Groomed trail
No
Elevation Gain
?
Distance
18.00 mi (28.97 km)
Warming hut
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cloud Cap Road provides a scenic and gradually-graded route to several facilities surrounding the Cloud Cap Campground, including the Tilly Jane A-Frame, the Cloud Cap Inn, and the Tilly Jane Guard Station.  Each is available to rent for overnight stays, though the campground is closed in the winter.  Aside from providing winter access to the cabins, the trail is a great destination in itself, offering incredible views of Mount Hood, the Cascade Peaks to the north, and the surreal landscape of a post-wildfire forest. It is a good destination for anyone who wants to test their stamina on the 9-mile, 2,300-foot climb.

The trail can be combined with the shorter Tilly Jane Trail to form a loop, or done as a there-and-back adventure. If you are traveling the full loop, be aware of the trail gradients; the Tilly Jane Trail is a steeper approach that could make for some advanced cross-country skiing terrain on the way down, especially if you are skiing without metal edges.  Depending on your mode of transportation, it may be advisable to ascend via Tilly Jane Trail and descend via Cloud Cap Road.

The skiable section of Cloud Cap Road starts at the east edge of the parking area. The route follows Forest Road 3512 as it switchbacks along a ridge above the Elliot Branch of the East Fork of Hood River. Despite the elevation gain, the road is evenly graded for the entire 9 miles; other than the distance and elevation, it makes for a moderate ski trail. The majority of the route passes through the remnants of the 2008 Gnarl Ridge Wildfire, leaving much of the trail exposed and offering great views.

Forest Road 3512 ends at the Cloud Cap Campground parking area.  The Tilly Jane Trail #643 continues to the south, passing the Tilly Jane Guard station and crossing a creek bed before climbing quickly back up to an American Legion amphitheater and shuttered bunkhouse. The A-Frame is just beyond the bunkhouse.  If you use the Cloud Cap Road to return, there are many opportunities for steeper descents by cutting through switchbacks on the way down. The Wagon Road Trail #642 does just this, but is not clearly defined in winter.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Men's and Women's • $229.95 • Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Men's and Women's • $475.00 • Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

$189.95 • 35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Men's and Women's • $134.25 • Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

$79.95 • Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Men's Powdercloud • $181.61 • Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Men's and Women's • $149.95 • Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Men's and Women's • $64.95 • Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

 

If you are snowshoeing into avalanche terrain, you should be prepared, equipped and educated on how to use avalanche rescue and snow safety gear - including but not limited to an avalanche beacon/transceiver, probe, and shovel.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)

Pros

Historic accommodation. Excellent views. Uncrowded approach.

Cons

Accommodation can be crowded and booked. Long and difficult climb via Cloud Cap Road.

Trailhead Elevation

3,800.00 ft (1,158.24 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,300.00 ft (701.04 m)

Features

Lodging
Snowshoeing
Big vistas
Warming hut

Trail type

There-and-back

Typically multi-day

No

Snowmobiles allowed

Yes

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

11/19/2016
Is the road drivable? Say I wanted to drive as close as possible to the Tilly Jane A-Frame Cabin, could it be done in the middle of winter? If not a car, how about a snow mobile?
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