Cast Creek Trail to Cast Lake

MODERATE 18 reviews
#44 of 145 trails in

Cast Creek Trail to Cast Lake is a 13.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Rhododendron, Oregon that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

13.2 miles
3,310 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



trail running




Directions from Sandy: Travel east on Highway 26 to Zigzag. Turn left (north) at the Zigzag store onto Lolo Pass Road, following it four miles to East Mountain Drive, located on the right side of the road. Follow East Mtn Dr. for 0.6 miles. The trailhead for the Zigzag Mountain Trail #775 is on the left (northeast) side of the road with limited parking available. Follow this trail to Cast Lake Trail.

29 days ago

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 :)

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

5 months ago

This is a well maintained trail, but a hard uphill climb. My two cents:
1. to find the trailhead, go to the right after the Riley Horse Camp. The trailhead parking is wash out, so when you hit the end of the road, the trail is about 200 yards, off to your left. You will see a small trail leading over to the actual trail head from the end of the road.
2. Parking,- do not park at the end to the road (very tight space) If you go about 100 yds back, there is an open meadow area that works great for parking Last resort, go back to the Horse camp and hike-in the extra mile.
3. Horse Camp = lots of horse poop on trail. Just be careful where you step.
4. You will cross a creek about 1 mile into the trail. That is your last water until you get to Cast Lake.
5. At the top of this mountain, there is a awesome view of four mountains (Hood, Adams, St. Helens, and Rainier) I almost missed this view because I was exhausted from the climb up the trail. Just walk a few steps to the north, when you get to the top.
6. Cast Lake is awesome. Eight camp sites along the North and West side. Some are 50 yards up along the lake rig. Worth the hike.
7. You will find mosquitos, but when I sat right next to the lake, there were no mosquitos. I have no idea why, but it was nice to sit in the morning and have bug-free coffee.

7 months ago

This trail combined with Horseshoe ridge makes a great long day horseback ride. I take the Cast lake trail into the lake ( short detour), have lunch, & head back on Horseshoe which comes out near Riley horse camp. There is a small tough rock scramble on top of Horseshoe, but not as bad as some people make it seem. Shoes are required on this trail.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Tough hike - out is nearly all uphill. Total distance is more like 11-12 miles. Lots of flies at/near the lake.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

I don't think I would do this one again. It was pretty tough for my 16yr old and I. All trails says 9.5 miles but it was actually more like 13.5 round trip from where we parked. Beautiful views when you reach the top, right before Cast Lake. Mosquitos and Flies were annoying right before the lake but were not to bad at the camp spot we found. I would recommend bringing enough water for your hike up. As a beginner at hiking/backpacking this hike challenged us the entire way up.

Monday, September 26, 2016

we started our hike at the hoarse camp. And ended the hike at Cast lake for the night...The view changes alot as you hike the distance. Maps say its about 5 miles, but VERY incorrect!!! its actually 7.6 miles. Its 90% up hill all the way there with some very steep climbs as well. It will defently test your desire to get to the top. Once your at the top, the views of the mountains are amazing...from there is a 30 minute hike to the lake

Monday, April 18, 2016

Great hike, not too difficult. I wasn't sure where the trail started its down a ways from where you park.
Mileage is definitely around the 10 mark for length. There was too much snow to even get to the peak destination unfortunately. I did get a good view of Mt Hood and Mt Adams though!

The scenery changes, and it's neat to see how much sunlight affects the types of plants and organisms!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The lake is actually 7 miles away from where you park. Also the rest ad is treacherous. Especially if you have to pass someone along it. Nerves and buns of steel for this hike/drive!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The mileage listed here isn't correct - the trail from Riley Horse Camp to Cast Lake is about 7.6 miles one way. The trail has a nice flat surface as it is also a horse trail. We hiked up Horseshoe Ridge Trail, camped at Cast Lake and hiked down Cast Creek Trail. The view from the top of the Cast Creak Trail ridge is amazing with at least 4 mountain peaks viewable on clear day (Mt Rainer, Mt Adams, Mt Saint Helens, and Mt Hood). The Cast Creek Trail isn't too difficult and much shorter than Horseshoe. Cast Creek didn't have snow in early June, but there was snow around the lake in small patches, and large patches of deep snow if you hike up Horseshoe Ridge Trail from Cast Lake.

8 days ago

9 days ago

2 months ago

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Thursday, August 11, 2016