OR – Willamette National Forest, Coffin and Bachelor Mountains

Social media created a frenzy of must see places with timely postings of WOW photos. I have to admit I got caught up in this one, the bear grass superbloom.

To the left is Coffin Mountain, in the middle is Bachelor Mountain (not Mt Bachelor), and to the right is Mt Jefferson. My plan was to hike both Coffin and Bachelor.

Hike #1 – Coffin Mountain

For best photography lighting I chose to hike near sunset and sunrise. I felt like I was in a magical Dr. Seuss forest.

By the time I arrived at the open field, I was feeling a bit disappointed as it looked like I’d missed peak bloom.

Rather than pout, I decided to look at the scene from a different perspective.

With 5:30am sunrise, I decided to enjoy a cup of coffee rather than making the summit. Regrets?

I was on trail before 7am saying good morning to the bear grass, and a trio of hikers who were returning from their sunrise hike. Regrets?

My view of the Central Oregon Cascade Range including Three Fingered Jack, Mt Washington and the Three Sisters.

The reason for this mass bloom of bear grass is historical wildfires. According to the USFS website, the lookout has been rebuilt at least three times since it was originally erected in 1905.

That’s Mt Hood in the distance.

Love this feature in the Peak Finder app.

My view from the lookout.

There was more to see besides bear grass.

Oh but wait, there’s more.

Hike #2 – Bachelor Mountain Trail

The trailhead is marked on maps but it’s a mystery in reality. As a result I met a couple who asked Google to guide them to Coffin Mountain rather than Coffin Mountain Trailhead. They’d already hiked about 1.5 miles before I met them and they couldn’t figure out why the scenery didn’t match the photo they’d been sent.

Instead of bear grass gone crazy, I got sunflower bliss.

The trail wasn’t exciting but I found a few gifts.

There was some blooming bear grass along the way but tons of grass minus the blooms. I wonder if they’ll bloom this year? I heard bear grass is on a 5-7 year cycle so maybe that’s why the superbloom on Coffin Mountain. Possibly the majority of plants are similar age following the most recent fire whereas the ones on Bachelor Mountain are from older stock. 

At the top of the summit, where there once upon a time was a fire lookout, is supposedly a view worthy of the hike.

I finally found a sign, although the trail is easy to follow, it was a nice guidepost at this junction.

Looking at Mt Hood and Mt Adams from Bachelor Mountain summit.

Looking at Mt Jefferson from the summit of Bachelor Mountain.

The Gaia view.

A benefit of hiking this trail is this view of Coffin Mountain. Does it look like a coffin? The brown open area is the bear grass meadow.

Do you see the lookout on Coffin Mountain?

Adventure Date(s):

  • July 11-12, 2019

Hike Details:

  • Coffin Mountain
  • Bachelor Mountain


  • Coffin Mountain has become a bit abused and overused during this superbloom season. There isn’t a restroom at either of the trailheads either.
  • Of course, some hikers feel like rules don’t apply to them. Dog poo bags were left under the LNT sign.
  • There are plenty of nearby dispersed and backcountry opportunities, Coffin has become off limits.



3 thoughts on “OR – Willamette National Forest, Coffin and Bachelor Mountains

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