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.