Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
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  • View of Mount Hood (11,250 ft) from the Cloud Cap Inn.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Cloud Cap Inn.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Cloud Cap Campground.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • - Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Lupine (Lupinus).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • View looking down Tilly Jane Creek.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Sitka Mountain-ash (Sorbus sitchensis).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Scraggly lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) along the trail.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • - Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • View of Cooper Spur shelter, looking north.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft) and Eliot Glacier.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Unidentified buckwheat species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Looking north down the bottom end of Eliot Glacier.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Mount Hood's Eliot Glacier.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Looking back down at the Cloud Cap Inn.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Roots of an old lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft) and Eliot Glacier.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Light fades during blue hour as the moon brightens above Mount Hood as seen from Cloud Cap.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • The sun peaks out from behind the Cooper Spur Shelter.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
  • Mount Hood from the Cooper Spur Shelter.- Cooper Spur + Cloud Cap Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views of Mount Hood, Rainier and Adams. Camping at the trailhead and along the trail.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,660.00 ft (810.77 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,850.00 ft (1,783.08 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(55 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(157 within a 30 mile radius)

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