On the first Saturday of September 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, it’s possible 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 Eliot Glacier, but the sou-easterly wind was brisk and cold.
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 roughly 8,000 feet the Trail reached a nice overlook. I decided to call it quits and enjoy the scenery for awhile.