Adventures at Tamolitch Falls and Blue Pool on the McKenzie River Trail

Adventures at Tamolitch Falls and Blue Pool on the McKenzie River Trail

This has been on my Oregon adventure bucket list for far too long, and I finally got the chance to experience it!
A much needed day in the beauty of Oregon's Willamette National Forest.  Come along and enjoy these glimpses.

Tamolitch Falls

The now seasonal Tamolitch Falls cascade down during peak river flow into the Blue Pool below. This hidden blue gem is on the McKenzie River Trail deep in the Cascade mountain range.  Fun side note, did you know one of my two middle names is McKenzie?  Of course I was destined for this adventure!

During the rest of the year, an underground lava flow from Belknap Crater resurfaces in the pool at the base of the falls and can be seen sending gentle ripples out into the water of the Tamolitch Blue Pool.  

Tamolitch means “tub” or “bucket” in the native Chinook language, and this crystal clear pool captures those spring waters in the most beautiful way.

Keep reading to enjoy the crown jewel at the finale!  

The Routes

Good news!  There are two routes depending on your level of hiking skill.  I will leave it to the experts on your web searching for all of the maps and routes, but we opted for the gentle lower trail that boasted 2.2 miles in and the same path on the return (it was pretty scientific, it was written in Sharpie on the trailhead sign but we clocked it as the same on our app). 


We so enjoyed the wildflowers in bloom as we hiked through the forest and even up into the lava flows as the elevation rose.  Though we were past the Trilliums blooming but saw Dogwoods with white blooms and enjoyed Oregon Wild Iris, a white and yellow variety that I don't think I had seen before.  

I will offer bonus extra credit it anyone can tell me the name of these tiny yellow flowers we found with the even tinier red hearts on their bottom petals...

Okay, what did I learn on this hike that I would share to ensure that you are prepared?

My Quick Tips

  • Head out early on a weekday to get the best parking near the trailhead, take advantage of cooler weather depending on the season, and to make sure that you allow yourself up to four hours to go in and back.  You also want full sun on the pool so you can appreciate its colors.

  • Wear hiking boots/shoes.  The trail can be very muddy if there has been recent rain and there are lots of rocks to walk on as you climb into the lava flow higher elevation.  Ankle support is recommended and thick soles to make sure the craggy rocks don't hurt your feet.

  • Hiking 101 basics - hydration, refueling, be safe, and have fun!

  • Natural recovery protocols in case ~4.4 miles is more than you are normally doing, you know I have you covered friend :)

  • For blisters add some Lavender essential oil to Animal Scents Ointment, gently rub in, and cover overnight with a light sock. Sore muscles, either Deep Relief Roll-On or Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream!


Bonus Adventure

If like me, you come in from HWY 20 to the northwest, check out the restored Weddle Covered Bridge in downtown Sweet Home!  There are some 54 wooded covered bridges in Oregon, let's plan a road trip to see them all soon...

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Information courtesy of Echo Alexzander