The best way to get up close and personal with Mount Hood  is with a visit to Cloud Cap. A beautiful old lodge (now closed) and the entrance to the Mount Hood Wilderness are on the north side of the volcano.
To get there, take Route 35 twenty-four miles south of Hood River  to Cooper Spur Road. Drive past the ski area until you come to Cloud Cap at the end of a twisting 10-mile gravel road. The road is passable only in summer months due to snow at that altitude.
From here, hardy adventurers can rub elbows with glaciers, walking up Cooper Spur  (a side ridge of Mount Hood) without climbing gear in late summer to almost 8,600 feet above sea level.