Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool) #3507
The beauty of Tamolitch Falls (also known as Blue Pool) has always made it a popular spot. This cliff-rimmed basin was renamed “Tamolitch,” in 1933 by William Parke, a recreational engineer for the Willamette National Forest, inspired by the Chinook jargon word for “bucket.” Although the flow of the falls is typically only seen in spring, the pool continues to be fed by underground springs. Today, this rocky section of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail from Trail Bridge Reservoir north along the McKenzie River and the stunningly clear water of the pool draw hundreds of hikers, photographers and mountain bikers.
A lava flow from Belknap Crater 1,600 years ago buried a 3 mile (4.8 km) stretch of the McKenzie River between Carmen Reservoir and Tamolitch Falls. The river resurfaces at Tamolitch Pool at the base of dry Tamolitch Falls, seeping up to the surface through the porous lava, creating a pristine turquoise blue colored pool. The water, a chilly 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 C) on average, reflects the surrounding cliffs covered with alder and evergreen trees. While the falls are dry the majority of the time, during wet winters the river can flood over the lava bed and Tamolitch Falls will flow.
With the popularity of Blue Pool, please help protect this area and preserve the experience for you and for future visitors. Practice Leave No Trace Principles during your visit. There are no services or facilities such as garbage or restrooms so please pack-it-in pack-it-out.
While it is a relatively short hike, the rough, rocky terrain can be challenging so sturdy, closed-toed footwear is recommended.
- Length: From Carmen Smith Reservoir (3.3 miles); from Trailbridge Reservoir (2.1 miles)
- Elevation: begins at 2200 ft. elevation and ends at 2450 ft. elevation (south to north)
- Difficulty: Moderate
At a Glance
|Best Season:||Spring to Fall|
|Closest Towns:||McKenzie Bridge, OR|
|Restroom:||Only available at nearby campgrounds and day use sites|
|Information Center:||McKenzie River Ranger District
57600 McKenzie Hwy
McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413
The trail to Tamolitch Blue Pool can be accessed from Carmen Smith Reservoir (3.3 miles north) or from McKenzie River Trailhead: Tamolitch Blue Pool (2.1 miles south).
From McKenzie River Trailhead: Tamolitch Blue Pool: From the McKenzie River Ranger Station, take Highway 126 east 10 miles to Trail Bridge Reservoir. Turn left on FS Road 730 (at the sign to Trail Bridge Reservoir). Cross the river and turn right on FS Road 2672-655, travel ½ mile to parking area. Walk slightly uphill to trailhead sign, begin walking upstream.
The trailheads experience heavy use, particularly during the spring/summer months. Please plan your visit accordingly and arrive early or late in the day when there is less traffic.
NOTICE: Forest Service Road 2600-740 road off Hwy 126 and surrounding area is closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. No parking is allowed. A Forest Protection Officer will contact any unauthorized person with a vehicle that is parked in the closure area. Any repeat violators will be issued a Violation Notice. Any persons who refuse to leave the closed parking area, or who refuse to identify themselves, can be subject to arrest. Forest Order 06-18-01-17-09
- McKenzie River National Recreation Trail
- Clear Lake
- Sahalie and Koosah Falls
- Trail Bridge Campground
- Paradise Campground
- Ice Cap Campground
While it is not against the rules to jump in, there are a few safety considerations: The steep cliffs surrounding the pool are 10-60 feet tall and the average water temperature is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, you can become hypothermic in less than 10 minutes.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Mountain bikers: yield to hikers, expect congestion, and use caution through the rough, rocky terrain.
Alerts & Warnings
- FIRE CLOSURES: Cedar Creek, Beachie Creek & Lionshead, Holiday Farm, Potter, etc
- Forest Road 46 open for 11 miles; portion closed to vehicle traffic
- Pile Burning November-March 2023
- Helicopter Operations Near McKenzie Bridge Oct. 19-Feb. 1
- Carmen Diversion Reservoir closed through 2023