Written by Hanna De Hoyos.
The month of April was pretty rainy and yucky in Texas. It was dark, muddy and full of rainstorms, making you frown. But, the good news is that rain has brought more water to Central Texas, meaning there will be more reasons to go swim in Austin’s natural swimming holes. Now, that is something to smile about.
Austin is known for its many watering holes, like Barton Springs and Deep Eddy. However, not so many people know about the smaller more secretive watering holes surrounding Central Texas. We did some research, and swam a few places, to give you a list of places you must visit. So, pull out your bathing suits and your pool floaties and get ready to hit the road to these five top spots:
Barton Creek Greenbelt
This hidden gem offers everything from hiking, biking, and swimming. Tall trees, limestone cliff walls and plenty of swimming holes cover this seven-mile area. The Greenbelt starts at Zilker Park and ends close to north of Loop 360. Hiking to Twin Falls, the most popular swimming area, can be a few miles. We suggest you wear wet shoes to walk to the swimming areas as paths, and the springs, tend to be slippery.
The Greenbelt is located at 3755 S. Capital of Texas Hwy (Loop 360 access), Austin, Texas. Open daily, dawn to dusk. Admission is free. Food and drink allowed, no glass, and visitors must lease take their trash with them. No lifeguard.
Nestled between Wimberley and Dripping Springs, Jacob’s Well is a beautiful natural park to go swimming. This natural gem has a large well opening that is pretty deep, so you have to be a little crazy to take that plunge. However, the area also offers other areas with natural water running through them, for those who rather lounge. In order to protect the area, there is now an admission fee and restricted swimming hours. Plan ahead because you must reserve a two-hour slot for swimming through the Hays County website, and only 300 people are allowed to swim per day. Relief from the Texas heat is just a small jump away, into the clear waters of Jacob’s Well.
Jacob’s Well is located on 1699 Mount Sharp Rd., Wimberley, Texas. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and tours are available starting at 10:30 a.m. This year’s swimming season begins on Memorial Day, May 30.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Located just a few miles outside of Austin in Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool is a natural swimming hole fed by a small waterfall. It’s not very large, so only a few people are allowed to enter at once. You must arrive early, because swimming in the pool is on a first come, first serve basis. Once you park, you have to hike for about 15 minutes to get to the pool. Also, beginning May 15 until September 30, you will need to make a reservation to enter the pool.
Hamilton Pool is located on 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd., Dripping Springs, Texas. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with no entry past 5:30 p.m. The cost is $15 per vehicle and cash only. Food and drink are allowed, however no glass containers. No lifeguard. Visit the website and read the “What To Know Before You Come” section before you make the drive.
Krause Springs is a both a swimming and camping site located 30 miles west of Austin. The property has plenty of swimming spots with 32 springs, many feeding the manmade pool and the natural pool that flow into Lake Travis. The landscape is lush with tall trees, green vegetation, hiking trails, picnic areas, and beautiful waterfalls. It’s a great place to cool off during the hot summers of Texas!
Krause Springs is located on 404 Krause Spring Rd., Spicewood, Texas. It’s open year round and there’s a fee to use the facilities. No pets, no glass containers, no smoking and no credit cards are accepted. Visit the “General Provisions” section before you make the drive.
McKinney Falls is a state park located 13 miles from the state Capitol, and is one of the closest state parks near Austin. The park is filled with tall cypress and pecan trees, different bird species, white-tailed deer and other wildlife, hiking trails, and the flowing waters of Onion Creek. The pool beneath Onion Creek is a refreshing and great place to swim, but beware of the creek’s flow and conditions. The park also offers camping, biking, hiking, fishing and birding watching.
McKinney Falls State Park is located on 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, Texas. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The busiest times of the year are March through November. Make sure you visit the website to learn about the creek’s conditions, fees to enter, and facility restrictions before making your trip to the park.
Hanna De Hoyos is a communications specialist for Capital Metro.