- Level: Easy (Beginner Level: Doable)
- Length: 4.2 miles
- Elevation: 200 ft. gain
- Type: out and back
- Open: April to mid-December
- Permit: n/a
- Drive time from Portland: 2h45m
- Google map: “Tamolitch Trailhead”
- Features: Old growth forest, crystal blue springs, McKenzie River
Tamolitch Pool, aka Blue Pool, is said to be the most beautiful part of the McKenzie River Trail and I absolutely believe that to be true. I am completely helpless to an old growth forest. A Doug Fir giant cuts right through me. A twisty snag home to more lichen than I can possibly identify blows my heart open. The trail follows eastward along the river, the climb gentle. The pool itself is exquisite beyond words. Dazzling blue-green, mirror-like and perfectly clear. There’s a dry waterfall bed that only flows a few times a year when the McKenzie River is raging. The rest of the time, the pool flows from the underwater rock basin. Apparently, there’s a way to get down to the dry waterfall and leads to the actual side of the pool. I didn’t check it out at the time due to ice and snow. Some call it Little Crater Lake, but there’s already a Little Crater Lake up on Mt. Hood (an easy drive from Portland).
This trail has seasonal dates, so check in with the ranger station to see if it’s open. Be cautious of weather in winter. If you want a longer trek, think about continuing on the McKenzie River Trail or, pairing this with some of the other legs of the trail at Sahalie Falls and Clear Lake.
From the trailhead:
After the first mostly level 1.1 miles, the trail begins to climb up and through a lava flow, always along the river, to a viewpoint of the pool. There’s a side trail that skirts around that side of it.