Under the Stars near Portland

Northern Oregon Cascades: Cloud Cap
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Roughly 38 miles south of Hood River, Oregon. Take Ore. 35 for 24 miles, turn onto Cooper Spur Road, then turn onto FS 3512 and continue another 10 miles on a winding gravel road.
Travel time : Approximately 2-1/2 hours.
Information : (503) 622-3360.
Reservations : No.
Fee : No camping fee; Northwest Forest Pass required.
Open : Late June or early July until road closed by snow.

At 5,900 feet high, this is the highest campground on Mount Hood, and is located on the edge of the windswept pumice fields on the eastern flanks of the mountain near Cooper Spur (a popular climbing route to the summit of Mount Hood). The campground isn't very big, and therein lies part of its beauty. Even if the campground is full, you won't feel as though you're in a refugee camp (as you do at some of the larger state park campgrounds). Because this campground is at the end of a winding gravel road, it tends to attract people committed to a quiet camping experience.

Hiking and mountain climbing are the main activities up this way, and from the campground, you can hike four miles or more up Cooper Spur or head out on the Timberline Trail. Head west on this latter trail, and you'll cross a couple of roaring creeks (which often must be forded) and pass through thick forest before reaching the wildflower meadows of the Elk Cove area. Hike south, and you immediately strike out across barren pumice slopes with big views out across the dry lands of central Oregon.


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