Trek #39: Starvation Creek Falls

The Columbia River Gorge has many names for things which are false advertising: Dry Creek Falls which is incredibly wet and plentiful, as well as Starvation Creek Falls, which is a waterfall which is anything but starved.


This gorgeous 186 foot gusher, however, does have a rather interesting story behind its given moniker. The short of it is, on December 18th, 1884, a train carrying passengers westbound into Portland smacked straight into a snowdrift by the Starvation Creek area (not yet named so), literally stopping the train on its tracks. Passengers were paid $3 a day to help dig out the train, while women helped to cook meals out of any and all food on board, including livestock that were traveling as well. After three weeks the train was finally dug out and continued onward, reaching its destination in Portland on January 7th. The good news is, no one actually starved. The bad news is, they spent both Christmas and New Years digging themselves out of a snowdrift. And you thought travel was chaotic during the holidays.

You can also continue on from Starvation Creek Falls to Mount Defiance, which according to all sources, just might be the most difficult hike in the entire Columbia River Gorge, on both the Oregon or Washington side. A nearly 12 mile hike, according to Portland Hikers Field Guide, they give it a rating of difficult only because they can’t rate it anything higher. And these guys tend to downplay challenging trails. Needless to say, my trek ended at Starvation Creek Falls.

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Treks Down: 39, Treks to Go: 13

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