Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap, Mt. Hood

Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap, Mt. Hood, OR

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Backcountry CampsitesHistorical LandmarksBig Vistas (Viewpoints)SheltersHiking (difficult)
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area
Total distance: 
6.80 miles
Trailhead elev.: 
5,850 ft.
Net elev. gain: 
2,660 ft.
Trail type: 
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Dogs allowed: 
Road condition: 
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
NW Forest Pass
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Tyson Gillard | 09.19.12
View of Mount Hood (11,250') from the Cloud Cap Inn.

Trip Report

Amazing views of Mount Hood, Rainier and Adams. Camping at the trailhead and along the trail.

Mount Hood is the second-most-climbed* glaciated mountain on earth. Adventurers have been climbing to the top of Mount Hood via its formidable north side for over a hundred years, while an overwhelming majority scale to the top via Timberline Lodge along the mountain's southern route. The northern and far more challenging route follows a prominent ridgeline just east of Eliot glacier called Cooper Spur.

In 1885, David Rose Cooper built a dauntingly-steep, 22-percent grade wagon road up to 6,000 feet at the base of Eliot Glacier.  This road cleared the way for visitors to experience being in such a remote place with dramatic views of Mount Hood's summit, Mount Jefferson to the south, and Mounts Adams, Rainier and St. Helens to the north. A few years later, William Ladd and C.E.S. Wood purchased the road and started the Mount Hood Stage Co. They built a new road, the one still used today, and constructed a timber lodge called the Cloud Cap Inn. Interestingly, the architect who designed the Inn would later become the architect of the famous Forestry Building for the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland in 1905. Due to its remote location, the Inn never truly took off, and it switched owners numerous times before finally being sold to the Forest Service in 1942. Since 1952 the Inn has been maintained and occupied exclusively by Crag Rats, the oldest search and rescue organization in North America, who use it as a base for snow surveys, training, rescues and general gatherings.

Adjacent to Cloud Cap Inn, the trail for Cooper Spur starts at the very modest Cloud Cap Campground.  The campground has six campsites with picnic tables, fire pits and access to potable water.  The campground is operated on a first-come, first-served basis.

* Mount Fuji in Japan is the most-climbed glaciated mountain.

Note: Tours of the historic inn are often arranged by the Mount Hood National Forest Service. Contact the Hood River District Information Desk at 541.352.6002 for more information.

Related Video

Oregon Field Guide | 11.01.12
Cloud Cap Inn.

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