More About Hamilton Pool Preserve, Austin, Texas
Hamilton Pool Preserve, Austin, Texas
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a recreational destination located in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin. Reservations are required to visit, and it is open for hiking and sight-seeing. Hamilton Pool 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, but swimming is no longer allowed due to issues with falling rocks and other signs of instability of the large grotto. Hamilton Pool Preserve consists of 232 acres (0.94 km2) of protected natural habitat featuring a jade green pool into which a 50-foot (15 m) waterfall flows with water temperatures reaching 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
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 was occasionally restricted, but is no longer allowed. Hamilton Pool is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and is a protected environment.