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Amazinnnggg! first big summit for me, about 8hours of hiking!

This is a gorgeous trail, but very heavily trafficked. I was a little disheartened at the number of loud, obnoxious people, off-leash dogs, and trash left in the bushes in the campsite I stayed in for the night. :(

Hiked on Saturday morning. If you want to avoid the crowded trail and throngs of day hikers, this would be better hike during the week days. I was worried a little about the biting flys, however they were not as bad as I had expected at least on the south and west side of the mountain. The water level at the Zig Zag river was very low even when we crossed it a second time in late afternoon.

Simply OUTSTANDING trail. Great views in AWESOME weather. Fantastic trail for a single-day trek.

backpacking
25 days ago

For the HARD work you will do (over 4k ft of climbing going up ZigZag Mtn Trail from the beginning of the trail near Hwy 26) there is little payoff. Overgrown, mostly under canopy, with one less than exhilarating view. We went all the way Cast Lake which was equally disappointing (everything was soggy and the mosquitoes and biting flies were NEXT LEVEL). The next day we summitted ZigZag Mtn for a breathtaking view, with more views on Burnt Lake trail, but it’s short lived and you’re back in overgrown forest trails under canopy with no views.

If you’re trying to train for something, this is a good trail, it’s close to PDX, and it’s got a LOT of elevation (7,500k ft in 2 days), but if you’re looking to connect with nature in a spiritual way and have a good trip... this ain’t the trail for you.

Definitely a great trail. We hiked in then camped for the night and hiked out in a very casual 25 hours starting at about noon on a Saturday.

Its not blazed but sufficiently worn in that you cannot get lost. Its very clean too! I usually find tons of other people's trash on trails (including well-intended doggie poop bags) - but this was very clean.

The incline is steady and not easy, but very do-able if you're in relative shape.

My girlfriend and I did this on the weekend during one of the hot days in summer and once we reached the lake we had swarms of mosquitos, gnats and flies to greet us. Repellant is a must.

If you plan on drinking the purified lake water, I suggest using filtration because its a little foamy near the shore.

For what its worth, everyone was making pit fires. I had the impression that there was a fire ban pretty much everywhere right now, but we weren't arrested :)

The bugs were hard to get over. It was difficult to enjoy the hike while getting eaten alive.

Did this as a long day hike going clockwise. Wanted to have fresh legs for the incline. Took us 9 hrs to complete and we are not in the best of shape. Either my phone gps is way off or the mileage on here is off. Phone said 20.75 miles from parking lot. Refilled water bottles right before the lookout tower. Ran out of water on the way back down and had to pump at the river. As stated earlier, lots of downed trees. Can't imagine having to climb over them at the end on fatigued legs. Views of the mountains was beautiful. Fields of clover and wildflowers along the way. If we did this again it would be as an overnighter. Only saw 1 person until we got to the lookout. Was really busy last couple of miles.

Hiked a few weeks back thought I might share a video I made about my experience. Hope you enjoy: https://youtu.be/QN-UbQnBEqQ

Be safe out there,
NW Adventures

Wonderful hike. So worth the last painful miles! Highly recommend! It took us about 9hrs total. Also glissading was AMAZING! I was tempted to hike back up the mountain just so I could glissading down again.

Road to trailhead to Ptarmigan route is closed during the winter/spring. We fortunately found this out the evening before climbing on June 18th. It was a surprise since so many people recently left reviews under the other route (maybe they didn't realize there were a couple ways up? Or maybe the rangers we talked to didn't know there was another way to get to the summer trailhead?). Worms Flow trail ended up being a great hike. GPS clocked it at about 10.5 miles rt. First two miles gentle incline through forest followed by some pretty rough landscape.Gardening gloves were nice for scrambling over the rocks. Suprisingly windy on this sunny clear day. Last mile and a half were extremely steep. My kids (11&12) had microspikes/gaiters and did fine on the ice/snow which ended up pretty slushy by the time we reached the top. I had crampons. As posted before, glissading was great. Able to come down about 1.7 miles from the top by sliding. Took our young crew about 12hrs start to finish. Leisurely pace, lots of breaks, and no complaints.

backpacking
1 month ago

Myself and a group of friends did an overnight trip doing the loop counter clockwise. If you're looking to stay at Kinzel Lake, the trail leading to the lake campground is hard to find, there are no signs for it at all. It appears more as a wash, about a quarter mile before hitting the road, keep your eyes out for it. Hunchback trail past Devil's Peak had tons of fallen trees that you have to climb over, which was both fun and exhausting. Great loop.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this as part of a 31 Mile day hike around the St Helens Monument. Very cool experience getting close to the mountain from this angle.

on Cast Lake Loop

1 month ago

Did an overnight this past weekend. Took West Zig Zag in and South Burnt Lake out.

-West Zig Zag trail is steep from the very beginning with only 1 switchback-it’s a good challenge. We didn’t cross another person and while the views are limited, it’s a very pretty area.
-still some snow on the trail but will most likely be gone soon.
-Getting to the lake from Zig Zag trail is about 7-8 miles itself and about 3-4 out on South Burnt Lake.
-lots of mosquitos and we were on a ridge away from the lake.
- very peaceful space. There were about 6 other people up there but there is plenty of space to spread out.
-do not take the road up there unless you have a vehicle with good ground clearance and suspension. There was a mention of someone going up in a Prius and we cannot even imagine that car making it up there. Potholes the width of the road and very deep/rocky.

hiking
1 month ago

We did this loop as an overnight this past weekend.
Here's my comments:
-We did the loop clockwise. This means getting the hardest hiking out of the way on the way there. However, it also means less scenic views on the return trip.
-There's lots of mosquitoes currently. Especially on the Burnt Lake South Trail #772. They weren't terrible around Cast Lake
-Not the most scenic lake but lots of solitude
-The road is rough. I read someone said they saw a Prius driving it. I can't imagine them making it to the top and not high-centering
-Overall a great weekend. A fairly short drive from Portland, a good workout and a relaxing weekend away!

such a great climb! started later than we wanted and multiple groups coming down stating weather wasn't permitting a summit, no visability. We as a group decided to go as far as the last of the rocks on the trail then make a call on the summit. as the discussion was taking place, wind shifted and gave us a window to take the last push. Amazing views once we broke the clouds. Sliding down was the funnest part except taking the wrong route down, once we realized our mistake we were six ridges over from our needed path down, this added at least another 90 minutes to get down, GPS saved the day. Lots of boulder scrambles, wish I had crampons instead of micro spikes but just a little extra work.

WTA has this clocked it at 12.0 miles rt with 5,699 elevation gain. Starting at the Marble Mount Snow Park. Don’t under-estimate this climb. It’s ruff for all the obvious reasons. Classic NW climb. Standing on the crater is an unexpected powerful experience.

Just got back yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed this hike for backpacking in and camping out overnight. I did this with my boyfriend and my brother who was visiting from Philly. It was my brothers first backpacking trip and he killed it! It was definitely a solid hike up to the lake, challenging with packs but not overly difficult. The views from the top were SO rewarding. On our hike up it was overcast the whole way, with a slight glimpse of Hood before hitting Cast Lake. On our way out the next morning it was clear skies and we were able to see all four mountains from one viewpoint. Absolutely stunning and the wild flowers were blooming during our trip. I would highly recommend going sooner than later. The snow was almost all melted and there were no bugs. We saw one person throughout the whole trip. Definitely a nice getaway for a couple days off the grid. I will definitely do this one again.

I was inspired to head out to Cast Lake over the long weekend, and it was a great trip. The bulk of the trail is in a tunnel of green, absolutely beautiful but nothing much in the way of a view till you reach what can only be described as the top.

As other reviewers have said, there really is not a water source on the way up, so make sure you are carrying enough water to get you to the top.

As of 5/27 there is still a fair amount of snow on the way to the lake, gaiters are needed if you don’t have waterproof shoes. Not too buggy when I was there, but it was cold, cold, cold, which is probably why they weren’t out to bite me. Based on the number of small pools of water I saw, I can see this place getting very buggy in the summer.

backpacking
2 months ago

We did an overnight trip for Memorial Day weekend.
The road in is definitely rough but we saw a Prius do it. It’s about 4 1/2 miles to the trail head. The first trail head is signed but the second trail head is about 30 feet away with no sign. Either entrance works.
There were wild flowers and a little bit of snow at Cast Lake. The water was clear and cold. Lots of water sources to pump on the way in. Definitely worth the trip! The trail in is almost all up hill but it’s only about 4 miles so it’s not too bad. There’s tons of connecting trails so it’s a great spot to drop your stuff off and do day hikes.

backpacking
2 months ago

Did the loop as an overnight trip in late May. The burnt lake south trail is well maintained and wide. The zigzag mountain trail is not maintained and at times difficult to find. was still enough snow on the ground to obscure the trail for a few mile stretches. Much of the trail was rotten on the way back down. Without the snow, Id call this an easy/moderate hike, but due to the conditions of the trail it was fairly difficult. definitely still in the shoulder season

Overall a great experience! Hiked on 5/11/18. We used hiking poles and micro-spikes. Ice axe was helpful for glissading down. Took ~9 hours total -- ~7 hours up, ~2 hours down. Learn from our mistake and put on sunscreen and re-apply :)

Amazing trail-- this is the only way to summit during the winter months (we went mid may and was still the technically winter). Would recommend crampons, hiking poles, and an extra trash bag to glissade down on!

Lot tougher then expected, the grades toward the top were rough. Crampons at 1 mile, snowshoes at about 2.5. Sunscreen is a must. Also make sure you wear easy to remove layers. left the lot at 0530 it was in the 20's, in a mile was down to a tee shirt. Was sunny and in the 70's really wished the snow pants I had on had shorts under them for the climb up. Loved them glissading on the way down though.

First time here, very cool experience. Went on the last day of an April heat wave, snow was very soft. Can’t wait to go back again sometime. Make sure you bring snow shoes, crampons, and an ice axe. 98% of everyone out that day had snow shoes and trekking poles. I got away with crampons till I switched to snow shoes the last couple hundred yards, though I’m not sure that was any easier.

A fantastic climb, make sure you bring snowshoes, crampons (or at least micro spikes) and an ice axe. Be careful at the top, there is a cornice at the edge of the summit that is difficult to see at first. Incredible views, next time I’ll brings skis.

backpacking
3 months ago

Great overnight journey. We did this loop counter clockwise. Didn’t find a good access point for Kinzel Lake. Trail from Kinzel Lake to Green Canyon trail was mostly still snow covered. Excited to do this again later in the season. Hunchback trail could use some maintenance; blow downs.

First time hiking a real mountain and I’m officially hooked. Went on 4/22/18 and lucked out with a very clear day. Views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Rainier. Summiting was an awesome experience!!!

Great trail. We only went up to the first lookout point on the ridge looking down to the river. We’re looking forward to doing it again and going through the entire loop. VERY heavy traffic with lots of people and dogs, so don’t expect to be on your own. Overall very fun.

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