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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
7.50 mi (12.07 km)
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The stretch of the McKenzie River Trail that runs between Carmen Diversion Reservoir and Tamolitch Falls, also known as the Blue Pool, is notable for the conspicuous absence of the McKenzie River.  After leaving Clear Lake, the McKenzie’s path is steep, wild, and includes miles of turbulent drops, sharp banks, and both Sahalie and Koosah Falls.  Carmen Diversion Reservoir is a brief moment of calm; here the Eugene Water and Electric Board diverts a good portion of the river through underground tunnels to Scott Reservoir.  The portion that is not diverted leaves the reservoir and continues to flow beneath the riverbed all the way to Tamolitch Falls.  As a result of these diminished flows, Tamolitch Falls are no more.  The giant basin that the falls once poured into, however, is constantly filled by the underground river as if by a spring, and it remains one of the most beautiful chapters in this upper McKenzie saga.

When compared with the turbulent, noisy trail sections that lie above Carmen Reservoir, this stretch of the McKenzie River Trail is an almost eerie respite.  With its ghostly bridge crossings and empty pools, the vacant riverbed silently gestures towards the momentous fluvial incarnations upriver.  The trail works its way through gorgeous stands of old-growth Douglas fir and cedar that are dense enough to limit understory growth.  The clear floor, dense canopy, and solid presence of fir and cedar columns conveys a sense of the grandest architecture. Maples dominate in the areas where the trail swerves toward the dry riverbed.  You will cross four bridges on the way to Tamolitch Pool, and over each it is possible to imagine the unconstrained river pushing up to the lava banks.

Tamolitch Pool is truly breathtaking the first time you see it. You will spot the former falls by the conspicuous gap in the rim around the pool, and it is along this end of the pool that the McKenzie now springs up from its underground journey.  Look closely at the surface of the water to see the currents billowing on the surface. The pool itself is a remarkable sapphire gem, deep and clear enough for a viewer standing some 30 feet above the surface to see every twig that rests on the bottom. 

Plenty of visitors decide to try a jump or two from the surrounding cliffs.  Be aware that, in addition to the dangers affiliated with height, this water is only a few degrees above freezing.  No matter how warm you are from the hike, this water is dangerously cold and has proven perilous to more than a few very healthy jumpers.  Take precautions, and consider walking around the pool to the far side where jumps would be lower and egress easier.
 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Stunning pool. Robust old-growth. Ghostly riverbed. Easy hike.

Cons

Overly enthusiastic mountain bikers.

Trailhead Elevation

2,629.00 ft (801.32 m)

Net Elevation Gain

100.00 ft (30.48 m)

Features

Old-growth forest
Wildflowers

Suitable for

Biking

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

07/07/2018
This was a great hike! I also hiked to Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls from the trailhead after the Tamolitch Pool which was a great addition!
09/11/2016
Folks... this *opened back up* last weekend! Get on out there!
06/25/2016
Great hike, especially for first timers or kids. Its an easy 3.75 miles into the Blue Pool. Pretty flat terrain with some cool log bridges. Once you arrive at the pool, you can take a look or hike the other side and down to the water. It was very dog friendly, and mine were in and out of the water. One thing to watch out for is the mountain bikers. They are all very friendly, just be aware and step off the trail so they can pass.
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