The goal of this study was to determine whether the input-output characteristics of the zona incerta (ZI) are appropriate for it to serve as a conduit for cortical control over saccade-related activity in the superior colliculus. The study utilized the neuronal tracers wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) and biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) in the cat. Injections of WGA-HRP into primary somatosensory cortex (SI) revealed sparse, widespread nontopographic projections throughout ZI. In addition, region-specific areas of more intense termination were present in ventral ZI, although strict topography was not observed. In comparison, the frontal eye fields (FEF) also projected sparsely throughout ZI, but terminated more heavily, medially, along the border between the two sublaminae. Furthermore, retrogradely labeled incertocortical neurons were observed in both experiments. The relationship of these two cortical projections to incertotectal cells was also directly examined by retrogradely labeling incertotectal cells with WGA-HRP in animals that had also received cortical BDA injections. Labeled axonal arbors from both SI and FEF had thin, sparsely branched axons with numerous en passant boutons. They formed numerous close associations with the somata and dendrites of WGA-HRP-labeled incertotectal cells. In summary, these results indicate that both sensory and motor cortical inputs to ZI display similar morphologies and distributions. In addition, both display close associations with incertotectal cells, suggesting direct synaptic contact. From these data, we conclude that inputs from somatosensory and FEF cortex both play a role in controlling gaze-related activity in the superior colliculus by way of the inhibitory incertotectal projection.