Starvation Ridge to Mount Defiance Loop

Saturday, June 25, 2022

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous: 12.8 miles | 4,970-ft elev. gain

Before you register, please:

  • Read our updated digital Liability Waiver here. You will be asked to check a box acknowledging you read waiver during registration.
  • Read our COVID-19 Event FAQ here. Friends now requires participants to be vaccinated in order to attend outings. After you register, you will be asked to present proof of vaccination.
  • Complete the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker 48 hours before the outing.

Outing Description

Join Oregon Master Naturalist Cindy Luxhoj on a quest to scale Starvation Ridge and emerge victorious on the summit of Mt Defiance, the highest peak in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The group will then hike up Starvation Ridge, have a leisurely stroll by Warren Lake, complete the lollipop to Defiance’s summit, then the tortuous descent. We'll take this hike slow and steady, there's no race, just the satisfaction of knowing you have triumphed over one of the most difficult hikes in the Gorge.

* Only well-conditioned and well-prepared hikers should attempt very strenuous expert hike. The hike will generally be long and steep, and may include rock scrambling, stream crossings, and other challenging terrain. Generally 8 miles and over.

Trained volunteers lead Friends outings

  • Hike Leader: Cindy Luxhoj
  • Hike Shepherd(s): Steve Carples & Sharon Ross

What you can expect on this guided outing: This is a very strenuous and challenging hike, you should only attempt this hike if you are conditioned for very strenuous hikes. Be aware, you will have to cross talus (large rock) fields throughout the trail which can test your balance, hiking poles are recommended. This hike can be a steep, rocky descent on tired legs.

Hazards: Portions of this trail are on rocky talus, semi-rugged, and steep in sections. View the recommended 10+ Essentials List to help you pack.

What to Bring:

  • Lunch, snacks, and plenty of water (1 liter for every two hours);
  • 10+ Essentials in backpack;
  • Tecnu (poison oak wash);
  • Insect repellent (bug spray);
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen;
  • Hiking poles (if you have them, they will be very helpful when navigating the rocky area.);
  • A photo/copy of your vaccination card if proof not sent via email.

What to Wear:

  • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes, sneakers, or boots.
  • Long durable pants to protect from poison oak.
  • Dress for weather: extra layers of clothing for protection against wet or cold weather. Be ready to shed layers in hot temperatures.


  • 8:00 a.m. - Meet at the trailhead
  • 5:00 p.m. - Outing concludes back at the trailhead

Fee: None

Restrooms: Nearest restroom located at the trailhead.

Managed By: U.S. Forest Service

What to expect at a Friends guided outing: Expect a supportive and welcoming space where experienced hike leaders and shepherds guide you throughout Gorge outdoor spaces. Friends outings provide the opportunity to explore the Columbia Gorge, build community, and learn how Friends is the only conservation organization entirely dedicated to protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Gorge.

A confirmation email with outing details will be sent out 3-5 days before the event.

Questions? Please contact Melissa Gonzalez at or 971-634-1265.

Photo: Kate Lindberg