Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Cloud Cap Road (No. 3512) will be closed to all visitors until further notice due to the numerous dead, standing hazard trees that line both sides of the road.
This closure applies not only to vehicle traffic, but also to foot, bicycle and horse access.
About 5,000 dead trees will need to be removed before the road can be used in a safe manner. The dead trees are beginning to fall now that several years have passed since the 2008 Gnarl Ridge Fire burned through the area.
The Gnarl Ridge Fire burned along both sides of the 9-mile-long road which provides vehicle access to the historic Cloud Cap Inn, Tilly Jane and Cloud Cap Campgrounds, Tilly Jane Guard Station, Tilly Jane A-Frame cabin and Cloud Cap Trailhead. The Forest Service is currently developing a hazard tree removal plan to remove trees within striking distance of the road.
Tilly Jane Trail (#643) remains open. This 3-mile trail provides hiking-only access to the Tilly Jane Campground, Cloud Cap Inn, Cloud Cap Campground and Timberline Trail (#600). Those wishing to access Timberline Trail from this side of the mountain will need to use the Tilly Jane Trailhead located at the closure gate at the bottom of the #3512 road, near Cooper Spur Ski Area.
Because of the large number of trees this will likely be done with heavy machinery and this may drive the need for environmental analysis and mitigations to insure that natural resources are protected during operations. The cost of the project also needs to be programmed in with other roads maintenance and recreational priorities during the next few budget cycles.
“I realize that this is an unfortunate situation, but these trees could fall at any time, especially on windy days, and we cannot put the public at risk on this high-use road,” said Hood River District Ranger Janeen Tervo.
While Cloud Cap Road is closed forest visitors may want to explore other forest roads that also offer views of Mount Hood and provide access to other scenic trails.
“Lolo Pass Road (#1800) and Laurance Lake Road (#2840) are great alternatives that offer scenic views of the Mount Hood area and provide access to Timberline Trail via numerous feeder trails,” said Tervo.
Cloud Cap Inn Tours are canceled this season due to the road closure. However, the Hood River Ranger District will present a lecture on the historic Cloud Cap Inn at The History Museum of Hood River County on Sundays starting July 14 at 2 p.m. The presentation will be included with the museum entrance fee.
For details about recreation options in the area, contact the Hood River Ranger District at 541-352-6002. The Mt. Hood National Forest website (www.fs.us-da.gov/mthood) is also a good resource for recreation opportunities on the forest and our Roads Conditions page contains details about closures and road hazards.
If you would like more information specifically about this road closure call Tervo at 541-352-1201.