Photography at Starvation Creek State Park

In my opinion, Starvation Creek State Park is one of the most underrated photography destinations in the Columbia River Gorge. That is likely because it is on the far end of the Gorge from Portland. It is located on the Oregon side of the Gorge a little west of Hood River. The biggest and best waterfall at the State Park is Starvation Creek Falls and it is located just off the freeway. You can reach 3 additional waterfalls, Cabin Creek Falls, Lancaster Falls, and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls, with just a short hike.

Starvation Creek Falls

Starvation Creek Falls can be seen from the parking lot. It is a tall waterfall with multiple levels, but not a ton of waterflow.

The parking lot is next to the creek at the base of the falls. To get good views of the waterfall, you will likely have to explore around the creek a little bit as the angles are not the best and there are trees blocking the view of the waterfall.

I found that crossing over the creek, which was not difficult if you avoided the slippery rocks, to be necessary to make a good composition.

While the most impressive compositions, in my opinion, are made along the creek, it is worth exploring and hiking up the waterfall a bit.

There is no trail, but you can follow along the creek most of the way, with a little climbing, to see sections of the waterfall that are not easily viewable from the base.

I also loved the creek as it tumbles down from the waterfall, there are a lot of great little compositions to find.

This visit was on Thanksgiving day and you can see there were still some fall colors that were good for the scene. If you go in the Spring, you will get a lot more green though.

This shot above was one of my favorite parts of the waterfall. I thought it was cooler in person than the image conveys. I liked the five different streams that flowed over the rocks.

Going further up was a bit disappointing. I was hoping to get a good view of the top section of the waterfall, but the angles and obstructions preventing me from finding the shot I wanted.

The next two images were my favorites from this top portion of the waterfall.

This is as far up as I climbed as it was really slippery and I did not see any potential shots that made me want to climb any further.

Cabin Creek Falls

Cabin Creek Falls is the first waterfall you see on the trail that heads west from the parking lot. It is just a few minutes walk from the parking lot.

Cabin Creek Falls is not much of a waterfall and definitely not worth the trip on its own. However, since you are there for the other waterfalls, you might as well make the stop as it is just steps from the trail.

Hole in the Wall Falls

The next waterfall you reach walking along the trail is Hole in the Wall Falls. My favorite view is the one from the trail as you are approaching the waterfall as it is the only place where you can see the whole waterfall really well.

As you may have suspected from the name, the cool thing about this waterfall is that it literally comes out of a hole in the wall.

You can go off trail a little bit and climb up higher to get a better view of the top of the waterfall, but the compositions aren’t great as you lose the bottom portion of the falls. I got these next three images from about the highest point you can easily reach.

Starvation Ridge Trail

The trail is really easy and flat until you start to head to the last waterfall. While the hike gets steeper here, you get the bonus of enjoying the views from the Starvation Ridge Trail.

Lancaster Falls

Lancaster Falls is the final waterfall you can easily reach at Starvation Creek State Park. It is about a mile hike from the parking lot, a chunk of which has some decent elevation gain.

Lancaster Falls is not really anything special so if you are not up for the elevation gain and just want to keep it easy, I would stop at Hole in the Wall Falls. This small waterfall has one decent drop and then it tumbles down the hillside. There are not a lot of great compositions that I could find.


If you haven’t yet been to Starvation Creek State Park, I highly recommend it. While it is a bit of a drive from the Portland area, the easy access from the parking lot saves you a lot of time. Even if you are just driving through the Gorge, it is worth stopping to see and shoot just Starvation Creek Falls as it is right off the Freeway, easier to reach even than Multnomah Falls.

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