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 Texas : Trips : Splash Across Texas : San Gabriel River

SAN GABRIEL RIVER
Georgetown, Texas

Excerpts From -
Splash Across Texas
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO
SWIMMING IN CENTRAL TEXAS


by Chandra Moira Beal

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Take IH35 Business (Austin Avenue) north into Georgetown. After crossing the bridge over the South San Gabriel River, turn right. There is another access road a few hundred yards down the road.

San Gabriel Park

Georgetown Springs is located within San Gabriel Park. Williamson County abounds with springs and has a very old history of occupation. Turkeys, chickens, mountain lions, fish, alligators, otters and beavers all called this place home at one time. This park has been used for large meetings and gatherings since at least 1879, and Santa Fe's expedition spent the night there in 1841.

The South San Gabriel River flows through beautiful San Gabriel Park and creates a wonderful swimming hole, and one of my favorites. The river has been dammed and creates a serene area for swimming. It is wide and perfect for swimming laps. The water is green and the banks are lush with vegetation; tall cottonwood and pecan trees provide wonderful shade. Ducks and fish willingly share the water with swimmers. There are no lifeguards on duty. The rush of the water spilling over the dam is a nice sound.

The park is situated in downtown Georgetown within walking distance of the historical district. It is quiet, peaceful, and well- manicured. Lush flower gardens with fountains and benches for courting can be found throughout the park. There are covered picnic tables with grills, Frisbee golf, a playground, horseshoe pits, and volleyball courts, as well as numerous ballfields and open spaces. A footbridge connects the park to the opposite bank. The park also has a recreation center with lots of amenities, as well as a municipal swimming pool (see Georgetown Municipal Pools, page 203). The three-mile, concrete Pickett hike and bike trail begins at the south end of Blue Hole and leads to Chautauqua Park. There are many scenic overlooks of the river along the trail.

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Blue Hole

BLUE HOLE

Rock Street
Georgetown, Texas

North of downtown Georgetown off TX 81 and Austin Avenue at the end of Rock Street. Turn onto 2nd Street just below the South San Gabriel River Bridge.


Blue Hole reminds me of Barton Springs before the concrete retaining wall and amenities were installed. It has picturesque blue-green water which cuts through the San Gabriel River valley. The park is primitive, but the city has tried to keep it in its natural state and still accommodate the heavy traffic. There are two short dams that divide the water into sections. Behind the first dam is a deep and wide pool where float on rafts and tubes. Just beneath the first dam the water flows over rock outcroppings forming two gushing waterfalls and small rapids for playing in. There is a smaller dam below that with a shallow, but still wide, area to swim and float in. One side of the shore is rocky and pebbled, and the other is covered in vegetation. There is minimal parking and no stopping on the one-way road that parallels the river. A small dirt lot up the road holds some cars, but otherwise you just have to park and walk from neighboring streets. A few picnic tables dot the sloping hillside facing the pool.

Editor's Note:
Readers should be aware that "cliff diving" is illegal in Georgetown. See following letter:

[Dear TE,]
We would appreciate it if you removed this sentence [from the article mentioning the Blue Hole] the following portion: "people dive from cliffs." While we are aware that it may happen on occasion, it is illegal to "cliff dive" in the City of Georgetown. Thank you, Robyn Rye Administrative Assistant to Tom Yantis, City of Georgetown, September 20, 2007

Text and photos courtesy of Chandra Moira Beal and La Luna Publishing

Copyright Chandra Moira Beal, 1999


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