Barton Springs is one of the more popular recreational areas in Austin, Texas. Spanish explorers first found the springs in the 17th century around 1730 and long before the pool was built, the springs were a sacred place for purification rituals by the Native American tribe that inhabited the area.
Now, It is an area open to swimming and other manual water sports. There are four natural water springs located in Barton Creek which surrounds Ziker Park. The main spring, also known as Parthenia Spring, feeds into Austin’s most cherished pool and is a local and visitor favorite.
The three other springs, which are significantly smaller, but just as important, are Eliza, Old Mill, and Upper Barton Spring.
Did you know?! The main owner of the springs, Barton, named the three smaller of the springs after his three daughters: Parthenia, Eliza, and Zenobia.
After its popular use, Barton and the other wonder realized how valuable it was going to be as a tourist attraction and began to promote and market it. Now, we see it as one of the most desirable places to visit in Austin.
Is Barton Springs open during the Covid Pandemic?
During the COVID pandemic, Barton Springs, along with other popular recreational areas in Austin was closed for some time to ensure safety protocols. Fortunately, it has reopened with some specific guidelines to continue following the social distancing requirements and keep the spring goers safe.
The springs are open on everyday:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5:00 am – 8:00am
Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays: 8:00 am – 10pm
There are no groups allowed. All guests are screened upon arriving and each must make reservations beforehand. Those who are not actively swimming are required to wear a face mask.
Is it open year-round?
Barton Springs is open year-round, but be mindful of the cooler temperatures come fall and winter. The water comes from the natural Edwards Aquifer, so the temperatures can range from 68-74 degrees and sometimes even colder throughout the year.
The Edwards Aquifer is known as one of the “most prolific” artesian aquifers in the world. It serves as a great resource to nearly two million people in south-central Texas.
Is It Free To Enter Barton Springs?
Barton Springs normally requires a fee. However, during the pandemic, there have been some slight adjustments to this fee due to the circumstances of the pool and the requirement to make a reservation and not have as much freedom throughout the facilities.
The typical day use fees for Barton Spring Pool:
- Children under 1 year- FREE
- Children (1-11 year)- $2
- Junior ( 12-17 years) $3
- Adult(18-62 years)- $5
- Senior ( 62 years and older) -$2
- Veterans ( Honorably Discharged) – FREE
What time does Barton Springs open/close?
As mentioned above, in the times of COVID, the rules and regulations of the facilities change to keep up with the most current health guidelines and protocols.
Usually, the pool is open to the public from 5 am-10 pm, Friday through Wednesday.
How Deep Is Barton Springs Pool?
The Main Barton Spring is usually kept at a maximum depth of 18 feet. The other three springs vary in depth
Are there alligators in Barton Springs?
There have never been alligators in Barton Springs. This has been an ongoing rumor.
You can find salamanders, which live in the water their entire lives. The springs are the only home to this salamander and they can thrive in unpolluted waters. The Barton Springs salamander is an endangered species and has the potential to become extinct if the waters become more polluted.
The city works to protect the area of the aquifer to not only protect this species but keep the water clean for all visitors to enjoy.
Can you bring alcohol to Barton Springs?
There is no alcohol allowed in the city-operated Barton Springs area. However, some visitors have said that they have been able to subtly bring a beverage or two undercovers. It is recommended to follow the rules and walk down the block to the bars and breweries to grab your favorite drink.
Can you bring your dog?
There is a strict no-dog policy at Barton Springs, but there is a place just around the corner called “Barking Springs” where dogs are welcomed.
Other areas that welcome dogs near Barton Springs:
- Red Bud Isle Park- A dog’s dream play area, where you can also canoe or kayak.
- Bull Creek- Named after the steam that passes through, this 48-acre park in northwest Austin is the perfect spot to swim, hike, and fish with your dog.
- Zilker Park- The park is known for dogs and sits next to Lady Bird Lake for a quick dip.
- Yard Bar- Dogs, Beer, and food. That’s all you need to know.
The parks that are around water that allow dogs to play are safe to swim. As always, keep an eye out for your pup and other dogs when playing around the water.
Where do you park at Barton Springs?
Barton Springs location:
2201 Barton Springs Rd,
Austin, TX 78746
There is community parking around the Main Spring to access the Barton Springs Pool. There is also public parking surrounding the entire Zilker Park area, allowing a large number of visitors throughout the day. These are some of the busier recreational areas in Austin, so it’s not always easy to park.
The springs are busiest over the weekend and warmer temperatures, so are sure to leave early to get a spot that is most convenient to you. It is recommended to bike, uber, or Lyft to Barton Springs if you want to avoid the hassle of parking.
Can you drink Barton Springs water?
Barton Springs water is known for its cleanliness and quality, but intentionally drinking it after potential storm runoff, people being in it daily, and other potential bacteria, is not recommended
The water gets tested twice weekly for bacteria like E Coli to ensure safety, but still not recommended to drink.
Bring your water to the spring if you get thirsty.
When is the best time to visit Barton Springs?
The best time to visit Barton Springs depends on your preferences of crowd and temperature. During the summer months, the area is almost always crowded, but the 3-acre area allows for many people to swim and lounge comfortably.
The most popular time to visit is around lunchtime when the air temperatures reach their peak. Take note, these times are also the most crowded.