Tucked away in the nether reaches of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, Tamolitch Pool is like nowhere else on Earth. Surrounded by old growth forests, massive ferns and the idyllic McKenzie River, the pool appears seeming out of nowhere.
Oregon's Highway 126 runs through the Cascade Range east of Eugene, following the rambling path of the McKenzie River. With hiking, biking and swimming opportunities all over the Willamette National Forest, Highway 126 is an adventurer's paradise. But there may be no spot in the area as impressive as Tamolitch Pool.
About 50 miles east of Eugene on Highway 126, the Tamolitch Pool trailhead is well marked, and the trail is on the north side of the highway. You will proceed past a hydroelectric facility, then down a short dirt road to the parking lot and trailhead.
The hike itself is not especially long - about 2 miles each direction, and mostly flat. But the trail can be somewhat challenging. The second mile of the hike, the trail crosses over ancient volcanic rocks, so you need to watch your step. This portion is where the trail rises above the McKenzie River, though only gaining about 100 feet in elevation over the course of the mile.
Along the way, you'll pass stunning Old Growth Douglas Firs, numerous wetlands and Instagram-friendly wooden bridges.
At the point where you reach the pool, the trail more or less ends, and devolves into numerous small paths criss-crossing the area. You will be on the south end of the pool, looking down from the cliffs above. This high vantage point offers the best views, and highlights the clarity and depth of the water.
While in the area, make sure to check out nearby Koosah and Sahalie Falls. These two gems are only about 3 miles up the road, and are also close to the highway. 15 miles west of Tamolitch Pool on Highway 126 as well is Terwilliger Hot Springs, one of our favorite natural springs in the entire Northwest.
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