For a small taste of the Starvation Ridge/Mt. Defiance loop hike, do the 2 1/2-mile lower loop hike.
The short one-half mile, very steep ascent on the Starvation Ridge connector trail will get the blood pumping.
The reward is three large waterfalls and a great viewpoint of the eastern Columbia River Gorge.
If you enjoy the hike enough, come back in a month and do the 5,000-foot elevation-gain hike to Mt. Defiance. It’s probably the toughest day hike in the Portland area.
I have done the difficult 11-mile loop hike an even dozen times. Who knows, maybe this year will be lucky number 13.