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Cast Creek Trail #773

 3.8 (6)

The Cast Creek Trail provides access to Zigzag Mountain vistas and Cast Lake.

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Point to Point

4,559' 1,389 m


2,076' 633 m


2,633' 803 m


193' 59 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Cast Creek Trail is usually closed by snow from November to early June. Snow lingers at the top of the trail even later. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead in Riley Horse Camp. Please don't park in campsites. The gate to the campground is usually left open in fall after the campground is closed to provide access. Alternative parking is above the campground on Forest Road 380. All visitors must obtain a self-issued Wilderness Use Permit at the trailhead.


Cast Creek Trail #773 is a steady 5+ mile trail leading up to Zigzag Mountain on the west side of the Mt. Hood Wilderness, with plenty of switchbacks to help mitigate the grade. The trailhead is in the day use parking area of Riley Horse Campground. Turn to your left (east) when you get into the campground. Do not take the Sandy River Trail. Take the Cast Creek Trail out of the campground, and it soon crosses an old reclaimed road bed near a tributary drainage and then heads up a forested ridgeline to Zigzag Mountain, crossing the head of that same tributary stream. That is the only sign of water on the trail so take plenty of water for this dry 2,500-foot climb to the top of the mountain.

Once at the top of the monotonous, though not punishing, climb to Zigzag Mountain, Cast Creek Trail offers nice views in the rhododendron openings. The trail tops out on the ridgeline and then drops over the other side a short ways to the end of the trail and the intersection with Zigzag Mountain Trail #775. At this point, you could continue west (right) on Trail #775 for 500 feet to the Cast Lake Trail #796 and continue 1/2 mile to Cast Lake. Or you could turn east (left) on Trail #775 and hike the 1/2 mile along the ridgeline to one of the peak points along Zigzag Mountain to get more spectacular views of Mt. Hood and surrounding 360-degree vistas. Return back on the Cast Creek Trail or consider a longer 12 mile loop trail using Zigzag Mountain #775 and Horseshoe Ridge Trail #774 which will return you to Riley Horse Campground just below the entrance.

The Cast Creek Trail is open to horses and some equestrians from the horse camp use the trail. However, this trail receives much less use that other nearby Mt. Hood Wilderness Trails like Burnt Lake and Ramona Falls. If you encounter horses, those on foot must yield. Step to the downside hill of the trail, give them plenty of leeway, and don’t make sudden movements or loud noises.

Flora & Fauna

Cast Creek Trail is a denser second growth forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock and the shade means there is less undergrowth. However, once you get to the higher elevations with more mountain hemlock and noble fir, there are large openings with rhododendrons, loads of bear grass, lupine, Indian paintbrush columbine and other subalpine wildflowers!


Shared By:

Kathleen Walker

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 6 votes


  3.8 from 6 votes
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in Oregon


12 Views Last Month
702 Since Sep 7, 2016



Cast Creek Trail has great rhodies blooming in early summer.  Photo by Wanderingyuncks.
Sep 7, 2016 near Governm…, OR
Mt. Hood view from upper Cast Creek Trail.  Photo by Seana Bennett.
Sep 7, 2016 near Governm…, OR
Mount Hood from the Cast Creek Trail
Jun 3, 2018 near Governm…, OR
Lots of moss on the lower elevation part of Cast Creek Trail.  Photo USFS.
Sep 7, 2016 near Mount H…, OR
Mar 20, 2019 near Mount H…, OR
The continuation of the Cast Creek Trail across from the old Forest Road 1825-380.  Photo by Kayla Warner.
Sep 7, 2016 near Mount H…, OR



Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 28 days ago See History
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Sep 15, 2017
Douglas Fur
Steep but good views and beautiful forest cover 6mi
Jul 15, 2017
Katie Rogers
Took this trail to zigzag, on way back down stopped by Cast Lake 14mi