Hike 18
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Cast Lake Hike
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Map of the Cast Lake Hike

Length: 9 mi round trip
Elevation Change: 2800' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Difficult
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required


This challenging hike begins with a very steep climb through dense forest for about a mile. Then the trail levels off for about a mile before it begins its upward climb to an open ridge that offer spectacular views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, and Mt Rainier. At 3.5 miles the trail intersects trail #775 and follows this trail for about a quarter mile. Then trail #796 takes you to Cast Lake. As you near the lake, the trail divides. Going to the right takes you to the far north end of the lake and decent camping areas. The trail to the left brings you to the south end of the lake with no appropriate places to camp.

Looking down on Cast Lake from the Zig Zag Mountain Trail
How to get there:

Follow US Highway 26 three miles east of the Mt Hood Information Center in Welches. Turn north (left) onto the Lolo Pass Road (road 18) at Zig Zag (across Hwy 26 from Zig Zag Pizza). Follow the road for 4 miles. Turn east (right) onto Road 1825 and continue for .6 miles. Turn right across a bridge over the Sandy River and continue another half mile to the junction to Riley Horse Camp. Bear right, and follow the road a short distance toward the camp, but just before the camp entrance, bear to the left and follow Road 382 (380 on some maps) another quarter mile where you should see the trailhead is on your left.

When I last visited this site, there were no trailhead signs. So, watch carefully for the trail.

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