (#413 Mt.

Defiance) is Cabin Creek, 3 stars. After the trail

Heads uphill for a bit comes Hole In The Wall, also

3 stars. Finally after a bit more climbing, with

views down to the Columbia River, comes

Lancaster Falls, 4 stars.

On this rainy, gray day I left my large SLR camera

in the car and packed a miniature Olympus in a safe

dry parka pocket. I did get several photos of each

falls (shielding the camera under my hood).

Some spring wildflowers are out in the Gorge.

On this trail I saw lots of Bleeding Heart,

Solomon’s Seal, Siberian Spring Beauty, and

Saskatoon. Other than a 50 ft. muddy section

the trail was in perfect condition.

The star rating system is from Plumb’s book

“Waterfall Lovers Guide to the Pacific NW”.

As a reference point, Snoqualmie falls gets 5

Stars, the highest rating. Ratings are of course

subjective, but are based on height, volume,

beauty and uniqueness.

Robert Michelson

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Starvation Creek,Mount Defiance Trail — Nov 19, 2000 — Robert L. Crocker
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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This trail is accessed from Hwy 84 about 6 or 7 miles West of Hood River... The Freeway Sign says "...

This trail is accessed from Hwy 84 about 6 or 7 miles West of Hood River... The Freeway Sign says ""Starvation Creek Trailhead"".. or something like that.......

It's a good early and late season conditioning trail. It's about 6 miles from the parking area (which has restrooms) to the top of the mountain and the vertical gain is over 4,000 feet. But, since the first couple of miles is fairly flat, virtually all of that gain is during the last 4 miles.......

It was a cold windy day.... The high pressure system that has given Seattle area it's nice weather over the last week or so tends to also cause a strong easterly (and cold) flow down the gorge......

The first mile or so of the trail is flat and ends at a scenic waterfall... after crossing the creek the trail starts to work gradually upward and along the ""power grid""... once you get above the powerlines the trail ""gets serious"".... It's steep uphill switchbacks for the next couple of miles...... at a couple of spots there are scenic views of the columbia gorge..... eventually the trail flattens out as you get above the first ridge and work your way to the final assault on the summit.... I found the snow to be an inch or so deep up there and very slick... It was walkable, but uncomfortable for me so I turned around before the final assault... Still, it was over 3 miles each way and an excellent workout...

The Mt. Defiance trail is almost directly across the Columbia from the ""Dog Mountain"" Trail... I could look across the river and see a couple of dozen cars parked at that trailhead... there was only one other car parked at the Mt. Defiance trailhead.... Drano lake was also visible further East.

There were a couple of easily ""walked over"" blowdowns a half mile or so from the parking area, but, other than that, the trail was in excellent shape...

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South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge

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45.6793202357 -121.838378906
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