It takes the Trail 3.2 miles with 1,900 feet of elevation gain to reach the Timberline Trail, which circles Mt. Hood. For the first two miles the Trail climbs through an older forest with scattered rhodies and beargrass along the path. It then comes out into the open, climbing through a series of boggy meadows and providing passing views of the Summit.
After reaching the Timberline Trail it was roughly one-half mile to the southeast to gain a wonderful overlook of Elk Cove and the Coe Glacier. After enjoying the views, I left the main Trail and began following an old climbers’ trail to the south. I passed Dollar Lake at 6,000 feet and then climbed 1.3 miles to a 7,300-foot knoll on Barrett Spur. The Spur is a steep ridge situated between the Coe and Ladd Glaciers with commanding views in all directions. (Past the knoll the Spur drops down to a saddle and then climbs to a 7,850-foot summit. The last stretch is too steep and treacherous to do alone though.)
I relaxed, ate a snack and took lots of photos from the top of the knoll. (It looks green from a distance due to some scattered alpine vegetation and whitebark pines.) The vista to the north was amazing. The entire expanse of the peaks of the Columbia Gorge could be seen, from Larch Mountain in the west to Mt. Defiance in the east. Beyond the Gorge mountains stood the three crowned jewels of the Cascades; Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.
Overall, the hike was 10.6 miles in length with 3,800 feet of elevation gain. Life doesn’t get much better!