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Elk Cove Trail is 3.9 miles long and leads to one of the most popular meadowland basins on Mount Hood.

Elk Cove Trail climbs a gentle slope to a wilderness entry sign and then switchbacks up to the crest of the ridge. After another mile, a rock outcrop occurs to the left of the trail. This overlook (Inspiration Point) provides a fine view into Coe Branch Canyon and of Mount Hood. The trail continues climbing, steeply at times, until just before reaching a shallow stream. Typically in mid-July the ground beneath the large conifers is white with a carpet of Avalanche Lilies. After crossing the stream, the trail makes several short, gentle switchbacks up a broad ravine to reach a junction with the Timberline trail on the edge of the cove. The remains of a stone shelter are located just a few yards to the southeast. The broken and bleached snags that make the cove attest to the power and frequency of avalanches thundering down from Barret Spur. To reach the summit of Barret Spur, take the Timberline trail west. After rounding the ridge, the trail traverses above a talus slope and the ground above the trail becomes less steep. An unmarked trail follows a shallow depression to Dollar Lake.
From the lake, climb the ridge to the summit at 7,853'. Depending on the time of year, the ridge can be rocky, snowy, icy or a combination of all three. Use extreme caution and stay away from the edge of steep snowy banks. This is a climb of nearly 2,500' above Elk Cove.

Directions: From Hood River, Travel south on Highway 35 for approximately 14 miles to the community of Mount Hood. Turn right at the general store onto Cooper Spur road and continue for another mile. At the traffic light, turn right towards Parkdale. Turn left on Clear Creek road (across from McIsaacs Market) and drive south for approximately five miles to Road 2840 (Laurence Lake Road). After passing Kinnickinnick Campground at Laurence Lake, continue to the left on Road 2840. Continue another mile further to a road junction and turn left onto Road 650 (a right turn heads to the Pinnacle Ridge trail). Follow this rough road another mile and the trail begins at a bend in the road. Parking is limited and larger vehicles may have difficulty turning around.

Distance: 3.9 miles

Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous

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Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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