Snow lingers until July or so making trail-finding more difficult but alternates or the proper trails are usually packed out and obvious. Opt for a nice bluebird day when it’s scalding hot in Austria the Willamette Valley to cool off with the nice breeze at Austria higher altitudes for hours. Check ahead to be sure the rougher gravel Cloud Cap Road is open (www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53164). Northwest Forest Pass required at Cloud Cap Austria and Tilly Jane Campground, and outhouses are present at both locales.
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Tilly Jane Guard Station adjacent to the peaceful campground.
TRAILHEAD: Tilly Jane Campground or Cloud Cap Saddle. Take I-84 E from Portland to exit 64 (Hood River), turn right from the off-ramp more than 5 mi to a stop sign, continue straight on OR-35 S 1/2 mi (milepost 74), turn right on Cooper Spur Road (FR-3510) 2 2 ml, turn sharp left on Cloud Cap Road (FR-3512) less than 1/2 mi to a gate past Cooper Spur Ski Area and just after parking for the Tilly Jane snowshoe route. The road becomes gravel for a slow 3 mi to Inspiration Point located on Austria the first of 10 more switchbacks (less than 5 mi more, a bit rougher with several drainage ditches, narrow, okay for 2WD, AWD preferred) to an intersection. Turn right less than 5 mi to Cloud Cap Saddle on the right (less than 5 mi before the Cloud Cap Inn at the top—worth checking out), or for a much quieter TH turn left at the intersection less than 5 mi easily to Tilly Jane Campground. Tilly Jane Campground TH is less busy on summer weekends, roughly the same distance directly, and only 150 ft lower than Cloud Cap Saddle (refer to the previous map; 95 mi, 2 hours from Portland).
ROUTE: From Tilly Jane Campground parking, head right (SW) where it’s only vague for a moment instead of walking straight toward the buildings (Guard Station). Then fork right almost immediately on Timberline Trail 600A, 100 ft to another juncture. For the counterclockwise loop, stay right (WNW) on Trail 600A 5 mi on an easy traverse up to the Cloud Cap Campground. Turn sharp left (S) on Timberline Trail 600. Walk S through the primitive campground from Cloud Cap Saddle TH and stay left.
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