A gorgeous jade green pool with a fifty-foot waterfall would be the last thing people associate with Texas,
but the locals of Austin have known about this sweet spot for years. Many locals would drive 45 minutes from Austin for a refreshing jaunt in the pool on those sweltering hot days. And you can visit this gem of place too.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a naturally-formed pool in Texas, United States of America. It is located 37 miles west of Austin, Texas. The Hamilton Pool Preserve is 232 acres of protected natural habitat. The pool has jade green water and is surrounded by large slabs of limestone. Stalactites grow from the ceiling of the cliffs of limestone. The water can reach a temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. The Hamilton Creek flows over the limestone and into the pool, creating a fifty-foot waterfall. Curiously, even during dry weather, there is still a trickle of water into the pool, and the level of water remains constant.
The Hamilton Pool Preserve is home to a lot of birds, fish, animals, and plants. It was declared a protected habitat in 1980 and is now a recovering ecosystem. The chatterbox orchid, the eastern red bay, and the bald cypress are among some of the flora that grows in this region.
The pool was formed by the collapse of an underground river due to soil erosion. However, worry not because the collapse occurred thousands of years ago and the area is quite stable now. In the 1860s, Morgan C. Hamilton owned the property. In the 1880s, the Reimers’ family bought the property, and it said that the eight-year-old son was the one who discovered this pool. As soon as the family realized the recreational value of the grotto, they opened it up for public use.
In 1985, the Travis County bought the property off of the Reimer family to start restoration practices. The ecosystem was becoming unbalanced due to the unchecked flow of people visiting the pool. Now the ecosystem is in the process of restoration due to the work of wildlife officials.
What you need to know about Hamilton Pool
- The entry of a vehicle is $15. There is a senior citizen discount available. The reservation fee is $11 and non-refundable. Only cash is accepted. You could pay with a check, but there is no guarantee that it will be accepted.
- A reservation is required for entry from March 1st to October 31st and at the weekends in November and December.
- The preserve is open from 9 am to 6 pm, and no entry is allowed after 5:30 pm.
- You have to hike for 20 minutes to get from the parking lot to the preserve. So be prepared for steep slopes.
- There are picnic tables, hiking trails, and restrooms but no amenities for drinking water so you will need to bring water. Glass bottles and alcohol cannot be taken into the preserve. But there are several restaurants on the highway leading to the preserve, most of them famous for barbeques in pure Texan form.
- At times of high bacteria levels, visitors are not allowed to swim. Life jackets will be provided, but there are no lifeguards.
Attractions for all ages
Being a natural swimming hole, kids and young adults would love Hamilton Pool for they can swim in the water whenever there are no restrictions. Other attractions near the preserve that individuals of all ages would enjoy are Poodies Hilltop Roadhouse, Barton Creek Greenbelt, among others.
Visit the Hamilton Pool Reserve for a refreshing break, much like an oasis in the desert.