Visiting Austin Texas? Don't miss the chance to visit this natural beauty. Located just 23 miles west of Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is one of Texas' proud displays of ecological wonder.
It is a product of thousands of years of massive erosion of a limestone dome caused by an underground river. The dome collapsed giving way to a beautiful pool of bright aquamarine water. The crescent shaped limestone walls and cliffs surround the grotto with a 50 foot waterfall cascading over it. High above the grotto's ceiling large stalactites grow. The cave also houses blankets of moss, ferns and cliff swallows.
The hike to reach the pool is 3/4 of a mile long and difficult in some places, but so worth it. My favorite part of the hike had to be some of the unique rock formations along the way and the bald cypress trees that grow along the stream created by runoff from the pool.
In the summer, residents and visitors alike enjoy this popular swimming hole. But before jumping in, beware! The water temps are very cold year around. If you do brave it, you can always warm up by basking in the sun on the quaint sandy shoreline or on the large rocks that line the pool. At 30 feet deep in some parts, it may be wise to bring along a life jacket or swimmies for non-swimmers. Also be aware that there are no bathroom facilities at the site. So, you will need to use the restrooms at the beginning of the trail.
Access to the park costs $15 per car and allows you access to all of Travis County's parks that day. The park's hours are 9am to 6pm, but you need to get there early during the summer months. There are only 75 parking spaces and when those are full they only allow another car into the park as one leaves. Wait time could be over an hour to enter. If you plan on swimming, make sure you call ahead to make sure they are allowing it as they do occasionally lose the pool for swimming due to water condition.
Directions to the park: Take Hwy 71 west of Austin. Left on RR3238 (Hamilton Pool Road). Go South for about 14 miles. The entrance to the park is on the right.
Be sure to check out my other Austin articles, Texas' Capital Hill: An Architectural Dream and HOPE is Alive and Well in Austin!
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