So, you’ve heard of the famous Blue Pool in Oregon. You’ve seen the gorgeous photos and have likely pinned one or two to your “Dream Places” list in Pinterest (speaking of, follow us on Pinterest by clicking here) - BUT, did you know there are (at least) two blue pools in Oregon? One near Oakridge and one near McKenzie River! You will enjoy them both, but be sure to do your research so you end up at the one you intend to visit. Below we’ve compiled a list of 10 really cool things to do at Blue Pool in Oregon - five at each location:
Blue Pool #1 (Oakridge, Oregon)
This area outside of Oakridge, Oregon on Highway 58 is a must see for those who like to chase waterfalls. A quick search will show that there are at least 20 in the area to hike in and around. The blue pool can be found within the Blue Pool Campground. Historically, it was quite a sight but it’s sustained damage over the years and there isn’t funding to support it. Don’t let that deter you, the area is beautiful and well worth the trip. And did I mention it was quiet? It’s a nice respite from the overly crowded Waldo Lake with the benefits of being on a creek and further south makes it relatively free of mosquitoes. The campground is full of large, old-growth trees and the sites are well-spaced.
Below are our five favorite things to do/see in the area (in no particular order):
#1 - Picnic on the Salt Creek
There is nothing better than a creek that runs just a few steps from your campground. We love to sit on the creek and read our books, enjoy the peace and quiet or have a picnic. Our favorite picnic snacks are usually meat, cheese and crackers, vegetables but sometimes we'll also make a sandwich, salad or chips with salsa.
#2 - Salt Creek Falls
This falls is described as the second tallest behind Multnomah Falls. But it’s not the second tallest (that’s Linton Falls), but it is the second tallest single drop waterfall in Oregon behind only Multnomah. Regardless of it’s official classification, the waterfall is beautiful and worth the trek. Keep your dogs and kiddos close by, there are many steep cliffs, as well as you approach the falls from the top and it’s a far drop.
#3 - Diamond Creek Falls
#4 - McCredie Hot Springs
McCredie Hot Springs are rustic, undeveloped and free. The day-use area boasts a few small, shallow pools on the side of the river. It’s just off the parking lot, where there are restrooms. But, the pools you want to go see are on the other side of the river. You can be brave and wade across from the day-use site or you can take the next road east of the day use and park along the wilderness. The trail is very nice and just under a mile. When we were there, the first pool was too hot to use. Be sure to always test, the temperatures can be as high as 140 degrees (Fahrenheit) and the water visibly looks the same as the cool water (see picture below, one foot is in hot water, the other in cold).
#5 Swim in the Blue Pool
It's a little chilly, even on a hot day, but fun to take a dip. On our recent trip, Michael dropped his bracelet while messing around but managed to swim around enough to find it!
#6 - St. Vincent de Paul store in Oakridge, Oregon
After we recommended this Blue Pool to a friend, she returned from her visit with an added must-see in the area. I can’t wait to check out this gem the next time we are in the area.
Blue Pool #2 (McKenzie River, Oregon)
We told a friend of ours about our trip to Blue Pool and how much we love the area near Oakridge. She suggested we check out the McKenzie River area off Highway 158, a place we hadn’t been. We made plans and headed out. The area was amazing and now one of our very favorite places to visit in Oregon! There were thousands of beautiful butterflies and a ton of things to see and do. We totally love this area in Oregon and can’t wait to return. We have a list of other places to check out next time: Proxy Falls, Deer Creek HotSprings, Toketee Falls, and Umpqua Hot Springs as well as a longer hike along the McKenzie River and a drive around to see more of the covered bridges. We recently got to stay for five nights and loved every minute of it. The area can be crowded, much more crowded than the other Blue Pool, but depending on the time of year, you might be able to find a quiet corner. Below is our current Top 5 + 2 bonus activities in the McKenzie River area (in no particular order):
We went out to this area, not really knowing what was out there. We could see by the map that there were viewpoints and other attractions. We ended at the Dee Wright Observatory, a tower in the middle of the vast lava fields. It sits on the Cascade Mountain Range at an elevation just over 5100 feet. From there, you can see many mountains.
We were at the observatory on a gorgeous, clear day and were able to see almost all of the mountains with the exception of Mount Hood. The first floor of the observatory has cut outs where you can see the mountains with their names - it’s really fun and we almost skipped it. The top also boasts a copper plate with all the mountains and distances listed.
#2 - Tamolitch Falls and Blue Pool
This is the Blue Pool that you’ll see all over Pinterest and Oregon travel sites. The Tamolitch Falls feed this enormous Blue Pool. It’s a gorgeous pool and well worth the hike. We were lucky enough to make it on a Thursday in July when the trail was relatively quiet - we easily found a spot in the parking lot. It was quite full, but not overfull. On Saturday, when we passed the turn-off from the highway, the cars were parked all the way out on the highway to get to this hike. The trail starts fairly easy, winding along the river and fairly level, the last mile is rough and rocky terrain. We saw people braving it on Mountain Bikes! You can also get to this hike taking the trail out of Coldwater Cove, making it quite a long day hike. The hike is 2.1 miles from Trailbridge Reservoir, making it a nice 4-5 mile round trip hike. We hiked to the top, but the trail does continue over the top of the falls, where it drops near the waters edge. People were swimming in the water and jumping off the rocks. Even in July, the average temperature of the water is around 37 degrees. On the way back, we were happy the trail was along the water’s edge and took a dip in the cold water. After a hike on the hot day through the lava, it was really nice.
#3 - Koosah Falls & Sahalie Falls
I lumped the falls together because they are so close. You should definitely plan to see them both on your trip, don't miss one. In Chinook jargon, Koosah means “Sky”. This beautiful waterfall is easily accessible from the Day Use area within Ice Cap campground. You can also find it by finding the trail that leads directly from the campground. The trail is nice, fairly level and goes along the creek to the falls. We camped in the area and could hear the waterfall at night - one of our favorite sounds!
From Koosah, you can continue down the trail about five minutes to Sahalie Falls, another beautiful falls in the area. Sahalie in Chinook jargon means “Heaven.” These falls can also be accessed from their own day use area. If you park at the day-use area, go to the platform by heading to the right. When we were there, everyone was at the one at the left and there wasn’t anyone at the right.The trail continues up to Clear Lake, Goldwater Cove and the Great Spring.
#4 - Clear Lake & Great Springs
Again, a combination site, the Great Springs (and other springs) feed the Clear Lake, so it's impossible to see one and not the other. We continued down the trail all the way to the Great Springs. The trail winds through the forest, along the water and through lava fields. Beware that there is a stretch that is paved and not shaded. This area can get scorching hot for dog paws. Euro started to jump around, so we ran through the area to get him off the pavement fast. We made sure to get into some water as soon as possible to cool him off. This hike is easy to moderate, but took much longer than we anticipated. We didn’t run into many people at all, making this a very tranquil and quiet hike.
Clear Lake is fed by a cold water aquifers from the snow melt of Mt. Bachelor. The snow falls, accumulates, and slowly melts into the ground, finding the channels to the aquifer until it comes out in a number of springs feeding Clear Lake - we were told the journey takes 20 years! We met up with a few fellow hikers who were filling their bottles - so we filled up ours. The water was so clear and very cold.
#5 - Coldwater Cove and Clear Lake Resort
Clear Lake Resort is nice little stopping place for a rest in the shade and at the picnic tables. The store has boat and kayak rentals, a small offering of foods and snacks and ice cream bars. We cooled off with an Otter Pop.
#6 - McKenzie General Store
Ah, the McKenzie General Store. We enjoyed this place immensely and it should not be missed. They have a great selection of beers and wines - even some on tap. They have gifts, snacks and an onsite restaurant with live music and dog friendly patio. On the day we hiked to the Great Spring, we underestimated the amount of time it would take us for the hike, getting us back to our campsite just as the sun was setting. We decided to drive to the General Store and eat their grilled salmon tacos for dinner instead of cooking. Euro loved the picnic table and was quite comfortable.
#7 - Belknap Hot Springs
Being in McCredie just a few weeks before this trip, Belknap Hot Springs were a bit posh. The hot spring that feeds a swimming pool where the water is regulated. The grounds and gardens around Belknap are well maintained and make for a nice afternoon walk, if you’re into that. We went early in the day when it was around 70 degrees because Euro isn’t allowed. He stayed in the car while we quickly showered, soaked and showered again.
We love both of Oregon's Blue Pools and make it back to each whenever we can. We highly suggest both, you will not be disappointed.