Mount Defiance (4/26/2015)

  • Location: Columbia River Gorge
  • Start: Starvation Creek Trailhead
  • Distance: 11.4 miles
  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (breaks included)
  • Elevation gain: 4840 feet
  • Type: Out-and-back
  • Map: Green Trails Map 428S: Columbia River Gorge-West
  • References:Β Hiking the Columbia River GorgeΒ by Russ Schneider; Oregon Hikers

Mount Defiance is notorious for being one of the most strenuous (if not THE most strenuous) hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. From the trailhead, you climb nearly 5000 feet from sea level in just under 6 miles! The steep incline is relentless and there are almost no level stretches to give your calves a break. As you near the top, you’re rewarded with several amazing views. Mount Defiance is the highest point in the gorge, so you won’t get views like this anywhere else. Although the giant radio tower on the summit kind of detracts from the area’s natural beauty, it’s still a worthwhile spot for all your hard work.

Mount Defiance is a great conditioning hike if you’re preparing for a big climb, such as Mount St. Helens or Mount Adams. However, if you enjoy the physical challenges of a steep trail, this will probably be just another “for fun” hike like it was for us.


View of the gorge from its highest point

Hole-in-the-Wall Falls