This is a great 3 mile loop with 4 waterfalls, scenic overlooks of the Columbia River, as well as great forest and creeks. This hike has it all!
The first mile is mostly up, but after that the trail levels out and then goes down. I would consider this a moderate level hike. I have now done this hike in the Fall and then again in the Spring, both are great seasons for this trail. The fall has great fall colors with all the Oak on the trail, and spring has numerous wildflowers. Today the Lupine and Balsamroot were on full bloom. There were many other flowers, but I do not know the names.
From the parking lot walk West along the highway. This section is actually part of the historic highway that was never removed. There is a barrier between the trail and the real highway. About a quarter of a mile in there will be a trail that heads uphill on your left. It is before you reach Cabin Creek Falls. Take the trail uphill for about 4/10 of a mile. There is a trail intersection – stay to the west (right) and continue to cross the creek. Then go uphill again to a great scenic overlook of the Columbia River. You will be looking directly at Dog Mountain on the Washington side and Wind Mountain is slightly West. Continue on the trail, go under the power lines, and down the hill. The open hillside has great wildflowers in the Spring. Eventually the trail insects Mt Defiance trail – go west at the intersection for about 100 yards to Lancaster Falls. After visiting these falls retrace your steps back to the intersection then go downhill. Stay on the trail, you will see 2 more waterfalls, then find yourself back at the car.
The first waterfall is Starvation Creek Falls and it is not far from the parking area – just East up the paved trail. The other 3 waterfalls are at the end of the loop – assuming you do the uphill portion first. I would recommend taking the trail to the left (after walking West next to the freeway about .25 mile) because this portion is steep and easier to hike up than down. The first waterfall you will come to is Lancaster Falls and it is up the Mt. Defiance trail (towards the end of the loop) about 100 yards. You will see the lower section (can stand in it if you want) but the upper tier is hard to see from the trail. After visiting Lancaster Falls retrace your steps and continue downhill. The next fall is Hole In The Wall falls (the water comes out a hole in the rock). This waterfall is also a 2 tier fall. The last waterfall is Cabin Creek Falls. This has a small marked access trail that leads to the base of the falls. It is behind a huge rock from the main trail.