What You Don’t Know About Blue Pool Could Kill You

Blue Pool Willamette National Forest Oregon
Tamolich Blue Pool / via Bend Oregon Stock

Last updated on September 16th, 2018 at 11:48 pm

Oregon’s Tamolitch Falls, famously known as Blue Pool, is a popular summer attraction for hikers, tourists, and thrill-seekers. But its beautiful blue waters only hide the fact that it is one part of nature that should only be seen and never touched.

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The Dead Pool

Water temperature at Blue Pool sits around 38°F – so cold that not even microorganisms can survive below the surface.

Tamolith Pool Blue Pool Oregon Cold Water

In temperatures below 40°F, submersion will result immediately in cold shock response, which begins with an automatic and uncontrollable gasp reflex. You will inhale water, and you will likely drown. Even if your head is above water, you will begin to hyperventilate, which can lead to fainting (and thus sinking), and, in extreme cases, sudden cardiac arrest.

Deeper Than It Looks …

Most onlookers who don’t already know will look into Blue Pool’s waters and believe it to be around five feet, or ten feet, maybe fifteen feet at the deepest. Blue Pool is, in fact, thirty feet deep.

What You Don't Know About Blue Pool Could Kill You

And while it might be obvious to say, this is not a swimming pool. There’s no gradual slope back to safety. You can’t rely on being able to propel yourself from the floor back to the surface. And if you’re sunk deep, that makes it even harder for someone to rescue you – because they will then also be 30 feet deep in water cold enough to kill you.

… While Also Deceptively Shallow

The now infamous tragedy of the University of Oregon tennis star who perished after making the 60-foot cliff jump into Blue Pool is sometimes told in two different ways. Some attribute his death to the cold water, but the truth is that his face collided with a rock just below the surface and he lost consciousness instantly. He then sunk to the bottom of the frigid pool and drowned.

Oregon Blue Pool Deep Water


Blue Pool is a gorgeous and unique part of Oregon’s landscape, and it is truly breathtaking to see it in-person. This is not to dissuade hikers, tourists, or campers from visiting this beautiful place. We at That Oregon Life just want people to be as safe and as educated as possible, and to always leave nature the way you found it.

Hit the link here for more information on Oregon’s Blue Pool.


  1. Oh pooey. I watched dozens of people jump in from all over the pool when I was there a few weeks ago with zero issues. I certainly wouldn’t do it if you are old or frail in any way but people jump in colder water all the time. You just need to be healthy and aware that it is pretty chilly. These scare tactics could keep someone from having an incredible experience there. A warning is fine but this is fear mongering!

    • Well if I go to see it I want to enjoy the natural phenomenon of it. If I want to see a bunch of numb skulls killing themselves to get wet I will go to High Rocks in Clackamas. Let the fear mongering continue!

    • I’ve seen other articles about secluded spots and read later that after the article some of the places got so much traffic and ultimately polluted that the county has to close then off. Sad for the locals

      • That has happened to some extent with Blue Pool. It’s a mad house trying to get to and from it. Steves attitude below is of a different nature. He thinks that if he isn’t swimming, nobody should damn it! Crotchety old warthog! 😉

  2. As a member of the local volunteer mountain rescue organization that usually responds to Blue Pool accidents, I would say that this article is pretty accurate. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times we have gone up there in the last few years. Just earlier this year we had a stretch where there were 4 accidents in about 2 weeks. Most incidents have only involved serious injuries but I have also been involved with more than 1 body recovery from the pool. It’s devastating for the family and takes a toll on rescuers. I personally don’t want to see us “baby proofing” the wild and beautiful places around us but I do want folks to be aware of the kind of risks involved.