Horseshoe Ridge Trail to Zigzag Mountain Trail is a 11.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Rhododendron, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Sandy: Travel east on Highway 26 for 18 miles to Zigzag. Turn left (north) at the Zigzag store onto Lolo Pass Road (Road 18). Follow 18 for four miles and turn east on Road 1825. Continue for 0.6 miles, bear right, cross a bridge and continue another 0.4 miles. Turn right (south) on Road 1825-382. Follow this road for 0.1 miles and turn right into the Riley Horse Camp. Continue through the campground to the unloading area and trailhead. It is also possible to skip two miles of hiking by continuing on 1825-382 south for two miles to a sign for the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. Parking is on the road shoulder.
Please note that as of yesterday the foot bridge is DOWN/Broken that goes over Lost Creek just before you start heading up the hill. You can probably find a tree across the river (we found one up stream) and bush-whack back. The forest isn't so dense that you should get lost or miss the trail.
There is also a trailer marker sign that isn't at the horse camp. You will find the trail start sign on the right (SW) side of the road just after you make the Right turn off of Muddy Fork Rd. It's before you cross the bridge at Lost Creek and very close to the start of the Sandy River Trail.
i hike alone - that being said, this was a wake up call to how i approach things. this was my first completely desolate hike - no phone/wifi contact here. bring a pinger/tracker just in case. I hike w a flashlight, knife, water, power bar - but when u have no contact, things can get ugly. bring a pinger here. loved the hike. in fall - october, mushroom heaven. have many pics but waiting on android app.
The trail has an added length due to a wash out. From Riley Horse Camp to Cast Lake we logged about 11.4 miles and 6.5 hours to Cast Lake - not out and back. The trail is not very populated and poorly marked in places - carry a map to be sure you are on the correct side of the creek. The trail is steep to very steep for most of the distance but has a level surface (for horses). On the top of the ridge you can see views of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood and well as some interesting rock formations. The trail is under tree cover until reaching a rock pile and across the ridge there is very little shade. If you continue down the other side toward Cast Lake the trail is in the shadow of the hill and in June has deep snow drifts with the potential to lose sight of the trail. This is a long and challenging trail with great views at the top. We took Horseshoe Ridge Trail up to Cast Lake, camped, and hiked down Cast Creek Trail (7.6 miles) for a round trip of about 19 miles.
This is a great hike. The mileage is wrong here - it's actually around 10 miles. The road to the original trailhead washed out and was decommissioned a few years back. Now you have to park at the horse camp and start the hike from there.