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East Zigzag from Devil Canyon Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mount Hood with East Zigzag Mountain (a nice destination) in the foreground (Sparklehorse)
View of Mt. Adams from the East Zigzag Summit (cfm)
Cast Lake (bobcat)
Tall mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) at Cast Lake (bobcat)
  • Start point: South Burnt Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: East Zigzag Mountain
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Hike type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 8.0 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1670 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: July - November
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Busy during summer and weekends


Hike Description

This hike takes you up to the Zigzag Ridge and East Zigzag Mountain, a rocky ridge with great views all around, especially of Mount Hood. Most of the trail is through forest with occasional views.

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.

Start from the South Burnt Lake Trailhead. Take the Burnt Lake Trail (#772) which goes northeast out of the trailhead. Another trail, the West Zigzag Trail (#789) goes northwest out of the trailhead and is the return trail for a possible loop. At mile 2.6 (4000') is the junction with the Devil's Tie Trail (#797) on the left. You will come down this trail on the way back. On the way up, stay on the Burnt Lake Trail (right). At mile 3.7 (4750') the trail dead-ends at the Zigzag Mountain Trail (#775). If you go right, you can go down to Burnt Lake (see East Zigzag from Lost Creek Hike).

Go left on the Zigzag Mountain Trail. The trail is now in an open meadow area with a view of East Zigzag Mountain ahead and Mount Hood behind. This slope is very visible from Paradise Park and the Timberline Trail on Mount Hood. East Zigzag Mountain is at mile 4 (4970'). The best views are along the last stretch of trail before the top since the rocky summit has limited views due to the trees. Look for beautiful bear grass displays in June. There is a possible camp spot just to the west where there used to be a fire lookout.

After taking a break, continue west on the Zigzag Mountain Trail. On the west side of East Zigzag Mountain is a meadow slope similar to the east side. At mile 4.5 is the junction with the Cast Creek Trail (#773) which goes right, see Cast Creek Hike. Stay on the Zigzag Mountain Trail (left). At mile 4.8 is the junction with the Cast Lake Trail (#796) which goes right. 0.6 miles down this trail it dead-ends at Cast Lake where there is a camp spot, drinking water, and fishing. This lake, being further away from any trailhead, is less crowded than, for example, Burnt Lake. Stay on the Zigzag Mountain Trail.

At mile 5.0 is the junction with the Devil's Tie Trail. Take this trail (left), go 0.4 miles back to the junction with the Burnt Lake Trail that you passed earlier, and go back down the way you came on the Burnt Lake Trail back to the trailhead.

An alternate, longer, loop is to stay on the Zigzag Mountain Trail at the Devil's Tie Trail junction, past the Horseshoe Ridge Trail junction (which goes right), and continue to the West Zigzag Trail junction (mile 8.5). Turn left and go back down to the trailhead (10.8 total miles)


Map, GPS track in jpeg format

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required

Trip Reports

  • Search Trip Reports for Zigzag

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.

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