Hike Cooper Spur

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Added by Isaac Koval

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.
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Forest
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🥇Top Contributor

4 months ago

It doesn't get any better than this!

An easy hike that takes you right up to the climber's route, Cooper Spur offers incredible views of glaciers and the surrounding skyline. This hike is almost entirely above tree line, so bring your sunscreen!

🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

Great great great

This is a classic hike for anyone wanting to explore PNW! Highly recommend

over 2 years ago

One of my new PDX favorites!

The drive may seem a little daunting, but it's well worth it. I had no trouble getting my car up the gravel stretch--just take it slow and watch for ruts. I went early and had the entire mountainside to myself. Once you get past the shelter, you can hear the Elliot Glacier creaking and popping. At the end of the trail, if you traverse the ridge that leads to the foot of one of the glaciers near the peak, there's a fantastically smooth rock that's perfect for a mid-afternoon nap. As of 10/15/18, the trail was mostly clear with some snow pack on the last half mile.

almost 3 years ago

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

over 4 years ago

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!

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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