||11.8 Mile Loop
|| N: 45° 38' 53"
W: 121° 43' 15"
To Reach (From
Take I-84 eastbound
approximately 50 miles, ten miles past Cascade Locks. Take the Starvation
Creek exit near milepost 54. (From Hood River take Wyeth exit #51 turn
around and head back east). The "closed" sign is only for the restrooms,
not the trail or parking area.
This trek to
the highest summit in the Columbia River Gorge gains nearly 5000 feet
in less than six miles, giving even the most well-conditioned hiker a
real workout. Mountain climbers use this trail as preparation for
climbing mountains (or as we've heard, they climb mountains to prepare
for this trail!). There are easy trails that you can take in the
area, such as the 2.5 mile option to Hole-In-The-Wall Falls, but most
people take a deep breath and go for it.
Once at the trailhead,
follow the path along the shoulder of the freeway to the west , until
it veers into the woods. You'll pass Cabin Creek Falls, and after
0.8 miles, cross a footbridge below 100-foot Hole-In-The-Wall Falls (so
named because it comes out of a tunnel in the mountain). In another
0.1 mile, you'll come to the Starvation Ridge Trail. Continue straight
past the Starvation Ridge Trail junction for another 0.2 miles to 20-foot
Lancaster Falls. At this point, you're thinking "this isn't so bad!".
That's where the fun begins...
0.5 miles or so, the trail launches upward. You'll follow switchback
after switchback through the woods for three miles or so before
coming to Mitchell Point Trail. Continue uphill to the right for
0.2 miles, until you come to an unmarked trail to the right. Take
this unmarked trail and clamber across the rocks, taking in great views
along the way. Curve to the left up to the microwave towers at the
To return, walk
past the fenced microwave building to an old wooden trail sign.
Take the road downhill, past two dirt road crossings. When you hit
the Mitchell Point trail, turn right. You'll drop down to Warren
Lake, where you can take a swim on a hot day. After the lake, continue
for another half mile where you'll take a left on the Starvation Ridge
Trail. Continue downhill, wincing at the pain in your knees,
until turning right on the Starvation Cutoff Trail at the bottom to return
to the car.
We hit this trail
to help prepare for the summer's mountain climbs, and it certainly did
that! Pat, Gabe, Tom, Sandra, and I went with the Ptarmigans Outdoor
Club during our training with their mountaineering school. It was
late April, and the snow level was still about 2,500 feet. We should
have brought snowshoes, since there was some pretty serious postholing
I carried a pack
full of rocks and water on this day, and made it without much trouble,
so I felt good about hitting the snowpeaks. Tom struggled a bit,
wondering what he was thinking, and Sandra shrieked in pain as her torn
meniscus was aggravated by the postholing. The weather was fine,
and our trekking poles (highly recommended) got a good workout on this
This trail is
not for the faint of heart, but if you want a good workout, and your knees
are good, it is a pleasant hike, and quite fulfilling, with creek crossings,
waterfalls, and views. The trail is often obscured by snow until
late June. For more information, visit our photo gallery by clicking
the link below or visit the sites in the table at the bottom of the page.
SEE SLIDE SHOW NOW!!