Tucked in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in the Bear River Range lies a breath-taking glacial mountain lake.
Just west of Bear Lake, Bloomington Lake sits at an elevation of 8500 feet and is at least 150 feet deep with clear, icy water. Visitors wanting to appeal to their sense of adventure can enjoy the 30-foot rope swing or cliff jumping from the headwall, the rocky cliffs which are the steepest of the Idaho Bear River Range. For more serene activity, try fishing for trout or bring a canoe to paddle. Surrounding the lake, the forest is riddled with trails for exploring. The Willow Flat campground nearby is situated along the Cub River and is open from May through September.
Although Bloomington Lake is undeniably picturesque, it is biologically important and unique. Bloomington Lake hosts a rare combination of zoological species, some of which are not found anywhere else in Idaho. Two rare plants, Rydberg’s musineon, a member of the parsley family, and green spleenwort, a fern, grow on outcroppings of the lake’s characteristic headwall and can be viewed from a distance. Other uncommon wildflowers, such as alpine mountain sorrel, common alplily, and Parry’s primrose lend variety and beauty to the landscape. The Uinta chipmunk is easily observed at Bloomington Lake and is one of only four populations found throughout the state.
Bloomington Lake is an especially ideal getaway during the summer months where thrill-seekers can escape the heat and see something new. Add the relative accessibility for both Idaho and Utah residents, and you wind up with one unforgettable day trip to the mountains.♦
From Bloomington, Idaho, head west 12 miles along FS road #409 (Bloomington Canyon Road) to a well-marked trailhead. Be advised that there is a half-mile to hike from the parking area at Willow Flat campground to the lake itself. The road is rough and high-clearance vehicles are recommended. You can also reach the Willow Flat campground from Preston Idaho via US Hwy 91 to road 406.