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Hamilton pool reserve Texas, the perfect getaway in the summer

Hamilton pool reserve Texas is one of the most beautiful natural pools from Texas, the perfect place to cool off on a hot day of summer.

This place designated a nature preserve by the Travis County Park in 1990, is without any doubt, one of the most interesting and unique swimming experiences in the whole state.

When I first saw it I thought I am in a tropical place, so interesting it looks like it, but actually, a was in the heart of Texas.

It is located on Texas hill country, very close to Austin and you can swim here only if you have a reservation.

This natural pool was created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed because of the massive erosion that happen year after year for a very long period.

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Where is Hamilton pool reserve located?

This stunning natural pool is located about 37 miles (23 km) west of Austin, just a short drive from Highway 71.

From SH 71/U.S. 290 junction southwest of Austin, take SH 71 about 8 1/2 miles to FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road), turn left, and travel about 13 miles to the natural pool. The entrance to the 232-acre preserve is on the right.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall
Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall

You can easily get here by car from any part of the country, but make sure you have a reservation because otherwise, you cannot get inside.

Driving time to Hamilton Pool Texas

Here are the distances between the main Texan cities to Hamilton preserve Texas:

Austin to Hamilton pool- 37 miles

San Antonio to Hamilton pool- 91 miles

Houston to Hamilton pool- 190 miles

Waco to Hamilton reserve- 130 miles

How to get to Hamilton pools Austin TX

To get to this beautiful pool you need to follow this route: from SH 71/U.S. 290 junction southwest of Austin, take SH 71 about 8 1/2 miles to FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road), turn left, and travel about 13 miles to the natural pool. 

Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall Hamilton pool reserve Texas
Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall

After 13 miles you will see the entrance to the preserve on the right, where is also a decent size parking lot.

Planning a visit to Hamilton pool Austin

Once you get close to this amazing swimming hole with a 50-foot waterfall you will think you are in an exotic place, not in Texas.

The natural pool is located right in the middle of Austin’s limestone hills and it is a circular swimming hole partially shaded by a rock.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas inside view
Hamilton pool reserve Texas inside view

This overhang rock is what it remains from the ceiling of a cave after everything collapsed many years ago.

The pool has quite a decent size with 150 meters in diameter and about 26 feet deep, and the waters from the pool are carefully monitored by experts.

The protected area where the pool is located has a total surface of 230 acres but during spring and winter the water is too cold for swimming, the temperature dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit sometimes.

On the other hand, during summer, this pool is extremely popular and you need to book well in advance if you want to secure your place on a hot day.

The water from the pool comes from a waterfall, but it has a relatively constant level all year round.

Because of water temperatures we recommend you to visit this pool during summertime with a prior reservation.

Once you get in there is plenty of space for everyone, but make sure you arrive before the opening hour to secure your place in the parking lot because otherwise, it will be extremely complicated to find a free parking space.

From the parking lot to the swimming pool there is a short hike, but nothing complicated or difficult, but you’d better double-check that you have everything with you before starting your walk to the pool.

You can walk in flip-flops, but it is not very comfortable so that is why we suggest taking some comfy shoes on your way down to the pool.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas general view
Hamilton pool preserve Texas general view

There are also guided hikes available in the area, so some comfy shoes are highly recommended.

After a short walk, a beautiful oasis appears in front of your eyes…this is Hamilton pool reserve, the perfect getaway for you and your family.

Don’t forget to bring with you some tubes because I am sure you will enjoy floating in the pool hidden by the sun under the rocky roof.

Facilities available at Hamilton pool reserve Texas

It is a wild and untamed area so don’t expect to find many facilities in the area, as the authorities try to keep the place as it is.

Still, at the entrance, you will find bathrooms but there is a short walk from the facilities to the pool and there are also some picnic tables where you can have a snack.

You won’t find in the area shops, restaurants, or food trucks so you’d better bring from home everything you need for a day at the pool.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas hiking sign
Hamilton pool reserve Texas hiking sign

On the other hand, don’t forget that you have a short hike from the parking lot to Hamilton pool preserve so pack light.

Down, at the poolside, there are no swing ropes to jump into the water because as I said earlier, the human intervention over the place is reduced to a minimum.

Still, you can bring tubes with you and lay on it in the water for as long as you want; you can also swim and stay on your blanket on the shore for as long as you want during the interval you book.

At the picnic area located close to the entrance to the pool reserve, you can have a snack brought from home because I bet you will be hungry after swimming and playing in the water for some time.

Things to know before you visit Hamilton pool Austin

There are some things that you should know before visiting Hamilton water hole Texas which can be read in the following lines.

The first, and most important one is that you are allowed to enter the pool area only if you have a reservation.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas hiking trail
Hamilton pool reserve Texas hiking trail

The place is considered by many as one of the best-hidden gems of Texas so you’d better make your booking well in advance to secure your seat.

A maximum of 8 people is allowed to enter on a single reservation and each reservation comes with a parking place.

So, if you plan to go there with two cars, you’d better make 2 different reservations, as otherwise, you will not be able to find any free parking spot.

Another important thing to know is that there are two reservations time:

  • One in the morning, between 9 in the morning, till 12.30 in the afternoon
  • One in the afternoon, between 2. 00 pm to 5. 30 pm.

When you make your reservations online you will be required to pay 12 USD reservation fee which is the tax for your vehicle, and payment has to be made with a credit or a debit card.

When you arrive at the entrance of the preserve park you will be required to pay each person an entrance fee which is 8 USD for an adult, 3 USD for seniors (62 years and older), and 0 USD for kids (13 years and less).

No credit or debit cards are accepted at the entrance of the park, so you’d better take some cash with you if you want to enter the preserve.

You cannot make a reservation for a stranger as at least one person named on the reservation should be present at the entrance of the preserve.

Swimming holes in Texas Hamilton Pool Hole 80
Swimming holes in Texas Hamilton Pool Hole

Photo identification is required at the entrance of the pool so you cannot bypass the system and reservations are required to enter the park.

Another thing you should know is that your reservation does not guarantee you swimming into the pool. 

There are periodical tests conducted on the water from the pool and if the bacteria level is too high, then swimming is forbidden.

Right from the entrance of the park starts the hiking trail that leads you to the pool, so you’d better bring your hiking shoes with you for a comfy walk.

The trail is about 0.25 miles long, quite narrow and steep so that is why we recommend you bring hiking shoes with you.

Swimming at Hamilton pools Austin TX

Swimming at Hamilton water hole is something indeed amazing, mostly because of the scenery which has nothing to do with the Texan landscape.

The water temperature might drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during spring and winter, which is a little bit cold for swimming, but during summertime, it is perfect to cool off.

You are allowed to bring with you tubes to float in the pool for as long as you want and there is enough shade to keep the sun away from you.

Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Pool Texas
Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Pool Texas

You can enter the park whenever you want during the reservation slots mentioned earlier in this article, but you must leave when the time ends, no matter how late you arrived at the pool.

The place becomes really crowded during summer weekends, so you’d better arrive earlier so secure a good parking place and enough time to enjoy the beautiful water from the pool.

What to bring with you for a day at Hamilton pool reserve Texas

Here is a list of the things you must bring with you for a day at Hamilton pool Texas:

  • a tube or a raft to float on
  • a waterproof blanket to sit on after you get out from the water
  • bring a lifejacket or water wings if you are not a good swimmer as there is no lifeguard on duty
  • a picnic basket with snacks, food, and nonalcoholic drinks as there is no shop in the area
  • good footwear as the trail from the parking lot to the pool is quite rocky 
Texas Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Hole 80
Texas Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Hole

What you cannot bring inside the watering hole

Now that you know what to bring with you for a day at the pool, I drop also a list of the things you are not allowed to take with you:

  • don’t bring your pets with you as pet access inside the preserve is forbidden
  • don’t bring strollers or wheelchairs the trail between the entrance and the pool is not accessible for 4 wheels, only for man feet.
  • Tobacco products
  • Alcohol as consumption of alcoholic drinks inside the protected area is forbidden

Besides the above things, inside the protected area you are not allowed to camp, cook, fly drones, use glass containers, or made a fire on the ground.

Parking 

Parking at this protected area is allowed only if you have an online reservation made in advance.

The parking place for one car cost about 12 USD per time slot and you must pay it at the moment when you book your access slot.

If you decide to cancel your reservation you will not be entitled to get this money back.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas cliff jumping
Hamilton pool reserve Texas cliff jumping

The parking lot has quite a decent size, but Hamilton pool preserve Texas is extremely popular during summertime, so you’d better come here earlier than the entry time to secure a good parking place.

From the parking lot to the water hole is quite a narrow trail of 0.25 miles long, so pack light and take comfy shoes with you.

Hotels and rentals

This part of Texas offers a long list of attractions besides the amazing Hamilton pools preserve, so that is why we recommend spending more than a day in the area.

There are the Reimers Ranch and the Pedernales Falls State Park which should be on your list.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall Hamilton pool reserve Texas
Hamilton pool reserve Texas waterfall

As for your overnight stay, you don’t have to worry as I prepared for you a shortlist of the most beautiful hotels in the area, the ones that also have the best price-quality ratio.

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Austin Buda is a 3 star hotel located just 4 km from the Hamilton Pool featuring spacious rooms with private bathrooms, bed linen and towels and a delicious breakfast available for an extra fee
  • Best Western Plus Buda Austin Inn & Suites is another wonderful hotel conveniently located close to the Hamilton pool, featuring private bathrooms, modern rooms with air conditioning; a continental breakfast is available at the property, and it is included in the room rate
  • Witte Wonderland is a vacation apartment with an outdoor pool, a garden, and a private parking place that can accommodate up to 4 people. This one-bedroom apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning, and a beautiful playground located a few minutes away.

Conclusion

Hamilton pool reserve Texas is without any doubt the most exotic landmark in the entire Texas state, that resembles Mexican cenotes.

This natural hole is conveniently located close to Austin, hidden in the middle of the forest, after a short hike from the parking place.

The place might become very crowded, especially during summer weekends and in order to enter the preserve, you need to have a reservation.

Bring with you water and a snack as there are no shops around the area and don’t forget the blanket to lay down on after swimming into the hole for a while.

FAQ

How much does it cost to go to Hamilton Pool?

Hamilton pool can be accessed only with reservations that can be made online.

At the moment when reserve your seat you have to pay 12 USD for vehicle parking; one parking place is allocated for each reservation. If you go there with two cars you have to make two reservations.

The entrance cost is 8 USD for people aged 13 to 62, 3 USD for 62 and older, and 0 USD for kids up to 13 years old.

The entrance cost per person must be paid in cash at the kiosk located at the entrance of the preserve.

Is Hamilton Pool still closed?

Hamilton pool is open for the public starting in May and reservations can be made on their website.

The place is extremely popular among tourists and locals so you’d better hurry up and reserve your seat.

Where is Hamilton Pool Preserve Texas?

This stunning natural pool is located about 37 miles (23 km) west of Austin, just a short drive from Highway 71.

From SH 71/U.S. 290 junction southwest of Austin, take SH 71 about 8 1/2 miles to FM 3238 (Hamilton Pool Road), turn left, and travel about 13 miles to the natural pool. The entrance to the 232-acre preserve is on the right.

Is Hamilton Pool worth visiting?

Without any doubt, Hamilton swimming pool is one of the most beautiful swimming holes of Texas, with an exotic touch that does not resemble anything you have seen in Texas state.

It is located close to Austin and is open all year round, but the access can be made only with a reservation.

During the summer season, it is extremely popular so hurry up and reserve your seat well in advance.

What can you do at Hamilton Pool?

The most important thing you can do when visiting Hamilton Pool is to bathe in this idyllic place.

But Hamilton pool preserve is not just about bathing; there is a short trail from the parking lot to the pool and another interesting hiking trail that goes to the Pedernales River.

On your way to the river, you can admire unique and beautiful species of plants and trees, the place being part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve with a total surface of 30.500 square miles.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation

We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.