Tilly Jane Guard Station is an ideal getaway for individuals and families who enjoy the great outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It is one of the oldest structures on Mt. Hood and provides shelter for warmth and an escape from the elements while participating in a variety of activities, specifically winter-related recreation. During the winter months it serves as a winter retreat for visitors hardy enough to access the cabin from the Tilly Jane Sno-Park.
Guests can access the cabin following a 9-mile, gently sloping road, or via the historic Tilly Jane Ski Trail, which is roughly 2.7 miles with an elevation gain of 1,900 feet. Skis with skins or snowshoes are highly recommended and travelers should be prepared for extreme weather conditions. The TJ Ski Trail is poorly marked due to the 2008 Gnarl Ridge Fire so be on notice. Guests should be experienced in backcountry travel and survival skills. Guests must also bring several of their own amenities.
Visitors to the Guard Station enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, which can be done most of the year due to high levels of snowfall in the area. Many trails exist in the area, prompting exploration. Most trails are not marked so visitors should be familiar with the area. Above the tree line, visitors can catch a glimpse of Mt. Adams, St Helens, Mt. Rainier and the Hood River Valley flanked by the dry high desert of eastern Oregon.
The cabin accommodates up to 8 people. It includes a full kitchen and a second story sleeping loft with pads. It has propane lighting and a cooking stove/oven, as well as all cooking pots and utensils. A variety of seating is available, as well as a table and chairs. A fireplace and woodstove with firewood are also provided. An on-site pit toilet is located within the wood room of the cabin. Water is obtained by melting snow or by digging an access hole to Tilly Creek. We recommend all water be treated.
Guests will need to bring their own bedding, clothing, food, garbage bags and toilet paper. A variety of house rules exist, including proper closure of the cabin, which involves shutting off the gas, reinstalling the shutters and locking the cabin up. The cabin will need to be cleaned prior to leaving, dishes washed and everything in its place. Guests will also need to replenish a supply of wood and kindling for the next group. All food and garbage must be removed from the cabin.
The Guard Station is located high on the northeast side of Mt. Hood at an elevation of 5,700 feet. It was built in 1934 and initially received seasonal use for back country access and fire protection. The cabin is one of five structures in the area built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is part of the Cloud Cap/Tilly Jane Historic District. The facility is operated and maintained by the volunteer organization, Oregon Nordic Club, under a permit from the U.S. Forest Service.
Charges & Cancellations
Standard Rec.gov change/cancellation policy's apply.
Cancellations with less than 14 days notice will pay a $10 service fee AND forfeit the first night's reservation fee.
ADA Access: N
We used Tilly Jane as our base for hiking Cooper Spur (trail 600A to 600B) and it worked perfectly! The road getting here is not so great (you're driving up a mountain) but passable if you go slow. It's quite far up the mountain, so make sure you have everything you need. There isn't anything fancy about the campground, but it makes an adequate base for an early morning start.
Tilly Jane is also not far off the Timberline trail loop around the mountain, and the majority of people visiting the camping area were day hikers. The weather was very hot in the day, but got quite chilly at night.
In addition to the campground, the Tilly Jane A Frame is available as a rental- it was having some work done to it in August 18, so should be in good shape for the summer 19 and beyond camping seasons. There is also a small amphitheater in the campground.
The area around Tilly Jane is quite beautiful and different from a lot of the nearby forests. The drive up goes through an old burnt out forest, where you can see plants and trees coming back as well as dead trees that are still standing. It's an almost surreal landscape, and has great views of Hood, and great views to the north. The campground is small and the spots are not particularly secluded. We found a spot but saw several people look around for a while before giving up and going to Cloud Cap Saddle (which has the same issues). Get there early and you can find better spots, but don't expect much if you show up in the mid afternoon. There is wonderful hiking in the area, so the parking lots fill up with hikers during the day but it clears out quickly as it gets late.