The rugged terrain of the Oregon Coast Range means it can be harder to find a family-friendly hike away from the main tourist trails, but the Bloom Lake Trail is an exception.
It’s a 3.4-mile lollipop trail, with under 700 feet of elevation gain, and it can be hiked year-round. You’d think a trail with such great features would be crowded, but its location in the Clatsop State Forest means it’s often overlooked as folks travel to or from the Oregon Coast. But it’s a lovely hike, a great detour from Highway 26 beach traffic, and well worth the stop.
The main feature of this trail is Bloom Lake, a small body of water that sits above the Quartz Creek drainage area. But on your way up you’ll find an abundance of coastal lowland tree species to mark off your tree-spotting lists, such as Western hemlock and Sitka spruce, but also a nice mix of higher elevation trees, including Douglas, noble, and silver firs.
The hike mostly follows old logging roads, so they tend to be wide and clear, if not always even or maintained. And while this hike is open all seasons, do watch out for boggy spots in the rainy months!
The hike kicks off with a footbridge sheltered by alder trees, and a helpful sign indicating that Bloom Lake is just over a mile down the road. There’s a footbridge to cross, and then the start of some switchbacks heading up gently through thickets of the usual Pacific Northwest undercover – salmonberry, huckleberry, sword fern, and a scattering of spindly vine maples. You’ll also spot large stumps trailside – these are leftovers from the area’s logging days about a century ago.
After a little hiking the trail connects with a newer road bed, at which you’ll take a right and continue trekking up. If the trail gets muggy, this might signal your approach to a small and weedy pond off to the right, which you can sludge out to on a trail spur, although I only advise this during the drier seasons. But if you make it out, tread carefully out of kindness for resting ducks – they can be easily startled by approaching humans (as I found out)!
The main trail heads on, leveling out as you approach a trail post. The woods thicken here as the path dips down through lush and mossy groves, and you’ll start to spot the glinting of Bloom Lake through the trees. A trail sign announces your arrival, which you'll walk past towards a little creek that flows from the lake. The ground can get pretty boggy here, so if your balancing skills are up it to, you can catwalk over the creek via the giant fallen tree bridging it.
Up ahead is a small campsite, which you cross through to find a gravel road, with a side trail off to the left. This leads to a path that winds around the rim of Little Bloom, which is fairly boggy and smells strongly of skunk cabbage and other marshy lake growth. It's a very serene water feature, though, and it's worth a stroll around.
To head back to the trail, return to the gravel road and take a right, then cross a trench to connect back with an old road bed. The trail gains some elevation, crosses a small creek and then descends back to the woods to reconnect with the loop junction.