We spent a weekend camping near Bend and decided to hike to Oregon’s Blue Pool (officially known at Tamolitch Blue Pool or Tamolitch Falls).
I’ve wanted to hike to Tamolitch Blue Pool for years now and the opportunity finally presented itself!
I have one question – why haven’t I hiked this trail earlier?! It’s incredible!
Read on to learn everything you need to know before hiking to Oregon’s famous Blue Pool.
What makes the Blue Pool so cool?
First, the clear topaz-blue color of the water is truly unbelievable (you’ll know what I mean when you see it in person).
The glass-like water is misleading — making it seem like the pool is only a few feet deep (when in actuality it reaches depths of 30 feet).
Secondly, when you reach the Blue Pool you might ask yourself where the water comes from, since it appears to pool up out of nowhere.
Believe it or not, the Tamolitch Blue Pool is where the McKenzie River rises to the surface through underground lava tubes – how cool is that?
Tamolitch Pool Hike (Quick Stats)
- Distance: 4.2 miles, out and back
- Elevation gain: 300′
- Difficulty: Easy, good for all skill levels
- Popularity: Heavily trafficked, very popular trail
- Estimated hiking time: 2 hours
- Best seasons to hike: spring thru fall
Blue Pool Hiking Tips
The water is freezing (don’t jump)!
- The water in the Tamolitch Pool hovers around 40 degrees, swimming is strongly discouraged. Cliff diving at the Oregon Blue Pool is extremely dangerous (folks have died diving into it).
Practice Leave No Trace
- If you’re unfamiliar with leave no trace, it’s a measure to be a good steward of the land. You can read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
You + Sunscreen = Best Friends (Forever)
- Make sure to pack sunscreen for the hike! Here’s the sunscreen I’ve used for the past 6+ years, I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk. You’ll never catch me without it!
Wear hiking boots with good traction
- Even though the trail is well maintained, exposed roots are common. It’s easy to trip in the woods, so set yourself up for success by wearing proper shoes.
- These are my hiking boots, and I’d sleep in them if I could.
- Bring more water than you think you’ll need. I never leave the house without by yellow HydroFlask (made in Bend!)
- Expect crowds. I suggest arriving before 8am and avoiding weekends altogether, if possible. The Blue Pool hike is very popular!
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
- Pups are allowed on the Tamolitch Blue Pool hike, but must be kept on leash.
Where is the Tamolitch Blue Pool?
The Blue Pool hike starts at the McKenzie River Trailhead in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon.
There’s two access points for the Tamolitch Blue Pool Hike – The Trail at Bridge Reservoir (this is the route we hiked, it’s the main trail). The second access point is from the Carmen Reservoir.
Regardless of the route you choose, arrive early (before 8am) to avoid crowds. This hike is very popular (for good reason) so it’s hard to maintain social distance — masks are a must.
Tamolitch Blue Pool Hike
The Tamolitch Blue Pool hike starts at the entrance of an old-growth forest. The trail follows the McKenzie River along a cliff’s edge. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow (there’s no confusing turn-off points).
Since the trail is well marked and easy to follow, simply stay the course and you’ll reach the Blue Pool after 2 miles. We saw tons of kids on this hike — it’s manageable for all skill levels.
Once you reach the Blue Pool you have two options – sit down and enjoy the views before turning back OR head down toward the embankment and get closer to the crystal clear water.
Read on if you’d like to reach the water.
Accessing the Blue Pool
Want to get closer to the water? You can!
To reach the water, continue following the ledge that leads to the embankment next to the pool. Accessing the Blue Pool requires some light scrambling.
Reaching the pool doesn’t require too much effort, but you can expect loose rocks and a steep climb up on your return – it’s definitely manageable!
Take the McKenzie Hwy 126 14 miles east of McKenzie Bridge. If coming from the Hwy 20 junction it’s 10 miles south of the junction. Turn at the Trailbridge Campground sign.
More helpful posts:
- 10 BEST Hikes Near Bend, Oregon
- Weekend Guide to Bend, Oregon
- Pros & Cons of Living in Portland
- 10 Ways to Travel More with a Full Time Job
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Until next time,
Lisa Santos says
What happened to the Oregon Caves? They should be included as one of Oregon’s wonders. There are also several vineyards & wineries in the area worth visiting.
Antonina Pattiz says
Great call on the Oregon Caves! I’ll add them to the list.