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Cast Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mount Hood from East Zigzag Mountain (Jeff Statt)
Cast Lake (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Cast Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: East Zigzag Mountain
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 12.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 2970 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: July - November
  • Family Friendly: yes
  • Backpackable: yes
  • Crowded: yes during summer and weekends


Hike Description

The Cast Creek Hike starts at Cast Creek Trailhead, up a forested ridge. After a long while you see views of East Zigzag Mountain and Mount Hood. Finally you reach the top of East Zigzag Mountain with great views all around. If you wish, there is a one mile side trip to Cast Lake where there are a couple campsites and fishing.

There are three hikes to East Zigzag Mountain: East Zigzag from Lost Creek Hike is 8 miles round trip and 2000' elevation gain. East Zigzag from Devil Canyon Hike is the same distance, 330' less elevation gain, but the approach road at the trailhead is more difficult and the last mile may be impassable. Cast Creek Hike is 12.4 miles round trip and 2970' elevation, but the approach road at the trailhead is better. You could also get to East Zigzag from extensions of the West Zigzag Hike and the Horseshoe Ridge Hike.

The Cast Creek Trail (#773) goes southeast out of the Cast Creek Trailhead at the east end of Riley Horse Camp at 2050' elevation. Don't take the Sandy River Trail (#770) or enumerable horse trails that go in many directions.

At mile 0.3, the trail crosses the Riley Horse Camp Road. You used to be able to walk for a couple miles up this road, but it was reclaimed in the summer of 2012 and is now impassable. You can park on this road just past the campground, and then walk along the now reclaimed road to catch the Cast Creek Trail. Perhaps, it's better to park at the end of Riley Horse Camp. If there are people camping there, maybe bad guys would be discouraged from vandalizing your car.

At the start of the hike, if you listen carefully, you can hear Cast Creek (the outlet stream from Cast Lake) through the trees. This is as close as you get to Cast Creek.

The trail goes up a forested ridge to a dead end at the Zigzag Mountain Trail (#775) at mile 5.7 (4550'). Go left. 6.2 miles from the Cast Creek Trailhead is East Zigzag Mountain (4971'), where there are great views all around.

A nice side trip is to go right on the Zigzag Mountain Trail. At mile 5.9 from the Cast Creek Trailhead, turn right on the Cast Lake Trail (#796) which dead ends at Cast Lake at mile 6.5. It is a small lake with a several campsites. The outlet stream from the north end of the lake provides drinking water. You can fish out of the lake.

An additional short loop, is from the Cast Creek Trail end at the Zigzag Trail, go up to East Zigzag Mountain. Continue on the Zigzag Trail to the Junction with the South Burnt Lake Trail. Turn right on the South Burnt Lake Trail and go down 1.1 miles. Turn right on the Devil's Tie Trail and go up to the Zigzag Trail and continue to the junction with the Cast Creek Trail. Total loop distance is 2.6 miles and 1000' of elevation gain.

A long loop would be to go up the Cast Creek Trail, then 2.0 miles on the Zigzag Trail to the junction with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail, and then down it (see Horseshoe Ridge Hike).


Fees, Regulations, etc.

Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) required

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.