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Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs

Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 460 reviews on the web
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The pool is located about 23 miles (37 km) west of Austin, Texas off Highway 71. Since the 1960s, Hamilton Pool has been a popular summer swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents. Hamilton Pool Preserve consists of 232acre of protected natural habitat featuring a jade green pool into which a 50ft waterfall flows.The pool is surrounded by large slabs of limestone that rest by the water's edge; large stalactites grow from the ceiling high above. The ceiling and surrounding cliffs of the grotto are home to moss, maidenhair fern and cliff swallows. The Ashe juniper (cedar) uplands of the preserve are home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.The natural pool and creek are not chemically treated, so water quality is monitored regularly and swimming is occasionally restricted. Hamilton Pool is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and is a protected environment.HistoryPrior to the 19th century, the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches lived in the area. In the mid-1860s, Morgan C. Hamilton owned the property now known as Hamilton Pool Preserve. His brother, Andrew Jackson Hamilton, evidently visited the grotto while serving as Texas governor (1865–66). In the 1880s, the Reimers' family, immigrants from Germany, bought the property to raise sheep and cattle. Legend says that their eight-year-old son discovered the collapsed grotto.Although ranchers might have considered the grotto a safety hazard for their livestock, the Reimers soon realized its value as a recreational area and opened the property for public use. Around the turn of the 20th century, the site did not attract many visitors, but by the 1960s, and on into the 1980s, Hamilton Pool's popularity had increased. The land suffered from sheer numbers and few restrictions.
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  • I've seen this listed for years as one of the most beautiful places to see in TX. It definitely didn't disappoint. Reservations must be made in advance. 
  • If you like beautiful places that look like they belong in a fantasy novel then this is the place for you. It was not busy when we went but it was also slightly rainy. If the bacteria level is too hig...  read more »
  • Wow! So beautiful! Hike down was a bit rough, since I have a bad back, but I was able to make it and I was so glad I did. We later found out you can ask for a transport cart to take you up/down. Just ...  read more »
  • This was one of my first experiences with Texas, and I'm glad that it was this. This natural spring is absolutely gorgeous. The path to the spring (which is all terrain — no strollers or wheelchairs) looks like something from the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. A creek flowing nearby provides a nice aural ambiance. When you get to the spring, it's breathtaking. A vista of greyish-blue water, and a stunning rock canopy above — complete with waterfall and drip falls. There are a lot of people there (or there were when I was there), but that wasn't too large a problem. Make sure that you make a reservation before you go (new policy started this year)!!!
  • The most unique and beautiful natural swimming hole in Texas! Short but steep trail with stairs from the parking lot. The water is chilly and great on a hot day. Reservations are now required and can be made online. This new system is much better at limiting overcrowding. Sometimes when bacteria levels due to run off from rain are high, swimming is not permitted.
  • A beautiful spot. Make your reservation and go. The colors, the overhang, the waterfall, the birds (Cliff Swallows) nesting, all combine to make Hamilton Pool seem unreal. We also took the trail on the left to the Pedernales River. A nice hike but not in the same class as the pool.
  • The site itself was absolutely beautiful! The staff was AWFUL. They were rude and snappy. They treated my friends and I like we were stupid for simply not knowing all of their rules. I also have to say, paying $11 online then paying another $15 (cash only) when we got there was a pain. Their bathroom situation sucked especially when comparing it to the fact that I paid one $3 fee to get into Barton Spring that had solar powered showers, changing rooms, and bathrooms. Hamilton Pool just had a few port-o-potties and two single stall bathrooms (which had wasps). Will I be coming back? Of course. The pool itself was so much fun, the water was so clear, and there wasn't garbage everywhere. Is there room for improvement? Yes. A lot. Still gets four stars. That's how pretty it was lol
  • Pretty cool, but ridiculously small parking lot. And there was a skinny park ranger, that kept yelling and harrassing little kids
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