- Starvation Creek State Park sits 10 miles west of Hood River; take I-84 East to Exit 54.
- Two grueling hikes, Mt. Defiance and Starvation Ridge, plus a network of less challenging trails highlight the area.
- Open year-round for no fee.
No one actually starved at the site of Starvation Creek State Park near Hood River, Oregon on the Columbia River Gorge. The local story says a train was once stopped by snowdrifts at this location and the passengers had to dig it out. Today, the park is best known for the myriad of hiking trails accessed in its vicinity, passing several relatively small but lovely waterfalls.
Location & Information
Find Starvation Creek State Park taking Exit 54 from Interstate 84 eastbound about 10 miles west of Hood River. Westbound traffic must double back from a later exit or park at the Viento trailhead (Exit 56) and walk two miles back to Starvation Creek. The park is day-use only, free to use; call 1 (800) 551-6949 for information.
Hiking is the primary draw to Starvation Creek State Park. Several trails head in or near the park spreading out into the adjacent National Forest area. Great hikes from Starvation Creek include:
- Mt. Defiance Trail is a grueling hike that some say is the most difficult in the entire Gorge. Mt. Defiance’s 4,960-foot summit is the Gorge’s highest point. The trail gains elevation quickly with few switchbacks, essentially just a vertical scale. It’s reputedly used by climbers in training for Mt. Hood—it’s that difficult—but the views from the top are amazing. Five Cascade volcanoes, Hood, St. Helens, Adams, Jefferson, and Rainier, are all visible from this peak.
- Starvation Ridge Trail. This is a tough hike, gaining 3,000 feet in less than 4 miles. The trail ends at Warren Lake, where backpackers can set up camp and catch good brook trout.
- For less strenuous but still challenging and enjoyable hikes, the Starvation Creek Exploration Trails are open all year and network around the park past waterfalls, rock formations, and gorge viewpoints.