Top Spur at 1/2 mile is a major short, but steep, access point to the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 and the Timberline Trail #600
. It also accesses a short, scenic loop run with a great Mt. Hood view on Trail #600. The trailhead was an old logging road that runners used to short cut to a higher point on the mountain. As a result, parking on this steep side hill road is limited and the trail itself, which began as a user trail, was not located well to withstand its heavy use. It is best to get there early in the day.
Begin Top Spur at the trailhead (wide spot in the road) and follow the trail a few hundred feet to the north before it makes a large switchback and heads southeast towards the trail junctions with the PCT and Timberline Trail. The trail is rocky and has lots of eroded roots as it basically climbs the fall line in sections. You cross a small creek. After 1/2 mile, you come to the end of the trail and the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000. Turning left (north) on the PCT takes you towards Lolo Pass. Turning right on the PCT takes you to another intersection 100 feet down the trail.
This trail junction is also known as "malfunction junction", especially if you are looking at old maps or guidebooks printed before the PCT was relocated. At this intersection (standing on the PCT facing south), the trail on your far right is the continuation of the PCT headed towards Ramona Falls
. This trail used to be called Bald Mountain, but in fact takes you down Bald Mountain. The trail on your far left is the Timberline Trail #600
headed east towards McNeil Point and Cairn Basin. The trail in the middle is Timberline Trail #600
headed southeast towards the Muddy Fork drainage.
This middle trail sign pointing to Timberline Trail #600
Muddy Fork takes you onto the upper south flank of Bald Mountain with a stunning view of Mt. Hood. Check out the other trail postings for how to make a short loop that takes in this view.
The trail passes through Douglas fir, mountain hemlock, western red cedar, noble and silver fir. Ground cover includes Oregon grape, salal, sword ferns, oxalis, huckleberry, bear grass and rhododendrons.