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Cooper Spur Professional Review and Guide
"Though it’s not the toughest trail in this book, it is the highest—right up into the realm of the mountain climber. But while you’ll be in the world of rock and snow, you won’t wear yourself out getting here—well, not completely. You’ll also get to see the oldest buildings on Mount Hood and the results of a massive landslide and a recent forest fire."
--Paul Gerald, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland (Menasha Ridge Press).
BE ADVISED the other two reviews posted here are for Mirror Lake, on the other side of Mt Hood. In addition, this is not a year-round hike, as you are above treeline much of the time and the road is not plowed all the way to the trailhead. That said, Cooper Spur is a beautiful, moderately strenuous hike that provides spectacular views of Eliot Glacier.
The trail is well maintained, but the area around the lake is badly over-used. Don't expect any mountain solitude here. The place is overun with dogs, who love to swim in the lake, and small children, who don't.
Most of the best places to photograph the reflection of Mt. Hood in the water are overgrown with trees and brush.
It might be a nice place for a quick hiking workout if you happen to be passing by on a weekday. We did not take the trail to Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain - that looks like a real workout if you are in need of a conditioning hike that is easy to drive to.
This is a fantastic trail to hike! The Portland Hiking Meetup Group hiked up to the summit of Tom Dick and Harry with about three feet of snow on the ground and enjoyed fantastic vistas of Mirror Lake from above, as well as other nearby peaks (Hood, of course, as well as St. Helens, Ranier, etc). Check this hike out, it's worth your time! If possible, try to hit it mid-week to see fewer people.
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