Summary: This hike will take you through old growth forests, clearings with huckleberries bushes, groves of blue spruce, and into the near timberline zone of sparse vegetation.
The scenery is average for the Mt. Hood area. Until about 4 miles into the hike. That's when you crest the ridge where the Burnt Lake Trail meets the Zigzag Mt. Trail. And that is where you get your first view of Mt. Hood. And 700 feet below is Burnt Lake.
At this point the trail turns to the left and climbs the last 200 feet to the site where the Zigzag East Lookout used to be. Once on the summit you can see several of the Cascade peaks. It's a great place for a lunch break.
For the return trip continue to the west, following the trail down the ridge to the intersection with Cast Creek Trail. Turn to the south and follow the Zigzag Mt. Trail until it reconnects with the Burnt Lake Trail. From there it's an easy stroll back to the trailhead.
Trailhead: Travel on Highway 26 about 1.5 miles East of Rhododendron. Turn North onto '27 Road'. Go 5.2 miles until the road deadends at the trailhead.
A NW Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead. They are $30/year or $5/day. (Lat:45.32491 Lon:-121.85711)
Trail Guides for Zigzag East Lookout Loop:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Mt. Hood Nat'l. Forest; Zigzag Ranger District; Phone: (503) 622-3191
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rick Jacobson, who has posted 1 other hike on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by SP on 7/6/2011
Didn't find the Cast Lake junction (given snow field) to take the loop, so was forced to back track on burnt lake trail to ridge. Lost trail just below ridge and couldn't find it until we returned to the ridge (hiked up after traversing west downslope for 30 minutes ). And yes, plan on 35 minutes to drive last five miles if you have a low clearance vehicle. Lessons learned - plant sticks in snow in the event you need to back track. Saw deer & owl and gorgeous Hood mountain et al - would do it again (and camp at burnt lake).
Reviewed by GE on 7/3/2011
Beautiful view at the top! "27 road" is nearly impassible in lower clearance vehicles. You will need a truck or Jeep due to large rocks and giant potholes. Over half of the trails are still covered in snow as of yesterday. Expect to take about 5 hrs round trip.
Reviewed by Ian on 6/7/2011
The drive in was almost as much fun as the hike, my Outback has the mud all over it to prove it. I went last Sunday (6/5/11) and the trail is still covered in about 3-4 feet of snow in most places. We hiked about 2 miles in until we came to a clearing where we totally lost the trail due to the snow and had to turn back (also saw a trail of bear prints here). From what we saw it was a nice hike and we'll go again later this summer to do the whole thing.
Reviewed by Ashley on 9/16/2010
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Reviewed by John on 9/5/2010
Did this nice well-marked hike yesterday with my daughter. Got a few scrapes and scratches to my car driving 5.2 miles in to the trailhead (add an hour for in and out). Good tires and a high clearance vehicle recommended. Made it to the top and back in about 4 hours...we're in average shape. Even though it was cloudy, there were nice views down to Burnt lake and from the top where we stopped for lunch. No ticks, but got stung by a hornet! Note: coming back down (continue past the peak) you'll want to look for Devil's Tie (trail 767) to reconnect to the return trail.
Reviewed by Michele P on 8/12/2007
Excellent views. We got lucky and had a clear day where all 5 major mountains were visible. We took a Nissan Altima about 3.5 miles into Road 27 and then hiked the last 1.5 miles (from falls) to the trailhead because that stretch of the road is the most questionable--though we saw other cars that made it. Just go slow.
Reviewed by THY on 8/8/2007
Difficult 4.5 miles of forestry road driving to get to trail head: boulders, potholes, deep puddles. I did it in a Honda Civic hybrid without incident, but it took a while cuz I had to go slow. Next time I'd take something with a little more clearance...
Reviewed by JLT on 10/14/2006
Nice hike even in the chilly winds of October. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy/foggy to see the clasic views of Mt. Hood. I'll just have to come back on a sunny day.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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