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West Zigzag Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

West Zigzag Mountain from down below (Tom Kloster)
View of Mt. Hood from the trail (Cheryl Hill)
West Zigzag Lookout as seen from along Zigzag River (David Koskamp)
Typical trail section (David Koskamp)
West Zigzag summit from the trail to the West (David Koskamp)


Hike Description

The West Zigzag Hike goes up the West side of the Zigzag ridge, taking you to the site of an old fire lookout and great views of wild flowers, Mount Hood, and the Zigzag valley to name a few. The Zigzag Mountain Trail continues past here to East Zigzag Mountain and eventually the Paradise Park Trail, but doing so might require an overnight.

Start on the Zigzag Mountain Trail (#775) which goes directly uphill from the trailhead. Don't take the other trail that continues on the (closed) road. The trail switchbacks up through the forest for 3.3 miles to 4300'. Much of this is well-graded but some parts are steep. Beyond here the trail is relatively level with occasional views. At mile 4.7 is a spring. Drinking water is difficult to find on the Zigzag ridge, this is your chance.

About half a mile before West Zigzag the trail comes out of the trees and makes a hard right turn. Enjoy the great view of Mt. Hood here because you won't be able to see it from the lookout site.

At mile 5.6 is the old West Zigzag Lookout site (4468') with excellent views to the south and the west. Trees and terrain block the view to the west and north. This is the end of this hike; return the way you came.

The Zigzag Mountain Trail continues from here beyond the range of most hikers: Mile 5.7 is the junction with the West Zigzag Trail (#789) (see South Burnt Lake Hike). Mile 7.5 is the junction with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail (#774) (see Horseshoe Ridge Hike). Mile 9.2 is the junction with the Devil's Tie Trail (#767) (see South Burnt Lake Hike). Mile 9.7 is the junction with the Cast Creek Trail (#775) (see Cast Creek Hike). Mile 10.2 is East Zigzag Mountain. Mile 14.4 is the end of the Zigzag Mountain Trail at the Paradise Park Trail (#778).

Fees, Regulations, etc.

Northwest Forest Pass required

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

More Links


GPS track to West Zigzag Lookout
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.