549 votes

Hamilton Pool Preserve

24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620 USA

Closed Now
Opens Sun 9a
  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair
  • Outdoor
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“An historic swimming hole”

This collapsed grotto, which is surrounded by shady forests, has been turned into a swimming hole, complete with refreshing waterfall. It's also a short, 20-minute drive from Austin-- perfect for hipsters who want a swimming solution that's a little less mainstream. The grotto has a long history. It was once an underground river, until the dome collapsed due to erosion, forming the canyon-like pool we see today. Before the pool was owned by Morgon C. Hamilton, the area was inhabited by the Tonkawas and Lipan Apaches. Then, Hamilton bought the land in the 1860's, and he and his brother, Texas governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton, would frequently visit the grotto. After that, the land was purchased by the Reimers, a family of German immigrants who planned to use the land to raise cattle. According to legend, their 8-year-old son rediscovered the pool. While such a feature could pose problems for cattle-raising, the Reimers recognized the pool's potential as an attraction for public use.  It wasn't until the 1960's, however, that the pool's popularity really took off. In 1985, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association bought the pool with the intent to restore the area's natural plant and wild life that had been disrupted by years of cattle ranching. Currently, the ecosystems are recovering nicely. Such an incredible area hasn't gone unnoticed by Hollywood location scouts either. Hamilton Pool has been featured in films like 1990's The Hot Spot, 2010's Predators (oh, hello shirtless Adrian Brody) and 2011's The Tree of Life.  If you want to take a dip in the magical pool, then plan on getting there early, because its popularity hasn't subsided. Since the pool is a protected area, there's a limit to how many people can be allowed in at once, and it fills up FAST, especially on hot Texas summer days. According to the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 21 million people visited in 2012. It's 100% worth any potential wait, though-- I mean, just imagine how good it'll feel to swim underneath that waterfall! -Roadtrippers Hamilton Pool Preserve is a historic swimming hole which was designated a preserve by the Travis County Commissioner's Court in 1990. Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of a steep box canyon. The waterfall never completely dries up, but in dry times it does slow to a trickle. However, the pool's water level stays pretty constant, even during periods of drought. The uplands of the preserve are a juniper and oak savannah with a variety of native grasses and wildflowers. Several rare plant species including canyon mock-orange, red bay (western-most colony of this eastern species), and chatter box orchid are known to occur in the canyon areas along Hamilton Creek. A unique natural area surrounds this pool, collapsed grotto and canyon, formed by thousands of years of water erosion. Lush plant communities, a variety of wildlife species and natural shelter attracted the area's first inhabitants. Cultural remains date back over 8,000 years. Prior to the 1800s, 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 Jake Hamilton (the 10th governor of Texas), evidently visited this beautiful grotto while he was governor. In the 1880s, the Reimers, an immigrant family from Germany, bought the property to raise sheep and cattle. Legend has it that their eight-year-old son discovered the collapsed grotto.

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 19 Helpful
July 31, 2014
Rated 5.0

Beautiful place! Need to arrive super early because line get big fast! We arrived at about 11ish on Saturday and it they had a waiting line and wouldn't let more people wait so they sent us off so the next day (Sunday) we were there at 8:40 and they said we had to wait at the first entrance and then as soon as they were to open they would lead us back to the main entrance to let us in!! Make sure u were good swimming shoes and don't bring huge coolers cause u walk a 1/4 of a mile down rocks!

13 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 9 Helpful
May 24, 2014

not sure on the warm in December, but I know it would be great at this time of the year.... check their website before going since we are in a drought and they sometimes close it for a few days, if we do not get enough rain and the bacteria builds up..... wear sturdy shoes for the rocky climb in and out.... and get there early, since they have limited parking and only let additional cars in when one leaves once the parking lot gets full....we stood in line for a while, but it was so worth it......PS swimming in December try Barton Springs Pool in Austin: it is open all year and the water is a balmy 68F all year long.....

9 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
August 01, 2014
Rated 5.0

You will never see anything like it! Spectacular natural wonder! Love to take their hiking trails along the creek as well. Go on a weekday if you can. Entrance fee required.

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
April 16, 2013

Thought this was/is a helpful comment on Facebook about this place. Posted by Kim Bougas; 'maybe 45 min to an hour outside of Austin. You gotta get there real early though because when the parking lot fills up (it's tiny) they only let people in as people leave.'

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 29, 2015
Rated 5.0

Absolutely loved this place, it was as beautiful as we had hoped! Remember to wear some decent shoes for the hike down and bring a swimsuit!

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 19 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
November 27, 2014
Rated 4.0

The pool is really sonething bit the prive to enter is really stealing!! 15$ for one car and one person extra if you are not alone!! Even when you can't swim and the river trail is closed...It's still 15$!!! Thats outrageous!!!!

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 289 Helpful
August 14, 2014
Rated 5.0

Hamilton Pool is probably the best place you can visit while in Dripping Springs, Texas. No wonder it ranks in pole position among the top Dripping Springs sight seeings.

If i would have to describe it in a word, that would be WOW !! A great place if you are looking for a cool spot during the hot summer days in Texas. The landscape surrounding the place is just breath taking and i would advise you to definitely take your camera with you. This place is just like paradise on Earth, with clear waters, deep in some points and with outstanding small waterfalls.

Due its popularity, there are many times that it gets over crowded, and if late you may end up waiting even for more than two hours in many cases. They only allow a maximum number of 225 people at a time and when it gets full you simply have to wait until someone else leaves, first come first serve basis in other words. We did take with us some cooler bags where we had a couple of bottles of waters and some fruits to keep us refreshed during our stay there. You should keep in mind that after leaving your car you should walk downhill, and unfortunately up hill when returning, an estimated distance of 1/4 mile. Do take with you only what is necessary,and of course sunscreen, hat and good grab walking shoes are essential.

I would advise you to be there before 9 in the morning, actually the earlier the better. Be aware, that sometimes the place may be closed due to high percentage of bacteria, therefore it would be nice to contact with the people responsible for the place in order to avoid getting there and not being able to enter !!

It may be a little bit difficult to actually get there, but believe me...when you do...you will understand from the very first moment why people talk about it with the warmest words!!!

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 11 Helpful
July 28, 2014
Rated 4.0

It is really beautiful and worth visiting.

Unfortunate for us, the temperatures have been very high the last few days, so the bacteria level was very high and we where not allowed to swim. Good thing that they warn you though.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
January 18, 2019

One of my favorite swimming holes, absolutely beautiful. Great little hiking trails around there and a beautiful place to hang out. Please be advised that you should book tickets in advance online!!! It seems that now tickets for the summer weekends sell out by May, so I'd advise going during the week when it's less crowded. You can pick a morning slot (9-1) or an afternoon slot (2-6pm) and you basically reserve space for your car. Grab a big SUV and pack as many friends as possible! It's sad that you can't go spur of the moment anymore, but at least the new ticketed system keeps it a little less crowded. And don't forget to check Craigslist if you do want to go last minute, people now make reservations months in advance and often plans change.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
May 05, 2015
Rated 5.0

This place is gorgeous, and the water is refreshing! The hike to the pool is not too bad. My husband had our 2 year old in a carrier, and I had our 10 month old. We got there at about 11 a.m. on a Monday, and it was only about half full. Can't wait to go back!

3 people found this review helpful

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Hamilton Pool Preserve

24300 Hamilton Pool Rd
Dripping Springs, Texas
78620 USA


Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

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Good for swimming.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Outdoor Seating
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