Tamolitch Pool “Blue Pool”
If you are headed to/from the Eugene area or taking the McKenzie Pass Hwy 242, I would highly recommend stopping and hiking to Tamolitch Pool along the McKenzie River. It truly is one of Oregon’s gems. The pool is where the McKenzie River resurfaces from underground lava fields and creates an amazing “Blue Pool”.
To reach the trail from FivePine Lodge begin heading west towards Eugene on Hwy 20 and then take Hwy 126 for about 15 minutes. The trail will be on your right and look for the sign for Trail Bridge Campground. After you cross the bridge, stay to the right and you will find the parking lot.
The trail is about 4 miles round trip and an easy to moderate hike. Much of the hike is spent under old growth so depending on the time of year you go, dress accordingly. The first half of the trail is very leisurely and you will cross two bridges. The later part of the hike can be a bit more difficult as there is a slight incline and the terrain is a bit rockier.
Once you reach the pool, prepare to be awe struck by its pure beauty. I’ve been to it twice, once in mid-August and once in late September and both times were amazing. In the summer months, you may find people jumping off the cliff side into the icy water. Be prepared that the water is extremely cold! The trail also does not go around the entire pool; however you can traverse to the other side which will get you direct access to the pool.
After the hike, I would recommend heading to a little “secret” hot spring (shhhh, don’t tell anyone else). From the Trail Bridge road, head right onto Hwy 126 until you reach Deer Creek Rd. The hot springs will be on the left side of the road. You will see two paths, stay left on the path that is closest to the river and it is a short walk to the springs. It can be a bit crowed in the summer since it is a short walk, but it is definitely a nice outing if you have time.