Hamil­ton Pool: A true Texas swim­ming hole

Guide to Dripping Springs - - Hamilton Pool: A true Texas swimming hole -

Itt’’ ss one off the mosstt ar­resst­ti­ing sights in cen-ttrall Tex­ass— wat­ter courssi­ing over a lime-sst­tone grotttto,, into an emer­alld pooll.. The sst­tun­ni­ing beautty off Hami­illt­ton Pooll hass made iitt one of tthe mosstt pop­ullar desst­ti­inat­ti­ionss in Cent­trall Texas..

Over 70,000 peo­ple visit Hamil­ton Pool yearly. The main at­trac­tion is the swim­ming hole, but there is also a trail lead­ing to the Ped­er­nales River.

Hamil­ton Pool is a great place to swim—when swim­ming is al­lowed. The creek that forms Hamil­ton Pool runs through a lot of pas­ture­land, which can raise bac­te­ria lev­els when it rains. Park of­fi­cials of­ten close the pool to swim­ming af­ter down­pours of a halfinch, or when de­bris is seen float­ing in the pool.

Even when swim­ming is off lim­its, the re­serve is an op­ti­cal feast—you can walk into the grotto, be­hind the wa­ter­fall to take in the view and try to spot some of the wildlife.

Travis County op­er­ates Hamil­ton Pool Re­serve. The re­serve is part of the Bal­cones Cany­on­lands Pre­serve sys­tem, de­signed to pro­tect en­dan­gered ge­o­log­i­cal fea­tures, plants and an­i­mals.

The re­serve is home to sev­eral rare plant species, in­clud­ing the threat­ened canyon mock orange, the chat­ter­box orchid, and the east­ern red bay. There are also many species of birds, in­clud­ing the en­dan­gered golden-cheeked war­bler.

Hamil­ton Pool is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park does not al­low pets, glass con­tain­ers or cook­ing fires. Fish­ing is not al­lowed.

The re­serve closes tem­po­rar­ily when it reaches ca­pac­ity. So dur­ing the sum­mer peak sea­son, it’s a good idea to get an early start.

To get there from Drip­ping Springs, drive north on Ranch Rd. 12 for about 7.4 miles, turn left on Hamil­ton Pool Rd. and drive about five miles.

En­try is $8 per ve­hi­cle, $3 per pedes­trian or bi­cy­cle. An­nual per­mits are avail­able for $75. Dis­count passes are avail­able for se­nior cit­i­zens age 65 and older.

For in­for­ma­tion call (512) 264-2740 for a recorded mes­sage. The greet­ing is up­dated al­most daily.

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