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Soapstone Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Soapstone Lake in mid-winter garb (bobcat)
Soapstone Creek confluence, Soapstone Lake Trail (bobcat)
Railroad tie steps, Soapstone Lake Trail (bobcat)
The trail to Soapstone Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Soapstone Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Soapstone Lake
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 305 feet
  • High Point: 605 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Soapstone Lake lies nestled on the west side of the Coast Range in Clatsop County. The lake supports waterfowl, cutthroat trout, and teems with newts. At its south end there are a series of old beaver dams. The trail to the lake heads past the meadow where pioneer Erik Lindgren from Finland built his homestead out of hand-hewn cedar planks in 1922. Outbuildings included a barn, smokehouse, and sauna. After the property was deserted, the outbuildings became campers’ fuel over the years, and the house was dismantled around 1970 and moved to Cullaby Lake County Park south of Astoria (See the Cullaby Lake Loop Hike).

From the trailhead, walk along an old road bed in thinned secondary woodland of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red-cedar, red alder, sword fern, and deer fern. Large stumps attest to the old growth that once forested the area. The trail drops to a footbridge in a gully and then rises. Drop again to a second footbridge and note all the blown down trees in this section of the forest. Reach Soapstone Meadows, which are rimmed by bulrushes, alders and larger Douglas-firs. The trail skirts this meadow, the site of Erik and Johanna Lindgren’s pioneer home. All that remains are a grove of large cherry trees and some rocks used as corner supports for the house. The path drops to a footbridge over the East Fork of Soapstone Creek; you can look for greenish-black, slippery soapstone here. Then head up rail tie steps among large Douglas-fir stumps and a few big Sitka spruce. Reach the Soapstone Lake Loop Trail Junction and go right.

The trail heads uphill and passes a campsite on the left. Soapstone Lake shimmers below. Pass a junction with a spur trail leading out to a logging road not far away. Head up steps on a ridge crest forested by hemlock, spruce, and sword fern. The trail undulates and gradually drops, dipping below a large hemlock and then passing a couple of large spruce trees before reaching the wooden causeway that crosses the marsh at the south end of the lake. Above and below this footbridge are old beaver dams, but the beavers themselves are gone for the time being. Reach the opposite shore and an alder bottomland. Cross a creek that runs into the lake at a scouring rush bog. Large old logs sprouting their own mini-gardens jut into the lake. Look for tiny insect-eating sundew plants on these logs: this is the only place in this part of the Coast Range where they are found. Walk along an alley of alders and reach the lake’s outlet creek, which later joins Soapstone Creek. Cross the footbridge here, reach the Soapstone Lake Loop Trail Junction, and go right to return to the trailhead.


Maps

Fees, Facilities, etc.

  • Campsites: under the cherry trees at Soapstone Meadows and above the junction at the lake

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest by the Tillamook State Forest Committee, Columbia Group Sierra Club
  • Best Hikes Near Portland by Fred Barstad
  • One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.