I arrive at Hamilton Pool around 2pm – I’ve read that there may be a queue and people may be turned away during busy periods, but I have no problems. The situation may be different at peak times, so worth checking if reservations are required – or arrive early! In any case, I quickly pay the entry fee and park; the carpark is perhaps 60% full, and the track down to Hamilton Pool is not too busy.
Heading down the steep path to Hamilton Creek, it’s only 10min before I reach the creek (it’s a 1/2-mile or 800m round-trip from the carpark to the pool), and turn right toward Hamilton Pool.
The pool is breathtakingly beautiful. One of those spots where you know the photos won’t do justice to the scene. I try anyway, and spend some time walking around the cave and behind the waterfall. Part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, the pool and grotto were formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago.
There’s an inviting beach and the pool has been used as a swimming hole, although a number of signs prohibit swimming due to high bacteria level. (On questioning the very friendly and helpful park ranger on my way out, it appears that there have been a couple of swimming deaths in recent years, and the swimming ban is less about bacteria and more about preventing any further drownings.)
I’ve got a bit more time before I need to leave, so I continue down the trail towards the Pedernales River. There’s few people on this section, which is about 1.5 miles (2.4km) to the river and back to the car park. The trail closely follows the creek and it’s a pleasant and shaded walk, with very clear turquoise water. I don’t quite make it the whole way as I’m getting short of time, but I’ve really enjoyed this walk – it greatly exceeded expectations and Hamilton Pool is a spot I’d definitely visit again.
Staying near Hamilton Pool
Hamilton Pool is about 45min drive from Austin, which has hundreds of accommodation options. I visited the pool on the way back from Enchanted Rock.
More information on Hamilton Pool
- Travis County – Hamilton Pool Preserve – information and booking. Bookings are essential from spring through to autumn (Fall).