They call it Tamolitch or the “Blue Pool.” It’s one of Oregon’s hidden treasures – a waterfall pool of an iridescent topaz blue that can be found along the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail in the Cascade Mountains between Bend and Eugene.
The pool was formed by the McKenzie River hundreds of years ago, but the waters have since changed course, leaving a dry waterfall ledge and a deep pool. Now the pool is fed from beneath – it’s where the McKenzie leaps to the surface after a three-mile subterranean crawl down from the Carmen Reservoir.
About 30-feet deep, Tamolitch is an astonishing blue -almost blue anti-freeze – and the waters are pristine. In the summer months, these qualities make a great swimming hole after a short hike. Be warned though – the water is very cold! The clarity of the water can also be deceptive, so check the area for underwater boulders before taking a leap in.
The McKenzie River Valley is a year-round recreation destination, and the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is the centerpiece. The Blue Pool can be found about 2 miles from the halfway point on the trail, which winds on. It's a popular stopping point for those braving the hike.
To find the Blue Pool, from McKenzie Bridge: take Highway 126 east 13 miles to Trailbridge Reservoir, then turn west on Forest Road 732. Here you’ll cross the McKenzie River. Go straight at the junction, northeast up Forest Road 655 to McKenzie River Trailhead – Tamolitch (Blue Pool).