More than a century ago, Oregon’s elites enjoyed a life of luxury. Hot baths, beautiful views, and fine dining — all of it on top of Mount Hood at the Cloud Cap Inn.
“This is a high-class resort at 6,000 feet out in the West,” says Ron Kikel of the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s probably the oldest Alpine lodge in the United States right here on Mount Hood.” (In fact, it is.)
Alas, the luxury resort on a rocky, snowy mountain didn’t last. But the building did. After decades of neglect, a mountain search and rescue team called The Crag Rats took over maintenance of the site in 1954. They not only repaired the floor and roof, they turned it into a base for their mountain rescue missions.
The Cloud Cap Inn is not for the faint of heart. Winds blow upwards of 100 mph and 60-foot snow drifts cover the windows each winter. The Crag Rats have their work cut out for them maintaining the structure, but it’s worth it to keep this historic site in use.
“Hopefully they keep the building going for another 120 years,” says Kikel.
You don't have to be a Crag Rat to visit the Cloud Cap Inn. Tours are available through the Mount Hood National Forest.