- Rating: Difficult
- Activity: Hike
- Distance: 3 miles round trip
The Cooper Spur Trail is a launchpad for many of Mount Hood’s steeliest adventurers. As far back as the late 1800s, the trail was the standard route for climbers seeking to reach the volcano’s 11,239-foot peak via the massive Eliot Glacier. And while the trailhead still bustles with mountaineers aiming for the summit, day hikers can also make a short but lung-burning push to a rustic stone climber’s shelter. There, situated at 6,700 feet, you can enjoy close-up views of Oregon’s largest glacier, plus sweeping vistas of Mounts Adams and Rainier.
ROUTE: From the Cloud Cap Saddle Campground, follow the Timberline Trail. After approximately
1 mile, the path joins the Cooper Spur Trail and begins a short, steep climb past stubby, white-barked pines. The shelter sits just to the right of the trail, off a short side path. Surrounded by giant gray boulders, it’s the perfect spot to lean back on a sun-warmed rock and witness the mountain’s lonely summit basking in the early-evening alpenglow.
TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS: From Hood River, head south on OR 35 for 23 miles. Turn right on Cooper Spur Road and go 2.4 miles to Cloud Cap Road (FS 3512). Turn right toward Cloud Cap Saddle Campground. Drive 8.5 miles up a bumpy dirt road to a T-junction. Turn right and continue for 1 mile to the trailhead. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.