Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs

4.5
#1 of 19 in Things to do in Dripping Springs
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The pool is located about 23 miles (37 km) west of Austin, Texas off Highway 71. Since the 1960s, Hamilton Pool has been a popular summer swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents. Hamilton Pool Preserve consists of 232acre of protected natural habitat featuring a jade green pool into which a 50ft waterfall flows.
The pool is surrounded by large slabs of limestone that rest by the water's edge; large stalactites grow from the ceiling high above. The ceiling and surrounding cliffs of the grotto are home to moss, maidenhair fern and cliff swallows. The Ashe juniper (cedar) uplands of the preserve are home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.
The natural pool and creek are not chemically treated, so water quality is monitored regularly and swimming is occasionally restricted. Hamilton Pool is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and is a protected environment.
Prior to the 19th century, the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches lived in the area. In the mid-1860s, Morgan C. Hamilton owned the property now known as Hamilton Pool Preserve. His brother, Andrew Jackson Hamilton, evidently visited the grotto while serving as Texas governor (1865–66). In the 1880s, the Reimers' family, immigrants from Germany, bought the property to raise sheep and cattle. Legend says that their eight-year-old son discovered the collapsed grotto.
Although ranchers might have considered the grotto a safety hazard for their livestock, the Reimers soon realized its value as a recreational area and opened the property for public use. Around the turn of the 20th century, the site did not attract many visitors, but by the 1960s, and on into the 1980s, Hamilton Pool's popularity had increased. The land suffered from sheer numbers and few restrictions.
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Hamilton Pool Preserve Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
721 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Such a great experience! Would definitely recommend going again. Make sure to purchase a spot in advance and have cash when you get there. There are a couple of hiking trails that are very family...  more »
  • The whole hike was about 18 min in, some areas are a bit rocky, there was a bucket of walking sticks right at the beginning of the trail, so help yourself to one. It was all worth it, the scenery was....  more »
Google
  • If there is a heaven, Hamilton Pool will be there is little words to describe this place other than, heavenly, paradise, life changing. The water is cool, refreshing, clean and brilliant. This is the ultimate picnic retreat. The crowds are not too bad, everyone here felt like extended family. The views are breathtaking and it's a must for anyone in visiting the Austin area.
  • This place is awesome. I came here along time ago but just recently visited again. Bring towels and be prepared to walk on an unpaved trail with many steps up and down with rocks and limbs. Its a little bit if a walk but if you can make it it is worth it. The water is cold but great to swim in.

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