Hike Little Zigzag Falls on Mt. Hood

Here’s a refreshing side trip: Little Zigzag Falls. A relaxing there-and-back hike in the cool shadows of the Mount Hood National Forest, this is a perfect spot for a calming woodland stroll. Especially when the Oregon summer heat kicks in, as the trail is accessible from April until October.

The trail is only a mile round-trip with enough interest along the way to make it ideal for all ages. It’s located near Government Camp, and runs through a shady forest along a gorgeous, cool mountain stream. The hike highlight is, of course, the Zigzag Falls - a 40-foot-high tiered waterfall.

With the relatively short distance to the falls and fairly level terrain, the trail is perfect for a short nature-walk, family excursion, or a picnic. Also, there’s a little bit of historic craftsmanship to enjoy…a 1920's-era bridge at the trailhead marking the original Mount Hood Highway.

Directions: From north slung U.S. 26, turn on Forest Road 39. This is signed for the Mount Hood Kiwanis Camp, at milepost 48.63 as marked on the highway. Drive about 2.3 miles to the road’s end and trailhead.

A $5 day pass or a Northwest Forest Pass is required to park. Click the Learn More button for details, including where to purchase a pass.

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8 years ago

What a wonderful short hike this was! It was the perfect short break we needed as we drove back to Portland from an adventure in Eastern Oregon.

We appreciated the positive brain-boosting effects described in the interpretive panel near the trailhead: how the negatively-charged ions formed by the falls and flowing stream dramatically boost oxygen flow to our brains and elevate serotonin levels, quickly boosting our energy and mood. The clean mountain air scented by evergreens and exercise hit the spot, too. Exhilarating!

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Central Oregon
Eastern Oregon
Greater Portland
The Gorge + Mt. Hood
Oregon Coast
Southern Oregon
Willamette Valley