Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs

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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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Hamilton Pool Preserve Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
605 reviews
Google
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TripAdvisor
  • A bit of a drive from San Antonio but the outdoor activity was worth it. We were there off season so there was no issue with parking. Hamilton Pool is a short hike with a beautiful blue pool at the en...  more »
  • The hike was a bit more strenuous than I expected, but not really bad. We went to the pool (where swimming was allowed that day) and enjoyed the beautiful spot. There is a grotto to walk through, and ...  more »
  • I came here during the winter chill. Although only around 55 degrees, it was still my favorite part of my trip to Austin. Worth the 45 min drive! This place is absolutely beautiful. For those not able...  more »
Google
  • I would highly recommend coming here in the summer. It is a beautiful place to go swimming. The huge overhang provides some nice shade, and the water is cool. It has got to be one of the nicest swimming places that I have personally seen. I would recommend having shoes you can wear in the water because the rocks are kind of sharp. I went swimming in February, and it was freezing! My skin was stinging a bit, but I still had fun. I wouldn't recommend paying to come here and not swimming. The hike is pretty plain, and though it's nice to see, I feel like you can see cooler things if that's what you're after.
  • 5 stars for the scenery, was a very nice place to visit. 1-2pm is one of the best sunlight hours of the day however, & people should not be asked to leave at that time. I don't mind the high fee, but should not have to leave in middle of the day. Cool place though! I made reservations online Feb. 28th for the next day, March 1st without any problem. Online fee is $11 per time slot, (Morning slot: 9-1pm... Afternoon slot: 2-6pm...they close for the day at 6pm) then an additional $15 at the gate(cash or check only at gate, no cards accepted), per time slot, so if you want to stay all day = minimum people $52, for 1 vehicle. If you hurry you can get to the pool from parking lot in around 5 minutes, very short distance, but fairly rocky terrain, not smooth dirt so must pay attention & not slip. There is the pool, (water honestly did not look inviting, I did not swim but still a neat place to visit) & a nature trail leading to river, so allow time to visit both. No pets allowed at all.
  • This is a really awesome place. It looks great in pictures but you’ll really be amazed when you see it in person! The only issue is that you’d have to schedule and reserve your spot in order to enter since it is mostly full. They won’t let you swim days after a rain because they would have to check the bacteria level in the water. So you can have reserved for months and then it rains a day before your schedule which is such a bummer ...
  • Beautiful place! Just like you see in the photos. We went on a weekday, before spring break, it was kinda empty, but they make you make a reservation to make sure they don't crowd up the place too much anyway. Very relaxing to be here. Water was super cold but so fun. Go here, you'll love it 😊
  • Had a great time! Went midweek in October and had no problem with crowds. Staff was great. Definitely worth the drive out from Austin if you have a couple days to kill. We had an 36' RV which was tricky to park. Pull off to the side just before the gate and see what the staff would have you do. There are a couple access drives that accommodate large vehicles. The car park is too small and has low branches. We will def be back!
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