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Mount Defiance Trail #413

Difficult
 4.2 (5)

A steep trail to an iconic summit in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness.


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Map Key

7.0

Miles

11.3

KM

61%

Runnable

4,940' 1,506 m

High

111' 34 m

Low

4,839' 1,475 m

Up

1,129' 344 m

Down

16%

Avg Grade (9°)

81%

Max Grade (39°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall

This trail enters the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics, camp 100 feet from fragile areas, bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites. This trail is usually closed by snow between November and May. The trail can be used in the winter but snow travel and good navigation skills are both essential for safety.

Description

This trail, along with the Starvation Ridge Trail #414 immediately to the east, is considered one of the most demanding runs in the Columbia River Gorge, winter or summer. It begins at a parking lot Starvation Ridge Creek Rest Area on Interstate-84 (I-84); there are restrooms here. Note that you cannot return to I-84 westbound from here—you can only continue eastbound.

From the the trailhead, a paved path heads west next to I-84 for several hundred feet before it becomes gravel. At 0.25 miles from the trailhead, you'll pass the junction with the Starvation Ridge Trail #414 (some maps may show this as the Starvation Ridge Cutoff Trail #414B). The #413 continues west, climbing only slightly, past some waterfalls, and, at 0.85 miles from the trailhead, heads to a junction with the "easier" start of the Starvation Ridge Trail #414.

At 1.3 miles from the trailhead, the #413 turns sharply to the south and begins a relentless climb up many switchbacks and steep sections. Here the trail stays mainly in the trees, crossing into the wilderness area at 3,600 feet (about 4 miles along the run). At the 4,100 feet, you'll finally break out of the trees into an large boulder field with a breathtaking view of the Cascade Range to the north and of the Columbia River Gorge below.

You'll dip back into the trees and, at about 4.4 miles from the trailhead, intersect the Mitchell Point Trail #417 coming up from Warren Lake. The #413 continues uphill, passing, in about 0.3 miles, a junction with an alternative path for it, one that contours around Mount Defiance rather than crossing its summit.

Continuing up, the #413 (this section is shown as the #413B or #413D on some older maps) soon crosses the service road leading to the summit, then continues up the slope to merge with this service road shortly before the summit. At the summit of Mount Defiance (4,920 feet) there is a large communication facility, with tall radio and microwave towers, along with an unobstructed view of Mount Hood to the south.

From the summit, the #413 starts downhill (look for it on the southwest side of the large propane tank), soon passes a junction with the trail that contours around the summit, and continues descending southwest for 1.1 miles to the junction with Bear Lake Trail #413A - a nice side trip to a beautiful small lake. From this junction, the #413 continues downhill 0.5 mile to end at the trailhead (limited parking, no amenities) at Forest Road 2820 (Dead Point Road).

Contacts

Shared By:

Bruce Hope

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes

#8235

Overall
  4.2 from 5 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#240

in Oregon

#8,235

Overall
28 Views Last Month
2,057 Since Jan 30, 2018
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80%
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Photos

Mount Hood from the summit of Mount Defiance
Jan 30, 2018 near Cascade…, OR
Silver Star in winter from the summit of Mount Defiance
Jan 30, 2018 near Cascade…, OR
Mount Hood from Mount Defiance in winter
Jan 30, 2018 near Cascade…, OR
Cabin Creek Falls drops about 220 feet into a pool partially obscured by a fall block of basalt
Feb 3, 2019 near Hood River, OR
Hole in the Wall Falls was created in 1938 by blasting a tunnel through the rock to help prevent potential wash-outs of the Columbia River Highway
Feb 3, 2019 near Hood River, OR
Fall colors on the Mount Defiance Trail
Jan 30, 2018 near Hood River, OR

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May 24, 2019
Matt Catallo
Still reeling from the Eagle Creek Fire. Be very careful. Amazing and challenging run. 14mi — 2h 50m