Hike 42
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Cooper Spur Hike
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Map of the Cooper Spur Hike

Length: 7.8 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 2600' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Difficult
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required
GPS:   N45 24.15, W121 39.294
Latitude:   45.4025
Longitude:   -121.6549


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

Now here's a unique hike. Starting at the Cloud Cap camp area, you follow the Timberline Trail #600 south and uphill. You start out in large high altitude hemlock. But soon, you break free of any tree called large, and you begin some serious elevation change. As you walk through dunes of mountain ash and boulders, you are surrounded by constantly changing vistas. Trail is marked by large piles of rocks with wood posts sticking out of them.... cairns of a sort.

You will cross a couple of springs that have lush green vegetation. But thats the last of the water you'll see for a while. You soon climb uphill through a thick grove of whitebark pine and wonderful lupines. Look back over your shoulder for great views of Mt Adams and Mt Rainier.

At about 1.25 miles you will come to the junction of this Timberline Trail and the trail from Tilly Jane campground. Bear right at this junction and begin the steady steep climb up Cooper Spur. In just a short distance notice the old stone shelter build so long ago to provide protection for mountaineers caught in unfriendly weather. The vistas just keep getting better.

In about a mile, the trail will bring you right to the edge of the Eliot Glacier moraine. Here you can enjoy some of the most unique views anywhere. By now you are way above timberline and the only flowers are a few hardy alpine species that somehow survive up here. I believe one of them is called partridge foot. Another looks like a miniature aster.

The remaining mile is very steep. Lots of switchbacks and often a large snowfield blocks the last quarter mile of the trail. It is best to just scramble up the side of the hill to the summit of Coopers Spur. Once you arrive, you'll see many shelters built by folks wanting to stay overnight out of the wind. The sky at this elevation is almost black. The views on a clear day are just as extreme. This hike is more than worth the effort.

Stone Storm Shelter at the base of Cooper Spur
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow Oregon Hwy 35 south of Hood River or north from Hwy 26 near Government Camp until you come to Road 3510 indicating the Cooper Spur Ski area and Resort. Follow Road 3510 for a couple of miles and at the resort you will see Road 3512 to Cloud Cap clearly marked. Follow this road for about 10 miles to the junction to Tilly Jane campground. Bear right at this point and arrive at the trailhead about a mile later.

Note: This is the same trailhead for the Cooper Spur hike and the Elk Cove hike.

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