Zig Zag River


The Zigzag River arises from the base of Zigzag Glacier at approximately 5,000-foot elevation on Mt. Hood in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. The 4.3-mile segment of the river from its headwaters to the Mt. Hood Wilderness boundary is administered as a wild river. 

View larger map

Designated Reach

March 30, 2009. From its headwaters to the Mt. Hood Wilderness boundary.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values


Macroinvertebrates: The designated segment of the Zigzag River is within one mile of Scott’s apatanian caddisfly populations in the Little Zigzag River. This species has patchy distributions from 3,494 to 4,738 feet elevation associated with the spring and seeps that feed the Little Zigzag River. There are only nine populations of the Scott’s apatanian caddisfly (Allomyia scotti) known in the entire world, all of which are found on the Mt. Hood National Forest.


The Pacific Crest Trail and Timberline Trail are popular attractants to this river corridor, and they provide unique recreation opportunities for long distance hiking, and circle-the-mountain hiking, while the wildflowers and mountain vistas add to the beauty of the area. Visitors travel from all over the region to experience and photograph the landscape. International hikers or long distance hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail often camp next to the river while passing along to their next destination.


The area has unique opportunities to view high alpine mountain habitat from the river corridor. The Zigzag flows steeply over mud and pyroclastic flows through a sparsely vegetated area in a narrow canyon. The canyon rim itself and beyond is well-forested. There are two waterfalls within the segment formed by the many intrusive rocks and boulders in the corridor, and they add to the diversity of views in the region.  

Managing Partners And Contacts


Public Law 111-11164.88 KB


Wild — 4.3 miles; Total — 4.3 miles.
Show more

Links to More Information