The Mg-Zn-Zr alloy ZK60 with added trace rare-earth elements Y(0.9wt%) and Ce(0.9wt%) were prepared. After hot extrusion and aging treatment, the tensile mechanical properties of the alloys were tested at room temperature. Microstructures of the alloys were investigated by optical microscope (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The existing form, affecting mechanisms of trace Y and Ce in alloys and the effects on the microstructures and mechanical properties of ZK60 alloy were discussed. The results showed that: trace rare-earth elements Y and Ce both had remarkable grain-refining effects on the alloys, while the grain-refining effect of Y was more significant than that of Ce. RE elements Y and Ce improved the mechanical properties of the ZK60 alloy, but the strengthening effect of Y was more remarkable. It was found that σb of Mg-Zn-Zr-Y alloy was improved by 12.6％. Addition of Ce to the ZK60 alloy led to an increase in ductility of the alloy from 15% to 17%.