Texas

Tips for Visiting Hamilton Pool Preserve: Reservations, Fees, and Swimming

January 29, 2020
Hamilton Pool Preserve

The emerald green pool fed by a 50-foot waterfall called Hamilton Pool looks like something that could be found deep in a tropical jungle, but it’s located just about an hour outside of Austin, Texas. The pool was created thousands of years ago, when the limestone dome covering the underground river collapsed.  

The size of the waterfall depends on the time of year and the amount or recent rain; while we were visiting, it wasn’t much more than a sprinkle. But there’s always water in the pool, no matter the time of year.  

the pathway around Hamilton Pool preserve near Austin, Texas

Hamilton Pool preserve has been a popular swimming spot since the 1960s, when crazy daredevils would jump from the top of the waterfall above. You can’t do that anymore, but you can still usually go for a swim.  

Due to the popularity of this spot, reservations are required during the warmer months and always on the weekends. We’ve got all the information you need, including how to book a reservation for Hamilton Pool.  

Location

Hamilton Pool is located 30 miles west of Austin. The drive takes about an hour. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk down to the pool from the Preserve parking lot.

24300 Hamilton Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Blue-green water at Hamilton Pool Preserve
Walking around Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool Preserve Reservations

March through October everyday

Hamilton Pool reservations are required every single day from May through October. Two reservations time slots are available: morning (9 am – 1 pm) and afternoon (2 pm – 6 pm).

November through February on weekends and Travis County Holidays  

If you’re heading to Hamilton Pool during the week during these winter months, then you don’t need to worry about making a reservations online ahead of time. However, if it’s a Travis County Holiday or Saturday or Sunday, then you must have a reservation.  

Reservations are required since the pool is popular, but pretty small. They’re just trying to protect this natural beauty and make sure the area doesn’t get overwhelmed.  

Hamilton Pool Reservations can be made on the Travis County website. The cost is $12 for the reservation fee. Once you arrive at the park, you’ll have to pay the separate entrance fee, which is $15 per vehicle (please note, it’s cash only). If you’re walking in or riding a bike, then they’ll charge an $8 per adult entrance fee instead. You can bring in a max of 8 people with each reservation, whether you’re coming by car, bike or foot.  

How to get Hamilton Pool reservations

Swimming at Hamilton Pool

If you’re hoping to swim, then check the Travis County Parks website or call 512-264-2740 ahead of time to see if swimming is currently allowed. The area is surrounded by farm land, so when it rains a lot of bacteria ends up in the water and the pool is closed for swimming. You can still visit, you just can’t hop in the water. 

The preserve tests the water in Hamilton Pool regularly and updates the swimming status. If it has rained recently, then it will likely be a few days until you can enter the pool.

We visited in January and lucked out that swimming was reopened on the day we went. The water felt freezing — it was 58°F. I’ve read it can get down to 40°F. I’m sure the water warms up by summer, and it probably feels pretty refreshing when it’s hot out.  

Swimming at Hamilton Pool preserve near Austin, Texas

What to bring

  • Water – there is no potable water on site
  • A picnic – we saw a few people lay out a blanket on the rocky shore and wish we’d brought a few snacks to enjoy in the sunshine
  • Towel and swimsuit – if you want to jump in. Note that there aren’t really places to change, so you may just want to wear you suit there.  

A few things NOT to bring include pets, glass bottles, and alcohol.

Have fun at Hamilton Pool!

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