Tamolitch Blue Pool is a gorgeous gem-like body of water at the base of Tamolitch Falls. The colors are so vibrant it literally takes your breath away.
Once a majestic waterfall, the McKenzie River has changed course and gone underground a few miles up stream. The river only flows over the falls a few times a year, the rest if the time the water emerges from the rocks underwater in the basin of waterfall pool. Its is rare to see a large waterfall ledge completely dry, the color and composition of the pool is also unique.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the color of the water. The topaz blue color of the water is almost iridescent – like a blue Otter Pop (and almost as cold). The water is so clear that some might assume it to be only about 5 ft deep – yet closer inspection will reveal that in many spots its over 30 ft deep. So pure in fact that you’d swear the water wasn’t moving – yet at the end of this glass like pond – a huge volume of water rushes out as the McKenzie River is reborn.
Accessing the Pool
You get to the water by hiking over the waterfall ledge and taking the trail that leads you down to the side of the pool. Accessing the waters edge is not an easy feat – it requires bouldering over large rocks and then a steep trail down to the water. You can always jump off the ledge to the water, but we don’t recommend it. The water is cold, the jump is high and the climb back up is hard.
Part of the McKenzie River Trail
Tamolitch Blue Pool has two access points – the main one is at Trail bridge Reservoir – about midway on Oregon’s famous McKenzie River Trail. From this trailhead it is a 2 mile hike to Tamolitch Blue Pool.
The upper access point is at Carmen Reservoir. From here it is a 3 mile hike down to Tamolitch Blue Pool. This is a harder trailhead to find. We recommend you access the lower trailhead.
Hiking Shuttles are Available
McKenzie River Mountain Resort & Shuttle offers a shuttle for hikers and mountain bikers. They can help you arrange a shuttle for a one way 5, 6 or 9 mile hike. The longer hike includes Sahalie & Koosah Falls. The longest hike includes Clear Lake. Shuttle rates are $25-30 per person. Shuttles daily at 9:30 and by appointment. Reservations required (Rates as of 8/2019)
If you are hiking the trail you can access this by either hiking down approx. 3 miles from Carmen Smith Reservoir or hiking about 2 miles up the trail from Trailbridge Reservoir. There is free parking at both sites.
- Avoid this place on weekends. Its just gotten too busy.
- Hike early in the morning or late afternoon.
- Allow 2-3 hours for this adventure.
- Wear Good Solid Shoes to Hike in
Consider staying in a local lodge so you can start early. Plan to get a cold beverage and a nice meal after the hike. If you are coming off season, you’ll definitely want to pair this with a relaxing soak in a hot springs after the hike.
Leave NO Trace – if you pack it in – pack it out. Respect plants and rock formations along the way.
WARNING: The water here is extremely cold – despite being listed as one of the worlds top 50 places to swim – this is not a swimming hole.
Warning – this is a tougher hiking trail – 1 mile is through lava fields. Not appropriate for walkers or strollers.
Cliff jumping into the pool is also discouraged – hypothermia is easy to get in water this cold and people have died here from it. This is also a very difficult place to get emergency crews in to help you should you have an accident – like a mis-jump or another health issue caused from the impact or cold.
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- CategoryArea Waterfalls, Hiking
- LocationMcKenzie River
- By Chris LaVoie
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org