Mount Defiance Trail

HARD
#1 of 1 trails in Viento State Park
Mount Defiance Trail is a 11.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cascade Locks, OR that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.1 miles 4783 feet Loop
dogs on leash hiking forest views waterfall wild flowers old growth rocky
Hide Map

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.

Evan Brown
7 days ago

7 Completed7 Reviews

My legs are dead. But it was beautiful took me 6 hours

Pierre Dubois
8 days ago

18 Completed14 Reviews

2 hr 28 min to the top 1 hr 45 min down its long and kinda steep don't let the comments bug you if you can hike Dog or Ruckle Ridge with little problem you'll be just fine at least Hike Nesmith Point its like 800 ' shorter but its a tad steeper and a longer round trip but not very rewarding either but will help you hike Mt. Defiance with ease

Brian Bull
1 month ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Mount Defiance and Dog Mountain in Washington one day with snow!

This is a awesome hike to test yourself on. some spot 700 EG in a quarter mile!

Gene Hancock
6 months ago

33 Completed2 Reviews

It about killed my hiking friend John but later he found out he had a clogged artery so now he is good and had gone on to do Saint Helens.
I myself enjoyed the adversity and will do it again for I do Hood.

Del Davis
8 months ago

16 Completed2 Reviews

Tough hike for this old dude, but i have to say i got a tremendous amount of satisfaction conquering this beast. Allocate more time than you anticipate. The trek down is as bad (if not worse) than the 5k climb.

Sang Shin
8 months ago

10 Completed11 Reviews

Leah Adint
9 months ago

9 Completed9 Reviews

The first part of the hike you are walking along the freeway. Then the switchbacks start up the mountain, but up the face that is closest to the freeway. Guess what you hear for the next hour? Cars and trucks. The trail gets much better once up the first ridge, and it is a good challenging incline. The top is nothing really spectacular the views of the other mountains are the best part, so don't go on anything but a bluebird day. The lake at the top is small, shallow, and green with algae. I don't like walking under power lines or along freeways, so I wouldn't recommend this hike. There are better in the area.

Mary Johnson
10 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

We are preparing to hike Half Dome in Yosemite....so this hike was GREAT training for that. It is a very strenuous hike, be sure and take about 3 liters of water on a warm day. Also, packing hiking sticks would be a good idea. I picked up a tree limb and used for a hiking stick for the trek down as it can be a bit treacherous. Harder coming down it all, than going up it. Also, plan to take a decent amount of food with you for energy. Definitely great views from the top, this took us 10 hours. Longer than most people who have done the trail, but, we had several rest periods. The view on the cliff at about 5 miles in up awesome, as you can see several of the mountains from there on a clear day. We had a GPS with us tracking our hike and to the top it actually said it was more than 6 miles. So, be prepared for that...as a lot of websites on this trail say 4-5 miles up....awesome trek, but pretty tough...not sure I will do this one again unless I am training for something.

Dorane Brower
10 months ago

4 Completed1 Reviews

Obviously I am out of shape. This hike kicked my butt - that's good, right? Next time I'll be in better shape.

sue c
11 months ago

31 Completed3 Reviews

This was one of the most difficult hikes in the Gorge. I highly recommend that you either go up and back down Mt. Defiance only. If you are going to do Starvation Ridge, it's best to go up and not down. It is very steep, loose gravel and narrow.
It's a grueling hike no matter, but it is definately a great training ground for Mt. St. Helens.

Ted S
1 year ago

52 Completed31 Reviews

Updating for 2015: This a great though evil conditioning trail / prove you can do it hike if you're training up. The views at the top are cool as well but if that's all you want, you can absolutely find better options closer to Hood and the Gorge. Several routes up, the Defiance trail is the fastest way, mostly covered in trees though you do get three waterfalls at the start. The Starvation Ridge will push you even harder and adds a few more miles but gets the steep stuff out of the way with a great mid-stop at the lake (camping option). If you want the loop, I would definitely do Starvation up, it's brutal coming down. The last half mile or so also has two options: easier and harder though there's nothing that "hard" about harder (relative to the trail below) and it's much shorter while easier has more views (and also boulder fields to navigate). Either way, prepare to be stoked to make it up, bummed to see the buildings at the top and have a nice, most-of-the-day adventure regardless. And oh, the parking lot is small, so show up early people.

Dan Algeo
1 year ago

165 Completed90 Reviews

awesome hike, but is very challenging.
this is not for beginners. I usually only have 1 trekking pole with me, I should have had 2. mostly for the decent down.

Ian Lass
1 year ago

16 Completed8 Reviews

Oof. I did this hike 4 years ago and still remember the soreness afterward. It was worth it though, the trail is beautiful and when you do get a clearing in the trees, the views are amazing.

Caitlyn Ross
1 year ago

28 Completed10 Reviews

Ray Hanosek
1 year ago

8 Completed8 Reviews

True the Mountain's name this trail is not for the weak hearted. Its a strenuous climb but oh so worth it.
Went up the Mount Defiance trail and then back down starvation ridge. Snow at the 4200' level. Thanks to a great hiking partner we didn't get lost when hiking on the snow.

A must do but train and prepare for this one!

Ted S
1 year ago

52 Completed31 Reviews

What an epic day. The elevation gain speaks for the difficulty and those calling it one of Oregon's hardest hikes seem spot on, it is certainly of the same ilk as the Elk / Kings Mountain Loop, Camp Muir and such. However it's not so much steep as a long climb, at least if you take the suggested Defiance trail route. Aside from the two almost immediate waterfalls, of the trail is covered or fairly typical Oregon sights but above 4000' the views are absolutely spectacular both of major peaks (mainly Hood) and the Gorge in general. The summit with it's buildings, roads and lack of cool accomplishment markers is a bit disappointing though the look out over Hood makes up for it. Overall the trail is well marked and maintained along the way (watch the forks, there are several pulling you away) and a fairly decent condition with just a few soft dirt / hard scramble spots.

Coming back down Starvation Ridge is a brutal decent and would certainly be the same as an ascent with a knee crushing, 3800' in 3 miles or close to it. I'd skip the loop unless you want to train up from that side. Restrooms and water at the start only.

Took me 5:30 + an hour summit stop / breaks for the full loop.

TJ R.
1 year ago

Audrey S.
1 year ago

Best hike I've been on since I moved from Colorado. It's like a 14er with more oxygen + a steeper climb. Brought my dog and he did great on all of it. He drank 3 liters of water plus we stopped by the lake around mile 9. Started at 8AM but should have started earlier cause it was warm. Glad I brought a map, read a lot of reviews and that I print out the Portlandhikingguide.com description.

Carrie Duranceau
1 year ago

16 Completed3 Reviews

I went up the Starvation Ridge Trail and down Mt Defiance. It took me about 7 1/2 hours total and was definitely the most grueling hike I've completed to date. The hike up had beautiful views of the gorge with lots of switchbacks. I was glad I had my iphone w/google maps since I started going the wrong way once when I was getting close to Warren Lake. (No guides I read mentioned the Mitchell Point Trail) There were also some areas where the trail was just large rocks and it was somewhat of a guessing game and a relief when I met up with a more clearly cut trail eventually. One other area that I wish the guide books would have warned me about was at the very end of the Mt Defiance trail when you come to the Lancaster waterfall - no where did it state that you had to cross the waterfall and find the trail on the other side (and it didn't look like there was a trail to pick up on the other side!) I don't know if the link I've provided to my Garmin will work, but if it does you can view the elevation gain and timing, etc. I'm proud I completed this hike, but there are many more to check off my list before I tackle this one again.
http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/550934012

todd heath
2 years ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

I will have to say that was the best 8.2 miles I've done in some time, The Oregon beauty is unbelievable. I just came back to Oregon a week ago from Pennsylvania, it has it's own beauty but it is no comparison.