Are you looking for a true rural Texas experience? Consider visiting the Hamilton Pool Preserve!
With a monstrous waterfall, a plethora of activities to choose from, and canyons surrounding you, it is impossible to have a bad time.
Visitors from near and far fall in love with this natural pool and return year after year.
What Is Hamilton Pool?
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool fed by the Hamilton Creek via a 50 foot waterfall. It is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, which holds over 31,000 acres of endangered species habitat.
The Hamilton Pool is surrounded by collapsed grotto and canyon from thousands of years of water erosion. The area’s lush plants, various wildlife species, and natural shelter attracted the first inhabitants of the area.
Now it is a popular destination among tourists and locals alike who come to enjoy the beauty of the pool and the activities offered by Travis County Parks.
How was Hamilton Pool formed?
Before the 1800s, Lipan Apaches and Tonkawa lived in the area. Remnants over 8,000 years old have been found surrounding the pool!
In the 1880s an immigrant family named the Reimers purchased the property to raise sheep and cattle. It is said that the collapsed grotto was discovered by the family’s 8-year-old son.
The Reimers realized that the area had great potential for recreation and opened it up to the public. Popularity grew through the 1960s-1980s.
However, the natural plants and animals were suffering at the hands of the unruly public and grazing livestock. So in 1980, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department declared Hamilton Pool the most important natural area in Travis County.
In 1985, Travis County bought about 230 acres from the Reimers family and created strict guidelines to manage the land and restore it to its former glory.
Is Hamilton Pool open?
Hamilton Pool is open, with specific rules and recommendations based on current events.
Because of Covid, it is recommended to wear a mask and social distance. Vaccination is also encouraged. Capacity is reduced so less online reservations are available.
In addition, there is no swimming allowed and the trail beneath the overhanging cliff is closed due to falling rocks. Geologists are investigating the situation and working with Travis County to find a solution.
Despite all of this, the pool is still open for visitors to enjoy.
Is Hamilton Pool open year-round?
Hamilton Pool is open year-round, with swimming typically permitted.
Keep in mind that the water temperature has the ability to drop beneath 50 degrees F in the winter and spring, which makes for a chilly dip!
What time does Hamilton Pool close?
Recreational activities end at 5:30 pm and everyone must leave the preserve by 6 pm.
Do you need reservations?
You need a reservation every day of the week to visit the Hamilton Pool Preserve.
The morning reservation period is between 9 am and 12:30 pm, while the afternoon reservation period is between 2 pm and 5:30 pm.
You’re not allowed to remain in the preserve after your reservation period ends. It is recommended to arrive no later than an hour before your reservation period ends in order to fully experience the preserve.
No entry is allowed after your reservation time period ends.
You can make reservations online, typically only a month in advance.
Can you swim in Hamilton Pool?
You can normally swim in Hamilton Pool at your own risk with no lifeguards.
However, there is currently no swimming allowed because rocks have been falling in and around the pool. Swimming is also sometimes suspended due to bacteria levels and recent rainfall.
In addition, the trail under the overhanging cliff is also closed for safety reasons.
You can access the beach but can’t currently walk around the pool to get underneath the waterfall because of the falling rocks from the cliff above the trail.
The Saturday morning guided hikes are also suspended right now.
(Related: Balmorhea State Park)
How Deep is Hamilton Pool?
The Hamilton Pool’s maximum depth is 25 feet around the waterfall, while the edges of the pool are shallow. Free life vests are available.
The waterfall is 50 feet high!
Is there an entry fee for Hamilton Pool?
There are entry fees to visit the Hamilton Pool.
Only reservations are available at this time, but day use fees will be included in the following list for when things change. Only cash is accepted at the park.
- Reservation fee paid online: $12 per vehicle
- Day use paid upon arrival: $8 per person
- Day use for seniors paid upon arrival: $3 per person
- Day use for children: no charge
- Day use for disabled veterans: no charge
Is Hamilton Pool kid friendly?
Hamilton Pool is kid friendly with activities such as hiking trails, picnic tables, swimming, guided hikes, and educational programs.
Children under the age of 12 are permitted into the park for free when day use passes are available.
Can you bring dogs?
Pets are allowed at most Travis County Parks as long as they are kept on a leash, are not dangerous, and keep noise to a minimum, as determined by park staff.
However, no pets are allowed at the Hamilton Pool Preserve or neighboring preserves and parks such as on the Barton Springs, Point at Bob Wentz Park, the Pogue Springs Preserve, Hippie Hollow Park, Wild Basin Preserve, or Tom Hughes Park.
Service animals are allowed at the above parks as long as they follow the Americans with Disabilities Act definition of a service animal. Emotional support animals are not allowed.
Can you bring alcohol?
You are not allowed to publicly consume alcohol at the pool. However, the website doesn’t mention whether bringing alcohol is permitted or not.
Because of this, people use the paper-bag method to bring alcohol into the preserve or drink in their cars. As long as you’re discreet and not obviously intoxicated, you should be able to get away with it.
Can you bring a kayak to Hamilton Pool?
You can’t bring a kayak to the Hamilton Pool because many people will be swimming and it would be a safety hazard.
What should you bring to Hamilton Pool?
You should bring a bathing suit, towels, bug spray, water, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, friends, and a good attitude!
Are there fish in Hamilton Pool?
The most popular fish species in the Hamilton Pool include Largemouth bass, Alligator gar, and Bluegill.
Tips for visiting Hamilton Pool
Here are a couple tips for visiting the Hamilton Pool.
- Choose what time of year you visit based on your desired temperature and how many people you want to be around.
- Stay up-to-date on the pool’s guidelines so you know what to expect when visiting.
- Double check that you have everything you need before leaving your house.
- Go under the waterfall when permitted!
When is the best time to visit Hamilton Pool?
The best time to visit the Hamilton Pool is the summer and autumn if you want warm water temperatures.
However, due to the ideal water temperatures these are also the busiest seasons for the pool.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, winter and spring may be a better option.
If you want to go swimming, walk on the trail beneath the overhanging cliff, or go on guided hikes, you might want to wait until the falling rock situation has worked itself out or else you may not enjoy your visit.
Where do you park at Hamilton Pool?
It takes about half an hour to hike from the parking lot to the pool and back.
There is a hiking trail to the pool that is a quarter of a mile long. You need sturdy shoes because there are a lot of uneven rocks.
The address of the pool:
24300 Hamilton Road Dripping Springs, TX 78620