I was fortunate to be taken on a guided hike to Tamolitch Pool, on the McKenzie River Trail, on Tuesday, June 17th/2008. It is a 4 mile round trip hike, and for the most part relativley easy, some slight climbing. There were parents with children, and even hard core mountain bike riders, taking this trail, however it is not accessible to wheelchairs.
For the most part you are level with the river , with a slow climb, you are then looking down at the powerful raging river.
This trail leads you through magnificent old growth fir, hemlock and cedar, with wild rhododendrons, ferns of all kinds and a sprinkling of wild flowers.
As you get closer, you begin a climb through ancient lava beds and one can stand there and imagine how it must have been, thousands of years ago.
Much to my guides surprise, when we arrived at the Tamolitch Pool, we were greeted with the thunderous roar of a majestic waterfall. My guide who has hiked this trail many, many times in the 30 years she has lived in the area, has never, ever seen water coming over these cliffs.
I returned to the trail a few days later, to share this majestic sight with my husband, an Oregon native, and he had never been to Tamolitch Pool and I felt proud ( being as I am an Oregon transplant from Australia), to be able to show off this awesome sight. However I could see the difference in the amount of water coming over, and while it was still magnificent and rare sight, it was slowly dwindling.
These beautiful falls are as a result of excessive snow melt and the waters being re-diverted back over the cliffs.
The McKenzie River, gets its beginning at Clear Lake, drops over Sahalie and Koosah Falls, passing through Carmen Smith Reservoir, going undergound and re-emerges under Tamolitch Pool, where it continues its journey through the McKenzie River Valley and merges with the Willamette River, near the Beltline Highway Bridge.
Seeing these falls, and being able to document the entire hike with photos was an experience I will treasure. It could be another 30 years, before it returns, but I guess this is in the hands of Mother Nature.