Hamilton Pool in Texas
This place is probably the most beautiful in Texas. It’s Hamilton Pool, which was created thanks to the collapse of the underground river’s dome because of erosion thousands of years ago. Hamilton Pool Preserve is located about 23 miles (37 km) west of Austin, Highway 71 off Texas. Since the 1960s, Hamilton Pool has been a popular summer swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents.
Hamilton 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 Cayonlands Preserve and is a protected environment.
As of November 2013, access to the pool and river requires a $10 Travis County Park entry fee, cash only. The issued permit allows you access to all Travis County Parks for that day.
Hamilton Pool Preserve has a capacity limit of 75 parking spots. Once the lot is full, the park lets one car in as another car leaves. When swimming is permitted, waits of 30 minutes are not uncommon, or longer in the busy summer months.
Getting to the pool requires a steep quarter-mile trek downhill. There is no handicapped access available. Hiking shoes are recommended. No drinking water or concessions are available.
The preserve opens at 9:00 am, and closes at 6:00 pm. Entry is not permitted after 5:30 pm, and all recreational activities end at 5:30 pm