A group of friends and I hiked the Cool Creek Trail to Devil’s Peak this past Winter. Unlike the Hunchback Mountain Loop - this trail is fairly gradual once you are past the initial ascent. The trailhead is a little hidden in the Winter because of the overgrowth and low traffic in the colder months. Thankfully we didn’t hit snow until we began walking along the ridge about halfway to the lookout. In the snowy conditions, we lost the trail a couple of times and started having trouble gauging how far we walked because the snow slowed our pace quite a bit - and it was actively snowing. We followed any indication of a “social trail” (i.e. broken branches, shrubs that have been trampled on, chopped wood) until we eventually saw the sign for Devil's Peak. We arrived thankful that no-one had claimed the lookout before us, considering we hadn’t started hiking until around 5pm and it was pitch black and snowing pretty hard. We made some tuna-broccoli-mac and cheese, started a fire in the cast iron oven, drank some whiskey and slowly let our Friday night drift away. We didn’t get too much sleep thanks to the wind and some animals we could hear lurking around outside.
The next morning was a bluebird day - we hiked out exactly the way we came in. On our way back we discovered that we had a few critters trailing behind us (just in one direction). We think a cougar may have been on our trail, one print looked like a large cat paw and was slightly smaller than my hand up to the first digit of my fingers (I’m 6 ft 2). We think it most likely would have been trailing the rabbit, who’s prints we also found.
I’d recommend hiking to the ranger hut in the winter months if you are looking for a quick - fairly low-risk getaway. Obviously assess the weather and any risks/hazards accordingly, as the weather in the Mt. Hood area can change on a dime. Thankfully (but unfortunately for us skiers) this past Winter was a pretty dry one for us.
Hope you enjoyed this report!
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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