McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

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ghsmith76
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McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by ghsmith76 » October 5th, 2018, 8:45 am

Why did it take me so long to get to McNeil Point. I don't think a campsite next to Mt Hood can get any better. Yes, I have hiked past the trail to McNeil Point a number of times, each time saying that I should go check it out, only to rationalize that I have to move on. Well finally I planned a trip specifically for McNeil Point, and when you have the luxury of choosing how and when you tend to end up with one of those awesome experiences. As a backpacker in the Pacific Northwest, October signals that you better make the most of any good days left for high country packing. McNeil Point was the perfect choice and to do it on a weekday is probably the only way I would have been able to get a spot to park at the Top Spur Trailhead.

This was the first time I have used the Top Spur Trailhead and yes the parking area is small, but the access and road conditions are great by forest road standards. The overall hike to McNeil Point is about 5 miles and 2000' vertical but it is an excellent trail with only a moderate incline. The hike is broken up into nice chunks with the first required option taking the loop around Bald Mountain.

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Again, why have I not taken that little detour when I was doing the Timberline Trail. You take in the view and then use the Cutoff Trail to get back over to clockwise Timberline Trail.

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Now you get to climb a ridge trail for a little over a mile up to the next gorgeous view of McNeil Point next to Mt Hood. This was my previous Mt Hood view highlight from my Timberline Trail trips.

Back into the forest where the ground foliage autumn colors are starting turn. Shortly after this view you have the choice to take the short but steeper trail up to McNeil Point. I decided against that option not since the other route is so nice and relatively easy. This section over to the McNeil Point trail is the area where Brook got lost on my Timberline Trail trip a month ago. I think she remembered it. She has definitely stayed much closer to me since. It was afternoon so I was mostly meeting day hikers coming down. It is always interesting to observe their response to telling them that you plan on camping at McNeil. Some think you are crazy and some are totally envious.

So on up to McNeil Point on a beautiful trail up a ridge line and then cutting over to an option to the shelter or up above.

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I arrived around 3 pm and spent about an hour hiking up and down the ridge above the shelter looking for the optimum campsite.

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The wind was going to be a factor so I was looking for wind shelter but I also wanted a view of the mountain. I settled on a spot not to far above the shelter which gave me the mountain view along with a good valley view.

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There are a number of sites with rock walls and I do believe the wind break helped a lot throughout the windy night.

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The next few hours I just enjoyed how fabulous this view was.

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The wind was on and off but each time it came I feared it would escalate, but it never did. Actually the wind probably kept the temperature a few degrees warmer. It only got down to about 30 F during the night. I was hopeful for a great sunset but it was nice that it ended quickly because I was freezing outside of my tent waiting for it.

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I did not sleep that well probably due a bit to the altitude, 6200', or the noise the wind made flapping my tent. But overall it was a good night and as usual Brook slept out in the open making sure I was safe. Knowing that she would do this I gave her a serving of beef stroganoff on top of her dog food to make sure she had plenty of fuel to keep herself warm through the night.

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Morning came and Brook was good to go. On the way back I captured the mini Ramona Falls in its full glory.

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The full trip report can be found at: https://adventurecontinues.org/2018/10/ ... t-mt-hood/
GHSMITH76
Blog:AdventureContinues.org

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aiwetir
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by aiwetir » October 5th, 2018, 9:41 am

Nice photos, nice light!
- Michael

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Chip Down
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by Chip Down » October 5th, 2018, 7:30 pm

That last pic of Brook is adorable. She must be very proud.

I couldn't stand to camp anywhere that didn't have a source of water

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mjirving
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by mjirving » October 6th, 2018, 5:56 am

I hear you...I’ve been there a number of times but never overnight. I must do that next year.

Mike

leiavoia
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by leiavoia » October 7th, 2018, 2:42 pm

I had lunch in that spot last year at the end of September in the snow. It's a great spot for watching the sunset, you are right.

For the adventurous, there is another spot just big enough for a 2-person tent up above that spot by "the big boulder" (does it have a name?) with a small windbreak built around it.

Thank you for the pictures.

Does anyone have a picture of the "shortcut scramble trail" going up to McNeil from the Timberline trail? I have been across there twice with maps and still cant make out where this shortcut starts. I need a visual aid.

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mjirving
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by mjirving » October 7th, 2018, 3:09 pm

45.39687, -121.73717 are the coordinates if that helps.

Mike

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retired jerry
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Re: McNeil Point Overnight from Top Spur TH

Post by retired jerry » October 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm

there's a use trail

right after the last switchback

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