Zigzag Mountain Loop via Cast Creek Trail #773

based on 12 tracks & routes #60 hike out of 129 in
12.2 mi
6 hrs 7 min
2,851 ft
Elev Gain


This is a difficult loop trail to Zigzag Mountain in Mount Hood National Forest. The loop has stunning views, blooming rhododendrons and other wildflowers in summer, and tranquil forests with huckleberry understory.
The loop can be done clockwise or counterclockwise, but clockwise is recommended for the views hiking up Cast Creek Trail. There are options for a side hike up to East Zigzag lookout and/or Cast Lake. The trail to Cast Lake is not signed, but obvious. The trail around Cast Lake can be boggy in early summer. The trail skirts Zigzag Mountain, where there may be snow into July. There is a sweeping viewpoint on a rocky outcropping along the Zigzag Mtn Trail near the junction with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. Lost Creek must be forded or crossed on a log as there is no bridge.

Getting Started

Park at the Cast Creek Trailhead in Riley Horse Camp.
In Zigzag, take Lolo Pass Road (FR-18) north. In 4.2 miles turn right onto Muddy Fork Road (FR 1825), then right again to cross the bridge in 0.7 miles. After 0.5 miles turn right onto FR 1825-380 and right again into the campground. The trailhead is on the southwest corner of the campground loop by a large sign.
Just after turning onto FR 1825-380 take note of the trail intersecting the road from your right. This is the start/end of the Horseshoe Ridge trail and another parking option and a short road walk through the campground is necessary to complete the loop.

Taking Children

No drop-offs, but a lot of elevation gain for children.

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