Nature and Adventure Texas Hill Country | Hamilton Pool - Swimming, Picnicking, Hiking

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Texas Hill Country | Hamilton Pool - Swimming, Picnicking, Hiking
Written by Shirley T   
Monday, 07 June 2010 00:00
Summer is the best time to hit into water. For Austinites and folks in Travis County, Hamilton Pool Preserve near Bee Cave offers a natural pool for swimming, picnicking and outdoor spelunking. In addition, the trail along Hamilton Creek features great opportunity for hiking and nature study.
Claimed as the most scenic spot for picnicking near Austin
The flowering Prickly Pear cactus
Part of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Hamilton Pool is the home to Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Savannah oak, juniper, cypress, Poison ivy and several rare plants species includes canyon mock-orange, red bay and chatter box orchid.
Every spot along the trail gives a different impressive landscape
Located 30 miles away from Austin off Texas State Hwy 71 west, Hamilton Pool is usually crowded during late spring and summer weekends. Arrive early as the preserve area has limited parking. It would be temporarily closed once it reaches maximum capacity of 75 vehicles. Entrance fee of $10 is collected at the gate post.
Underground river with a collapsed grotto
From parking lot, follow the sign post indicated to get on the rugged trail into the preserve pool and creek. It is a descending trail on the rock steps, cutting through the shrubs and diverse vegetation with occasional sight of native grass and wildflowers such as Mexican Hat. Once you hear the sound of flowing stream, Hamilton Creek is just ahead and you have arrived at a fork. Left path takes one to hike along Hamilton Creek, ending at Pedernales River. Proceed to right trail if you are going to Hamilton Pool for a dip. The round trip to preserve pool from parking lot is roughly 1/2 mile.
Growing stalactites
A walk through an open grotto
Small patch of gravel beach of Hamilton Pool
The thinnest part of the cavern's trail
After crossing a little bridge, here you are at the most beautiful natural swimming hole in Travis County! The landscape is amazing. Imagine the sight of 50 foot tall waterfall plunges into a natural pool that sits just next to an open grotto! Thousands years ago, massive erosion had caused the dome of the underground river collapsed and as a result, forming the breathtaking view like what we see today. The deepest point of the pool is roughly 25 feet and one is potentially swimming with some fishes too.
Breathtaking view of Hamilton Pool
Water recreation attracts numerous visitors
Guess we were lucky to arrive before 11 am. Laying down a ground sheet, we picnicked in traditional manner at a corner on the stone patch or thee so-called gravel 'beach' area. It is not ample. In a short period, all the space was taken which led some folks to occupy the edge at the grotto.
Natural shower from Hamilton Creek
Before heading into water, take a stroll to visit the open grotto. Seeing nature at its best before scending
a flight of staircase, capture a few shots of waterfall and return to the picnic area.
Water plunges over 50 feet before hitting the rock
Getting there?
Travis County Parks
Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd.
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Hours of Operation: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm daily (if weather permits) & swimming is permitted when water quality meets the standard
Entrance fee: $10
Official website: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks/hamilton_pool.asp


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