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Summer Hotspots: Tamolitch Pool

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Stormtracker 9 WxPix gallery is full of unique locations around Oregon.

The Tamolitch Pool is one of Oregon’s natural wonders. From its crystal clear waters to its aquamarine color, it is a stunning sight after just a short hike.

The entrance to the hidden gem is tucked away off Highway 126, about 14 miles past McKenzie Bridge. Surrounded by towering Douglas Firs, the easily-marked trail meanders its way through the forest, with the roaring McKenzie River following along next to it.

The journey also offers hikers several chances to feel just how cold the water is before the trail begins to climb, leaving the river behind.

“It’s the best of the Cascades. There are some beautiful vistas, so you can see the high mountains. There are lava flows, the river is gorgeous, and everything about it is lovely,” said Dave Dusseau.

Halfway into the hike, the terrain literally transforms under your feet. Basalt rocks from an eruption of the Belknap volcano 1,500 years ago swallows up the forest floor. The trail becomes a bit more rugged, requiring better footing to move across the lava rocks.

“The trail presents itself really differently, so I would encourage people to do different parts of it at different times. To walk through the lava beds is really a pretty unique experience. To walk along the roaring river is something completely different,” said David Dusseau.

All that extra effort is worth it though. The payoff comes once you reach the top; the view of the Tamolich Pool is simply spectacular.

“Virtually something you will not see anywhere else in the country, I would imagine. Very few places have this aquamarine hue to it that is just fabulous,” said Elise Hamburg.

The color isn’t the only thing unique about this pool. When the McKenzie is running high, it creates a waterfall that flows right down into the pool. But for most of the year, the falls remain dry and the river runs three-and- a-half miles below ground before springing up into the pool.

The name Tamolitch is of Chinook origin and means “tub” or “bucket”, which is basically the pool’s shape. You will also hear it called the “blue pool” because of the unique color.

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