Horseshoe Ridge Trail #774
ElevationAscent: 2,805' 855 m
Descent: -166' -51 m
High: 4,722' 1,439 m
Low: 1,939' 591 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“Horseshoe Ridge Trail gradually climbs to the ridgeline of Zigzag Mountain and great views.”— Kathleen Walker
The original trail then heads southwest along Lost Creek for 3/4 of a mile and crosses over the creek. The bridge was hit by a log and is not presently in place, so a ford is necessary. There may be logs to cross on, but use caution. The trail then starts a steady climb of switchbacks up Horseback Ridge. At mile 2.2, and again at mile 2..5, the trail crosses an old decommissioned logging road (Forest Road 380.
At mile 3.3, the trail drops slightly into the headwaters of a drainage in a large switchback, climbs back up the ridge and follows it up to the intersection with Zigzag Mountain Trail #775. Horseshoe Ridge offers occasional valley views through the trees, but the most stunning views are found on Zigzag Mountain Trail just 1000 feet north of the Horseshoe Ridge trail intersection.
You can run back down Horseshoe Ridge or make a longer loop by going north on Zigzag Mountain Trail #775 for 1.5 mile and heading left (north) on the Cast Creek Trail #773. This makes for a 11.3-mile loop back to Joe Graham Horse Camp. Cast Creek Trail is slightly longer, but is slightly less steep than Horseshoe Ridge.
True to its name, Horseshoe Ridge Trail and the Horseshoe - Cast Creek loop are popular with equestrians, especially those camping in the nearby horse camp. Expect some horse poop on the trail. If you encounter horses, give them the right of way. Make sure your dog is leashed and under control and step to the downhill side of the trail if possible. Speak to the rider in a friendly, relaxed manner to help keep the horse calm.
Bear grass and rhododendrons are found throughout. Salal, sword ferns, and Oregon grape are predominant understory in the thick forest setting. In the lower elevations, the various green moss (fungi) famous on Old Maid Flat, cover the ground, rocks and trees. Mushrooms abound in season, but be careful as not all are edible!
Near the top of the trail, wildflowers abound as you approach Zigzag Mountain. Indian paintbrush, columbine, and lupine provide a splash of color in the open mountain ridge lines.
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