Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Difference between revisions of "East Zigzag from Devil Canyon Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Add link)
(Add category)
Line 2: Line 2:
[[Category:Mt Hood National Forest]]
[[Category:Mt Hood National Forest]]
[[Category:Mount Hood Area]]
[[Category:Mount Hood Area]]
[[Category:Mount Hood Wilderness]]
[[Category:Wilderness Hikes]]
[[Category:Wilderness Hikes]]
[[Category:Backpackable Hikes]]
[[Category:Backpackable Hikes]]

Latest revision as of 23:31, 26 September 2021

Mount Hood with East Zigzag Mountain in the foreground (Sparklehorse)
Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) on East Zigzag Mountain (bobcat)
View of Mt. Adams from the East Zigzag Summit (cfm)
Paintbrush blooming on the west slope of East Zigzag Mountain (bobcat)
Cast Lake (bobcat)
The lollipop loop to East Zigzag Mountain and Cast Lake from the South Burnt Lake Trailhead (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: South Burnt Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: East Zigzag Mountain
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Hike type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1670 feet
  • High point: 4,971 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: July - November
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes, on summer weekends


Hike Description

This hike takes you up to the Zigzag Ridge and East Zigzag Mountain, a prominence with great views all around, especially of Mount Hood but also of an expanse of the Cascades, from Mount Rainier to Mount Jefferson. Most of the trail is through forest with occasional views, but wildflowers abound in the summer. The lollipop loop also offers a diversion to Cast Lake, where you can camp overnight.

The Burnt Lake Trail #772 heads up an old road bed in woods of western hemlock, cedar, alder, silver fir, Douglas-fir, rhododendron, salal, and vine maple. Henry Creek rushes down to your left. Soon, reach the the wilderness permit box. You'll step over a small creek, and then cross a larger stream over a culvert. The road bed enters a lush bracken, mertensia, and thimbleberry clearing rimmed with Sitka alder and willow. Finally, the road ends at the site of the abandoned Devils Meadow Camground. A spur leads down to the right towards the meadow, but the tread is lost among the thick growth of willow and alder thickets. The path rises, and noble fir enters the forest mix. Cross a trickling brook in an alder thicket and get a view down to the right to the expanse of Devils Meadow. Mosquitoes breed in their masses here in early summer. The trail passes through a lush meadow and then levels and drops through more mountain meadows. When you come to the Burnt Lake-Devils Tie Trail Junction, 2.6 miles from the trailhead, keep straight (you'll close the lollipop loop by descending the Devils Tie Trail).

Cross a creek, and switchback up among lodgepole pine, bear-grass, huckleberry, and rhododendron. Note also some western white pine and mountain hemlock. The trail levels to cross a small creek before you head up in silver fir woods. Three switchbacks take you to a lush meadow riddled with mountain beaver burrows. Then the path switchbacks to a veritable rock garden of larkspur, paintbrush, phlox, and serviceberry. You'll pass through a bear-grass meadow, followed by another dry meadow with views across to Devils Peak. The trail loops up to the ridge crest and junction with the Zigzag Mountain Trail 3.7 miles from the trailhead. There’s a magnificent view of Mount Hood looming large to the east, and vistas extend north to the Washington Cascades. You can reach Burnt Lake by heading to your right.

Go left at the junction in a bear-grass meadow, and head along the crest to begin the ascent of East Zigzag Mountain. Take in views of Burnt Lake below and back to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, Olallie Butte and Mount Jefferson. At a junction, keep right for the summit spur. Wildflowers bloom in profusion here. On the rocky summit, the views are expansive. Over the summit, the path rejoins the main trail, where you'll keep right, passing a campsite. The trail descends the ridge crest in a brilliant paintbrush meadow with mountain sandwort, sulfur buckwheat and mariposa adding color. The path reenters montane woods and winds down steeply to the Zigzag Mountain-Cast Creek Trail Junction. Keep left, and drop to a level area wooded with lodgepole pines. Here, you'll find the junction with the Cast Lake Trail #796, where you can make a right to visit the lake.

The Cast Lake Trail rises to a saddle and then drops. The tread levels in a wet meadow with willow, shooting stars and buttercups. Then the path makes a final short drop to the marshy shore of Cast Lake. Marsh marigolds, shooting stars and violets bloom here in the summer. A small creek enters the lake, and there are surprisingly few mosquitoes compared to Devils Meadow.

After you return to the Zigzag Mountain Trail, go right to pass through a level meadow dotted with lodgepole pines. Soon reach the junction with the Devils Tie Trail, and head down to the left. The trail drops 0.4 miles down the south slope of Zigzag Mountain, coming close to a small creek. When you reach the junction with the Burnt Lake Trail, make a right to return to the trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Wilderness regulations apply
  • Mosquitoes can be an issue through the middle of summer at Devils Meadow and Cast Lake


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • Best Hikes Near Portland, Oregon by Fred Barstad
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

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.