105˚ 103˚ 102˚ 100˚This is literally the weather forecast for the next few days. Goodness! What shall the Austinites do? I’m guessing you’re like me and want to avoid “hermit life” in which you enjoy the outdoors by pressing your face up to the window. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you don’t want to sweat every ounce of H20 in your body due to this filthy heat! My solution? Jump in some refreshingly cold water and stay in the shade. My go-to spot in Austin has to be Hamilton Pool! A mini-oasis with its lush greenness and trickling waterfall, Hamilton Pool is absolutely one of Austin’s gems.
Here’s a tale from my first visit:
I’m in a long distance relationship (recently engaged!) and it can be extremely tough. So I typically pack weekends when Tommy comes to visit full of exciting Austin adventures and landmarks. I squeeze an average couple’s monthly amount of dates into 3 days. Back in May, I decided to take him to see the wonders of Hamilton Pool. We packed a lunch, drove 45 minutes, and pulled into a parking space right at 10:30. Good thing too, because when we left at 3:00, there were cars lined up, waiting to get in. So follow our lead, and get there early!! It costs $10 per vehicle, which really isn’t terrible. If you pile 5 friends in a car, you’re only spending two bucks each, which is less than Barton Springs!
Anyway, back to our cute date. We “hiked” (walked along a trail with rocks) to the right about a quarter of a mile and entered the gorgeous site of glistening aqua water with a cavern in the background. We found a space for our towels and marked our territory along the TINY beach. (I don’t know if 100 people could fit comfortably on that sandy shoreline.) After lathering up with sunscreen (skin cancer doesn’t look good on anyone!), we decided to explore. We walked into the mysterious canyon filled with huge rocks and limestone walls. This cave-like structure (don’t worry, we didn’t see any bats, just swallows….and a water moccasin) makes a huge “U” shape and goes pretty far back. I felt like Tom Sawyer, excited to look, climb, and investigate. Rocks were everywhere and provided the perfect place to rest, keeping us in the coolness of the shade. Tommy and I had so much fun people-watching while we enjoyed the surrounding natural beauty.
If you follow the pathway along the back wall you will end up on the other side of the swimming hole, which is where the waterfall is! We decided we would swim back to the beachy side, rather than turn around and retrace our steps through the canyon. Talk about some cold water! I know it wasn’t technically freezing, or else it would have been well, frozen. But by golly, it was COLD! So refreshing though…and that was back in May; think about how good it would feel now, in this 100+˚ heat.
And that’s not all Hamilton Pool has to offer. Though google images mostly displays this luxurious swimming hole, if you walk in the opposite direction (so to the left from the original path), there’s an entirely different scene that greets you. This side opens up to the Pedernales River and is a lot more open, shallow, and spacious. It has warmer water too! In general, it was a lot less crowded, just Tommy, me, and two other families. So if you’re looking for a more calm, tranquil afternoon, head over to the left when the original trail splits into two directions.
All in all, Hamilton Pool is a great place to go with friends, family, or like me, on a date! If you’ve never been to Hamilton Pool (I don’t care if you’re a native Austinite or if you just moved here) do yourself a favor and GO! I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss out on this treasure. I’m already planning another trip before school starts so I can take my friends who haven’t gone.
Things to Know Before you go:
-The hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily and there is no entry after 5:30 pm.
-Like I mentioned before, go early in the day. The parking lot only holds 75 vehicles and closes temporarily when it fills up. From then on, cars are let in on a “one out, one in” fashion.
-BRING WATER because there is no water fountain available.
- No pets allowed, sorry Buster.
-Call (512) 264-2740 for daily updates
Keep Austin Active!