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Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs
(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.
To visit Hamilton Pool Preserve on your holiday in Dripping Springs, and find out what else Dripping Springs has to offer, use our Dripping Springs vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Had a great time here hiking the trails and visiting the pool and waterfall. Only disappointment was that the bacteria was too high to swim and that it cost $15 per car to enter the park. 
  • Hamilton Pool itself was very nice. The entry to the park is us$15 which would be fine if the park was actually open. At the time I visited they were advising that one could not swim nor make any cont...  more »
  • Gorgeous! Go in the off season. We ate a picnic lunch at the tables near the parking lot and then hiked down to the pool. Also took the hiking trail to the Perdenales River. Very pretty hike! 
Google
  • I'm from the mountains, lived in a cabin on a stream for many years. This little piece of nature took me by surprise in the Texas "Hill" country. It took a little doing since I anticipated an easy 1/4 mile walk. I wore sandals and left my cane at the hotel. Still, I made it down the polished rock path as we decended into this heavenly spot. I love the sound of water. The falls and cavern dripping were music to my ears. The color of the water against the cliffs was soothing, even life affirming. Swimming is no longer possible as of the date I am posting this but the sights and sounds are there. Wildlife hid from us at the pool, but we saw deer and antelope on the drive. Highly recommend a visit!
  • Try to go when you can swim. We went when swimming wasn't allowed and we had a fine time but the water is incredibly inviting and the idea of being able to stand under the waterfalls was quite attractive. We were very glad that it wasn't very busy because we were able to get some great photos without a ton of other tourists in the way plus we were able to enjoy sitting on the rocks for a bit.
  • 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)!!!
  • Beautiful place that is definitely worth checking out if in the region. Not really worth considering a hike since you only have to walk for five minutes. Also, you won't be able to take a bath most likely.
  • This surreal place which is about an hour North west from downtown Austin is an amazing summer getaway. The natural dripping springs make up the turquoise pool. You need to reserve online during summer months but open to all rest of the year. There's a quarter mile hike down to the pool, you can go behind the cave/canyon like structure to get different views and angle of the pool.