Mount Defiance Trail (#413)

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

This trail enters Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness offering a challenging 7.2 mile trail that begins at Starvation Creek State Park (55 miles east of Portland, OR on I-84) and ends at Mt Defiance South Trailhead (south of Mt Defiance). It is within both the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Mount Hood National Forest. 

At 4,960 feet, Mount Defiance is the highest point in the Columbia Gorge. There are views of the Cascade Range and the Columbia River Gorge. Visitors can combine this trail with Mitchell Point Trail #417 and Starvation Ridge Trail #414 for a demanding 8.7 mile day hike or backpack loop.  There are several established campsites at Warren Lake. 

Leaving from the Starvation Creek Trailhead, head west along US Hwy I-84 on an asphalt trail that quickly becomes gravel. The trail will soon enter the trees and the steep and sustained climb begins. The trail stays mainly in the trees but at the 4100’ mark there is a breathtaking view to the north of the Cascade Range, the Columbia River Gorge. After 4.1 miles, the trail intersects with Mitchell Point Trail #417 just west of Warren Lake at 4240’.  

The trail continues uphill heading southwest 0.4 mile to Mount Defiance. At the summit of Mount Defiance (4,920’) there is a large radio tower along with an unobstructed view of Mount Hood to the south. From the summit of Mount Defiance, start downhill continuing southwest for 1.8 miles to the junction with Bear Lake Trail #413A. This 0.7 mile trail is a nice side trip to a beautiful small lake. From the junction the trail continues downhill 0.5 mile to the trailhead at Forest Road 2820 (Dead Point Road).

Link to Trail Description and Map (PDF File)

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Expect rugged conditions, not cleared since 2016.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
  • Motor vehicles and bikes are prohibited.
  • Fires not allowed within 200 feet of trail.
  • Wilderness regulations apply.
Closest Towns: Hood River, OR
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


From Portland, OR take US Hwy I-84 for about 47 miles to Starvation Creek Trailhead. See: Starvation Creek State Park. To return westbound after your visit, travel east on Interstate 84 for approximately 0.7 miles to Viento State Park Interchange.

To access to south end of this trail, see Mt Defiance South Trailhead.



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Hiking to Lancaster Falls would make a short day hike.


Known as one of the more difficult trails in Oregon. Several overnight loops can be made. Please consult a good, up to date map when planning your hike.