In mid-August on a hot, sunny day I drove to the 5,900-foot Cloud Cap Saddle Campground on the northeast side of Mt. Hood. Forest fires had burned in the area the last several summers, but had left the campground and trailhead untouched.
Cloud Cap is a very popular staging area for mountain climbers and hikers. In fact, I had originally planned to reach Tie-in Rock (where mountain climbers typically rope up) at 8,900 feet, only 2,300 feet below the Summit.
The weather was spectacular with the early morning sunshine providing very nice light for photos of the Mountain and Elliot Glacier. I began the hike by skirting the moraine below the Glacier, reaching Cooper Spur in a mile. After a short ascent of the Spur, I spotted a shelter built of stones by the CCC in the 1930s. From there the Trail began steeply ascending the Spur, providing many vistas of the Glacier and Mountain. At 8,200 feet the Trail entered a deep snowfield. To reach the top of the Spur, I would have had to continue off-trail and up through the rocks. Other hikers were doing exactly that, but I decided to stop, enjoy the views and eat lunch.
After taking many photos, I returned to the Trailhead. It was a fun hike of seven miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.
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