Pinnacle Ridge and Barnett Spur

Pinnacle Ridge

I’ve always enjoyed the Pinnacle Ridge Trail on the north side of Mt. Hood. Back in the aughts on a grand day, it provided spectacular views as far as the eye could see. This is an old trail that sees little use, although I have always found it to be one of the nicest approaches to the alpine areas on the Mountain. On a sad note, over the years the area has suffered much wildfire damage and the Trail is not in great shape.

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.

Barnett Spur

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 summitThe 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!

Ladd Glacier

Pine Squirrel

Hikers heading down Barnett Spur

Small waterfall on Pinnacle Trail

Dollar Lake

Hikers on upper Barnett Spur

Old Man of the Mountain

Coe Glacier and the Summit of Mt. Hood

Categories: Mt. Hood Wilderness HikesTags: , , , ,


  1. How wonderful to see these magnificent photos, John, and hear about your hearty alpine hike. I am always thrilled to see a glacier. That Barnett Spur looks like a very tricky trail, yikes. Thanks very much.

  2. Wow, really beautiful. When I first looked at the pic of Dollar Lake, the boulder to the right looked like a covered wagon. Silly me. Have to tell you again how much I enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing. Sandy

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