Starvation Creek Ridge Loop
Central Gorge, Oregon
View of the Columbia River from Starvation Creek Ridge trail (photographer: Micheal Drewry)
Hike Details
Type:
Loop
Distance:
2.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
700 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
No
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
No
Trail Details
WaterfallWaterfall
Start this hike by hiking on the new section of the Historic Highway Sate Trail that runs alongside I-84 for about 1/10 mile. After hiking another 1/10 mile, you will come to a junction with the Starvation Cutoff Trail (#414B). Turn left here and head up the hill. It's easy to miss so this turn-off so pay attention. The junction is before Cabin Creek Falls. We encourage you to hike the loop in a clockwise direction (as described here) as it is safer to go uphill than downhill.
 
The trail begins a steep ascent—really steep. Once you reach the top, the trail intersects the Starvation Ridge trail (#414).  Turn right onto this trail and cross Cabin Creek. You will continue to climb from here up to the Starvation Ridge viewpoint. A gentle descent will take you through meadows that are filled with wildflowers in the spring, and down to a Warren Creek Crossing. At the junction with the Mount Defiance Trail, turn left here and head up the Mount Defiance Trail a short distance to Lancaster Falls. When you're done here, head back the way you came to the last trail junction. Continue down the Mount Defiance trail toward the trailhead. Soon you'll pass Hole-in-the-Wall Falls, then returning to the Historic Highway State Trail. Finally, the hike ends at Cabin Creek Falls. There are several spots along the Historic Highway here to enjoy the beauty of a waterfall after your hardy hike.
 
Please note: Depending on how far you hike from this trailhead, you may be entering the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Wilderness restrictions apply.
 
- Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of oregonhikers.org.
 
Other hikes leading from Starvation Creek Trailhead include:

Driving Directions

Starvation Creek Trailhead:  Traveling east on I-84, take Exit #55/Starvation Creek State Park and Rest Area (eastbound exit only). Traveling west on I-84, you'll continue past Exit #55 to Exit #51/Wyeth and come back east. The Starvation Ridge and Mt. Defiance trails begin at the west end of the parking lot by walking alongside the freeway. Starvation Creek Falls is east of the restrooms.

Community Connection

Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.

Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)

Preserve Story

The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.

The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.

In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.

Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)