Distance: 6.4 miles round trip. Duration: 3-4 hrs. Elevation gain: 2800 feet. About a two hour drive from Portland, OR. Breathtaking views of Mt. Hood (it's right there in front of you). Views of Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and eastern Oregon. From the top you can hear Elliot Glacier creaking and groaning.

Cooper Spur is located on the north east side of Mount Hood. This is the hike to do if you want to get up close and personal with the mountain.

To get there you have to drive around 10 miles up a bumpy dirt road, once off the main road. Low-clearance vehicles can make it but high clearance vehicles with four-wheel drive will have an easier time.

Cooper Spur trail is accessed from the Cloud Cap Trailhead parking lot, which is also home to Cloud Cap Inn and Cloud Cap Campground. The Inn is closed to visitors but the camp ground is a good place to spend the night if you want to get an early start on the trail.

The trail starts out in an old-growth forest. Shortly after you will come across a split in the trail. The left is a more gradual trail while the right is steep and will take you immediately up on the ridge-line. Once on the ridge there are steep drop-offs to the right so if you are afraid of heights take the left trail.

A little over a mile in you will come across the Cooper Spur shelter, one of the few remaining stone shelters along the Timberline Trail. If you are backpacking you will find a few flat spots around the shelter to pitch a tent.

From here you'll climb higher, going up switchbacks until you reach the top of Cooper Spur.

Notes:

  • A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead. You can pay for a day pass at the trailhead ($5) or you can obtain a year pass ($30) at a ranger station or at your local REI.
  • This trail is popular and gets pretty busy on the weekends. Either go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. If you pick the later just make sure to bring a headlight as the terrain can be pretty tricky navigating in the dark. The upside is you will be rewarded with an amazing sunset view.
  • Most years the snow doesn't clear till the end of June, making this a good July - October hike.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Water (around 2 liters)
  • Cellphone
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Map of the trail
  • Compass
  • Light jacket or puffy
  • Trekking poles (not necessary but can help with some of the steep climbs)
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Activities Photography, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Raddest hike ever

Probably on my list of top hikes locally. Did it once with some friends for the eclipse but on my 16th birthday, came up and spent an overnighter just under the shelter. No wind, craziest sunrise ever, perfect times. Hike itself is decent to kinda tough, but especially if your carrying a full camp pack. Also, watch out on the ridge if there’s any high wind. Would totally recommend. Cheers and play it safe, especially if your rolling solo

Incredible!

This was an amazing hike with great views of hood. It was so cool to get so close to Eliot Glacier! It was a strenuous hike but if you just take your time it's totally doable for most people. I saw a lot of people without hiking poles but I would definitely recommend using them, very helpful. Also I didn't bring gloves but I wish I had because when you get close to the glacier it is freezing! With crazy winds! Such a fun and beautiful hike!

Beautiful-- One Of The Best Hikes

This is one of the best hikes I've been on. Between the two glaciers, and view of five mountains (I was fortunate enough to have a clear day), and the mesmerizing expanse of mt hood I highly recommend it. Continue up the ridge line until an elevation of 8900ft. Worth the extra burn to get that close to the mountain. Trail is a bit of choose your own adventure. I went up elk cove, which I later learned was closed from a flood in 2006. The best hike route is the hardest-- the near vertical ridge line all the way up the side. Choose the inner mountain switch backs on the way down to save the knees. Poles suggested for hike down. Mad respect to low clearance vehicles who can make it through the sand ditch half way up the road. I didn't go into 4wheel drive but came close.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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