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Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs

(4.4/5 based on 500+ 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
  • We have been wanting to see Hamilton Pool for so long and finally made it this month. It is so beautiful! No swimming was allowed and apparently this makes it clearer and less crowded for great photos...  more »
  • If you love the sound of a nice waterfall then you will really enjoy this place! The hike was an easy one but there are some steps if you choose to climb down to the waterfall. It is worth it to go do...  more »
  • I grew up hearing about kids sneaking into this mans ranch to jump into something called Hamilton Pool. Fast forward 30+ years and I live about 10 miles down the street from what is now a Preserve. I ...  more »