Cast Lake Loop

MODERATE 19 reviews
#36 of 145 trails in

Cast Lake Loop is a 9.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Zigzag, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,168 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

fishing

hiking

trail running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Ascend using West Zigzag Mt. Trail #789, getting most of the elevation gain out of the way in the first couple of miles or so. As you connect with Zigzag Mt. Trail #775, (also called Horseshoe Trail through this section) go right. Eventually you will be will be strolling along one the ridges of Zigzag Mountain. This section of the hike is along open country and you will be relatively exposed. You should see occasional views of Lolo Pass Rd. down to your left, as well as Mt. Hood ahead. As Horseshoe trail and Zigzag Mt. Trail diverge, stay right to continue along Zigzag Mt. #775 for another 1.5 miles to Devil’s Tie Trail #767. Proceed north (left) on #767 to the Cast Lake Trail #796. Cast Lake Trail is a 1/2 mile spur to the lake. There are several well established campgrounds in the treeline above Cast Lake just before Cast Lake Creek. Do not camp on the shoreline or in the wetland areas adjacent to the lake. When leaving, return back to Devils Tie Trail #767 and descend south about 0.6 miles to Burnt Lake South Trail #772. This section is approximately 2.5 back to the trailhead. Have fun and remember to pack it out!

backpacking
1 day ago

Because of a late start, we went in and out Burnt Lake Trail. Steady uphill climb the entire way, but nicely shaded with some groves of awesome wildflowers and butterflies.

There are a considerable number of campsites, I think we scored one of the best on the "island" of the lake because it's shaded and has easy access to the lake right off the campsite.

Be prepared to spend 45 min to an hour on the CRAZY bumpy road in. We didn't get over 10 mph the entire drive. Also, don't follow the directions on this app to the trailhead, you'll end up dead ending in an entirely wrong trailhead.

Flies were really bad, but they left in the evening.

backpacking
5 days ago

(Aug 12) Did it clockwise, camping one night on the lake. The first 6.5 miles from the entrance to the lake are pretty hard - it's very steep all the way to the top even with the switchbacks. On the lake we camped at the small peninsula - didn't see any mosquitoes or angry flies as mentioned in other reviews. A few annoying flies in the morning, but we were leaving anyway. The lake is pretty clean and very warm - very good for swimming!

backpacking
30 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.

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
2 months 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!

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

backpacking
10 months ago

Has anyone done this Hike mid to end of Oct? Looking to go out for 1 night.

backpacking
11 months ago

Nice little one nighter last weekend. Literally 3 miles up on the way in.

hiking
11 months ago

I did this as a day hike and it was awesome, but with a few setbacks. First of all, the last 4-5 miles to the trailhead is unpaved dirt road that gets pretty scary if you do not have a car with moderate clearance. We actually had to park a little over a mile away from the trailhead and walk the rest of the way.

I also think the mileage and elevation listed here is off. It was closer to 11-12 miles, not including our walk up from the car, and probably closer to 3,000 elevation gain.

We did the loop clockwise, and the first 3 miles is pretty steady straight up hill, no switchbacks. But there were AWESOME views of Hood and Adams at a couple of points.

Pretty lightly trafficked as well. We only saw 2 couples besides ourselves.

backpacking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

The hike to the lake was mostly uphill and there was a lot of mosquitoes along the way. We recommend going counter clockwise. The lake was beautiful, warm, and refreshing. We only saw a few campsites up at the lake, maybe 3-4 sites max. The trail from the lake back around the mountain was not maintained yet it was easy enough to follow. Long pants are recommended. The last 6 miles or so were all steep downhill. Tree coverage provides quite a bit of shade and there were less mosquitoes after the peak of the mountain. There were some amazing views of Mt. Hood. Overall, it was a good hike, we're glad we made it a two day adventure.

backpacking
Monday, October 24, 2016

This is an over-niter we did in August 2013. Good for a quick day hike or an overnight backpacking trip to a lake. Many trail connections in the area make longer multi-day routes possible with creative planning.

hiking
9 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

hiking
Friday, June 30, 2017