A Classic Hike up Mt. Hood’s Cooper Spur

Cooper Spur is on the Northeast side of Mt. Hood, bordering the Eliot Glacier.

In mid-August of an early year of the millennium, I drove to the Cloud Gap Campground early in the morning. The drive to the Campground is on a very rough dirt road with many potholes, but the scenery is magnificent. Nearby is the Cloud Gap Inn, an old building used and maintained by the Crag Rats.

The Trailhead is at 5,900 feet. In a little more than a mile the Trail reaches a stone shelter at 6,700 feet built by the CCCs in the 1930’s.

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams behind the rock shelter

Summit of Mt. Hood above the rock shelter

Then the Trail begins switchbacking up Cooper Spur with views from time to time of Eliot Glacier. Soon it becomes seriously steeper and more exposed, ending at 8,900 feet. At this altitude, or lower, climbers tie-in prior to ascending the remaining 2,300 feet to the summit of Mt. Hood.

Steep trail up Cooper Spur

Tie-in Rock

Early in the morning of my hike there was an interesting cloud formation over the mountain.

The Glacier had a reddish hue due to the iron in the rocks being ground to dust by the movement of the Glacier. Also, in places, the Glacier appeared bluish due to the denseness of the ice and its effect on white light.

Elliot Glacier

Mt. Jefferson and the Sisters from Cooper Spur

Hikers heading down Cooper Spur

On a nice summer day, this is one of the premier alpine hikes in the Pacific Northwest. If the access road to the trailhead wasn’t so rough, it would see much more use.





Categories: Bucket List of Apine Hikes, Mt. Hood Wilderness Hikes, Oregon Cascades HikesTags:

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