Hello Bend! This week’s adventure post is a highlight of the stunning Blue Pool of Tamolitch Falls. It is one of the most exquisite, bright turquoise pools in Oregon and I loved that it was a little bit of a hike to get there! The falls are created where the McKenzie River flows through a lava tube, and the Blue Pool is the collection of the frigid (37 degrees Fahrenheit) crystal clear water from the falls.
Tamolitch Falls is located about 60 miles outside of Bend or a 45-minute drive from where we stayed at FivePine Lodge in Sisters for a weekend getaway. The trailhead itself is in very close proximity to Sahalie and Koosah Falls, so it’s easy to take a pit stop on the drive and check out those stunning falls with very little hiking involved!
Parking Tip: Go past the first parking lot you encounter and continue over the bridge for another half mile–there is parking along the road near the trailhead you can take advantage of if you get there early enough!
Local Tip: Stop at Sisters Meat & Smokehouse on the way in for a DELICIOUS picnic lunch!
The trail is a fairly simple 3.7 mile round trip out-and-back hike that only sports about a 300-foot elevation gain. The beginning of the hike starts off easy through the beautiful old growth Douglas Fir forest–but DON’T let the ease fool you–it gets steep with tricky footing in some places. Because the majority of the path is rocky, it is not accessible to strollers or rolling coolers. One warning for those with backpacks or kids–the trail passes one ledge with a steep drop off to the McKenzie River before you reach the Blue Pool.
There are plenty of viewing areas along the top rim, but there is a lower bank you can hang out on. It was just my husband, Jeff and I when we went as we were on a little romantic getaway to FivePine Lodge in Sisters but we missed the kids! Obviously, I didn’t get Emmy’s official Whine-O-Meter reading, but if I were to guess (and we brought enough lunch & snacks) she would rate it as a 5. It’s a steep hike down to the pool, and both Jeff and I are recovering from some injuries so we decided to hang at the top. Next time, we’ll definitely bring the kids and we already have our picnic spot picked out!
It is a heavily-trafficked trail with loads of spectators coming to witness the intriguing, bright blue pools. The path is narrow, and only about 1/2 the people we encountered wore masks. We found that the neck “scarves” or “gaiters” are great for hiking because you can keep it around your neck and simply pull it up when you encounter others on the trail.
The stunning bright Blue Pool is unlike really any other body of water in the area. It’s a little bit of a steep descent down to the lower area, but so worth it! Fun fact: the water temperature is so cold, that several native, normal microorganisms present in other areas nearby are not able to survive in the frigidity.
Some people jump off of the cliffs into the pools–it can be fun to watch, and a rush to experience, but it is highly discouraged due to danger. It’s important to note that the water is SO cold so make sure you are prepared for the temperature if swimming. In recent times, there have been multiple instances where Search and Rescue has been called in to assist divers in trouble because of the cold. In an article posted by That Oregon Life, they outline some of the concerns with diving into the pool. If you do decide to swim, bring a towel and lounge in the sun post-swim on one of the lower pool access areas.
Know Before You Go:
Start early in the morning
Bring water, snacks/ a picnic
Wear sturdy shoes
If you bring a swimsuit, also bring a towel
Tag #HelloBend in your social media posts when you go!
Leave garbage/ trash
Bring a stroller or rolling cooler
Ignore all warnings about the frigid water
Be disrespectful of the trail and other people hiking
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