Take TX 71 west and go south on Hamilton Pool Road (FM 3238)
for about 13 miles. About thirty minutes from Austin.
Admissions per vehicle.
Photo courtesy Chandra Moira Beal
I think of the typical, old-fashioned swimming hole, Hamilton Pool
immediately comes to mind.
Hamilton Pool formed when a cave over an underground river collapsed
thousands of years ago, creating a waterfall and swimming grotto.
Hamilton Pool is an excellent example of the typical geology of
the Balcones Canyonlands and the Edwards Plateau. The pool is on
the convergence point of the Pedernales River and Hamilton Creek
in southwest Travis County.
There is evidence
of Tonkawa Indians around the area, and it is a very old swimming
hole. Land grants from the state and the H. Reimer family preserved
the area. Hamilton Pool is named for Andrew Jackson Hamilton, a
Texas State Representative, Attorney General, U.S Representative,
tenth Governor of Texas and a noted anti-secessionist.
Seventy five paved parking spaces are available at the ranger's
station. From there it is a short hike down to the swimming hole.
The trail travels under shady juniper and mesquite trees. Watch
out for prickly pears! You may see armadillos, wren, squirrels and
swallows along the way. A limestone outcropping frames the circular
swimming hole. Hamilton Creek flows over the cliff and falls 60
feet into the pool. There is a large rock under the falls where
the water splashes in a shower. The shoreline is made up of rocky
limestone and extends across one side of the pool. There is minimal
shade around the pool. The pool closes to swimmers occasionally
when naturally occurring bacteria levels are too high. There is
no drinking water; pets, glass, fires and cooking are prohibited,
but the park does have rest rooms and picnic areas. Guided tours
are available by reservation.
Book Hotel Here > Austin
Hamilton Pool is a collapsed grotto and canyon formed by thousands
of years of water erosion. Tonkawa and Lipan Apache tribes were
attracted to the lush vegetation, abundant wildlife, and natural
shelter provided by the grotto. Cultural remains dating back 8,000
years have been found at Hamilton Pool. In the 1860s, Morgan C.
Hamilton bought the property. His brother was Andrew Hamilton, 10th
Governor of Texas (the pool is not named for Andrew, as noted in
the first edition). In the 1880s, the Reimer family bought the property
from Hamilton to raise sheep and cattle. The Reimers were German
immigrants. Legend has it that their eight year-old son discovered
the pool while exploring. The Reimers opened the pool to the public
for recreation, although in those days only a handful of people
had access to transportation to visit the park. However, by the
1960s and through the 1980s, Hamilton Pool's popularity soared and
the land began to suffer from the sheer number of people traveling
through. Decades of grazing on the land had altered the ecosystem,
and Hamilton Pool was in danger. In 1985, Travis
County recognized this and bought 232 acres from the Reimers
to implement a preservation plan that continues to this day. You
can also hike about one mile from the pool to the Pedernales
At FM 3238 and FM 962l, 15 miles west of TX 71 near the intersection
with U.S. 281.
The Westcave Preserve is a thirty-one-acre park with cypress, moss,
ferns, orchids, travertine pools, a waterfall and a cave. There is
no swimming allowed.
For all updated info, see http://www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks/default.asp
Thanks, Tim Speyrer, May 13, 2005
Excerpted from Splash
Across Texas, 1999
Copyright Chandra Moira Beal and La Luna Publishing
Related Topics: Texas
Rivers | Texas Lakes
| Texas Hill Country
Book Hotel: Austin