Mount Defiance Trail

Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Elevation Gain5,365ft
Trailhead Elevation236ft
Elevation Min/Max224/4836ft
Elevation Start/End236/236ft

Mount Defiance Trail

Mount Defiance Trail is a hiking trail in Hood River County, Oregon. It is within Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Area and Mount Hood National Forest. It is 4.6 miles long and begins at 236 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 5,365 feet. This trail connects with the following: Mitchell Point Trail 417 and Starvation Ridge Trail.

Mount Defiance Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A steep hike to Mount Defiance, with access to Bear Lake and North Lake loop options."

"This is an out-and-back route, but you can also make it into a loop. If doing the loop, head up the Starvation Creek Trail and down the Mount Defiance Trail (or vice versa). The route offers the steepest continuous climb in the gorge, 4,900 feet of ascent. This translates to about 1,000 feet per mile for steep singletrack that is not too technical, thanks to switchbacks. The majority of the route is within the forest, but you traverse a talus field near the top.

At the pinnacle there are some radio towers, which makes for an odd juxtaposition in the middle of open space; but on a clear day the view corridor provides glimpses of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. Although there is one lake on the Starvation Creek Trail, the majority of the route is void of water, which is rather unique in this region."

"The granddaddy guardian of the gorge, Mount Defiance rises nearly one vertical mile above the Columbia River, the highest peak in the gorge."

"Mount Defiance is the highest point in the Columbia River Gorge, and the trail from the river (near sea level) to the top (almost 5000 feet) is a major challenge.

But nothing worthwhile ever comes easily—just keep telling yourself this as your thighs and lungs loudly dispute the point on the way up and your knees and toes continue the debate on the way down. The impressive scenery, especially the outstanding views from the top, make the effort worthwhile."

Mount Defiance Trail Reviews

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Pretty darn good hike, it was a good climb up Starvation ridge. I had to be careful of Poison Oak, lots of it lower on the trail. Seemed like it was taking forever to get to Warren Lake trail. Once there it was a pretty easy climb th rest of the way. Lots of people on the top. Ate lunch than headed back down the Mt Defiance trail. I ran most of the way down. It took 2 hours. 4 up. Will do again in reverse next time. The defiance trail seemed steeper just not as far. Rick
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Awesome but kicking trail. The payoff at the top isn't exactly what you've hoped for..but it's still beautiful. Prepare you knees for punishment on the way down.
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good work out. used as a training run for bigger things to come. needed some hill climbing + descending, got it. great views of gorge + mt. hood.
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Well, it's not really meant to be a snowshoeing trail, but on this day, it was. Also, it should be noted that it says 7.1 miles point to point here; I don't know what they're talking about, but it's about 5 miles from the Starvation Ridge trailhead (where the Mt Defiance trail starts-same area) to the top of Defiance's summit. Anyway, it's a steep trail that's good training for the legs. Here in winter, at about the 3800 foot mark, I found awesome snow drifts to climb over and through. Great snowshoeing. I cut a straight line to the summit; the marked trail disappeared (ribbons blown away by the wind). Took me a little less than 3 hours to get to the top; shorter in the summer, when the snow is gone. The steepness of the trail is good training for mountaineering, and plan on good views of St helens, Adams and Rainier if the weather is clear. Pack differing layers, food, and water, and enjoy the burn!

Mount Defiance Trail Photos

Trail Information

Mount Hood National Forest
Nearby City
Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Area
Skill Level