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Best Trails

Tamolitch Pool Trail

Cascadia, OR

Hiking
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Walking
Mountain Biking

This short portion of the McKentrail takes you to the beautiful turquoise Tamolitch Pool, also known as Blue Pool. Beginning of this easy hike is through old growth Douglas fir forest. As the McKenzie river falls away you walk along the cliff. Eventually you come upon an old lava flow.

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Recent Reviews

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Tam McArthur Rim
by

8 Completed 1 Reviews

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Broken Top Loop Trail
by Kevin P

4 Completed 3 Reviews

Amazing views with lots of places to find clean water.

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Tam McArthur Rim
by Angie Ehrmantraut Brock

21 Completed 23 Reviews

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PCT McKenzie Pass to Santiam Pass
by

45 Completed 40 Reviews

This being a point-to-point hike, I negotiated with my wife to drop me off at the South point (just West of the Dee Wright observatory) at 7:30 AM and pick me up at the other end mid-afternoon (ended up being shortly before 5PM). Of course, this is only if you want to do this as a day-hike.

I wish I had made this hike before the fires burned most of the forested area around Mt Washington. I may have given the trail 5 stars. As it stands, the trail goes through large swaths of burned forest looking like a sea of blanched tree trunks and charred limbs; some will find this scenery very off putting.

The first 2.5 miles go throw a thick and wide lava flow, climbing up to a saddle with LIttle Belknap just a short .2 miles to the East (I find taking that short side trip a definite must). The "summit" of Little Belknap is reached very quickly, uncovering sweeping views to the North, East and South. Nice spot for a quick snack and first rest stop.

The two miles, after an easy and mostly flat section of alpine meadows, descends gradually to the foot of Mt Washington to go around the Eastern tip of another solid lava flow. I find that descent to be the most taking portion of the trail; it is a jumbled mix of lava rocks, roots very uneven terrain and burned forest landscape. Constant attention to footing and ankle-busting terrain made me very happy to reach the left turn signaling the tip of the lava flow and the beginning of the uphill around the West side of Mt Washington. With the trickiness of the descent, it is easy to forget looking around and especially North; it's worth stopping a few seconds and enjoying some of the best views of Washington. The rebirth of the burned out area also offers some extremely vivid/colorful vegetation and flowers.

The ascent on the Sourthwest side of the mountain makes it all but impossible to see the volcano at all. There are, however, beautiful views back toward Belknap Crater and LIttle Belknap as well at to the West towards the South Willamette Valley. That portion of the trail is move "traditional" (no lava!) and provides much relief to ankles and knees.

A bit before the mid-point (about 7miles), the trail finally reaches a shaded area that is perfect for a lunch break and the administration of much needed TLC to sore feet. No water though during this hot Aug day. The trail continues to circle Mt Washington, with beautiful views up the mountain from a couple meadows on the West side. When walking Northbound as I did, it is worth stopping to turn around one is a while as views of the top will be at your back.

The last five miles do not present much challenge (other than the fact that the boots odometer marks already 12 miles at the onset). The trail first descends to the East of Big Lake (no easy/short access to the lake for the PCT itself) before reaching the plateau to the East of the Hoodoo Ski area where it crosses several dirt roads and other trails servicing the many lakes around. At various points in this last stretch, the trail offers views of Three Fingers Jack to the North.

Shortly after crossing NF 860 (around the 15.5 miles mark), the trail does go right by a smaller lake (rest, refresh, filter water...). Finally, the trail ascends lightly toward the Santiam Hwy (OR 126, US 20). Better watch out carefully left and right as you cross the lanes! From there, it is short .25 miles to the PCT parking lot.

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Park Meadow
by

12 Completed 2 Reviews

I was a bit disappointed in this hike must admit that I did not make it to Golden Lake or the tarns above. The meadows are actually about 5 miles out, with 4 to 4.5 miles of it through the Pole Creek burn. I would be hard pressed to do this hike again. I much prefer the Canyon Creek Meadows or Broken Top hikes.

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Little Belknap
by

1 Completed 1 Reviews

Great hike. I love to take my out of town visitors on this.

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Black Crater Trail
by

72 Completed 18 Reviews

Best views on top I've seen so far in Oregon :)

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Suttle Lake Loop
by Conner Petke

1 Completed 1 Reviews

It is fun

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Black Crater Trail
by

4 Completed 1 Reviews

Excellent work out!

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Little Belknap
by

45 Completed 40 Reviews

In case you are still uncertain after reading the other reviews: wear good shows (ankles support), no dogs/pets, sunscreen and hat. It is probably not a good idea to try and venture off trail in the lava flow (I did it once for a photo opportunity); a small stumble or a hand-grip to stabilize yourself can be a reminder of how unforgiving lava rocks can be.

The beginning of the trail is deceiving as the trail weaves it's way around two forested "islands" in the middle of the lava flow. Soon enough it is ALL lava all the way to the top (a bit over 2 miles). For such a short hike, the views from the top are absolutely worth every ankle-twisting step it takes to get there. Nothing stops the views to the East and the North.

I went to Little Belknap as a side-trip when hiking the portion of the PCT between McKenzie pass and Santiam pass (the track I posted therefore shows much more mileage that it takes just to go round-trip to the Little Belknap crater.

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