Hamilton Pool Preserve
Jeremy Rodriguez
Jeremy Rodriguez @jrod1014
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Leon Bovenkerk
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Heather Valey
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Heather Valey
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Slider
Jaco Botha
Jeremy Rodriguez
Leon Bovenkerk
Michael Brewster
Heather Valey
Heather Valey
Michael Brewster
Heather Valey

Address

24300 Hamilton Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
View Map

Reservations Required to Enter Preserve

March - October
Every day

November - February
Weekends and Travis County Holidays

Read More

Morning Reservation Period

9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Afternoon Reservation Period

2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Fees

Read More

Acreage

232 acres

Activities and Amenities

Hiking trails
Picnic tables
Portable toliets
Swimming (not guaranteed with reservation due to conditions)
Guided hike
Educational Programs

Public Information Line

512-264-2740

Updated daily or when conditions change

Hamilton Pool Frequently Asked Questions

Reservations

General Information

Make your reservation before coming to the preserve.

You make your reservation online by paying $11 with a credit card. You will also pay $15 per vehicle in cash for an entrance permit when you arrive at the preserve. Cash only. Credit cards are not accepted at the preserve.

All fees are non-refundable. The deadline to reschedule a reservation is midnight before your reservation. You cannot reschedule on the same date as your reservation.

Only one vehicle is allowed with each reservation. No more than 8 people with each reservation.

Your reservation receipt will be emailed to you shortly after you make the reservation.

Swimming is NOT guaranteed with your reservation. Swimming is sometimes not allowed due to high bacteria.

For more information, please read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Time Slots

There is a morning time slot (9:00 am - 1:00 pm) and an afternoon time slot (2:00 pm - 6:00 pm). Each time slot requires a reservation.

Morning Reservation Period

No entry is allowed after 12:30 pm. Recreational activities end at 12:30 pm. Visitors must exit the preserve by 1:00 pm.

Afternoon Reservation Period

No entry is allowed after 5:30 pm. Recreational activities end at 5:30 pm. Visitors must exit the preserve by 6:00 pm.

Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motorcycle

Only one vehicle/motorcycle allowed per reservation. Additional vehicles require additional reservations. Pedestrians and bicycle groups will be allowed up to 8 people per reservation, but they will also pay the $8 per person Entrance Fee.

Reservations are not valid for commercial use or for shuttle.

Warning

We can only guarantee reservations made through our official Travis County Hamilton Pool Preserve website. Purchases made elsewhere may not be legitimate.

March 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018

Once you make a reservation all fees are non-refundable.

Swimming is not guaranteed with your reservation.

The deadline to reschedule your reservation is midnight before your reservation. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

The typical total price for visiting Hamilton Pool Preserve is $26 per vehicle per morning or afternoon time slot. Typical vehicle fees are as follows:

  • $10 Reservation Fee: paid online with credit card, not refundable.
  • $1 Credit Card Service Fee: paid online with credit card, not refundable.
  • $15 Entrance Fee: paid at Hamilton Pool with cash or local check, no credit cards accepted at the Preserve. The Entrance Fee charge can vary under special circumstances (read more).

Reservations are required to enter Hamilton Pool Preserve every day from March 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018. In November and December 2018, reservations are required on weekends and official Travis County holidays.

Print your reservation receipt and show it to Preserve staff when you arrive. Alternatively, you can show your receipt on your cell phone to Preserve staff when you arrive.

Only one vehicle/motorcycle allowed per reservation. Additional vehicles require additional reservations. Pedestrians/bicycle groups will be allowed up to 8 people per reservation, but they will also pay the $8 per person Entrance Fee.

Reservations are not valid for commercial use or for shuttle.

The reservation periods are from 9 am – 1 pm and from 2 pm – 6 pm. Each reservation period requires a separate reservation. On each day, all recreational activities, such as hiking, birding and swimming, will end at 12:30 pm and at 5:30 pm. All visitors must return to their vehicles so that they can exit the Preserve by 1 pm and by 6 pm respectively. No entry allowed after 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm.

Public Safety Closures: Hamilton Pool Preserve occasionally closes due to hazardous conditions, such as flooding. You should call the Public Information Line at 512-264-2740 for the most up to date information about the preserve’s status. Information is updated daily at 8:30 am.

Hamilton Pool is a nature preserve (part of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan) with some rules that you need to know before you make a reservation:

  • No pets allowed, not even on a leash or in your vehicle. Please do not bring them.
  • The hiking trail to the pool is ¼ mile (0.4 km) long. It is steep with uneven steps and takes approximately 30 minutes to hike from the parking lot to the pool and back.

Warning: We can only guarantee reservations made through our official Travis County Hamilton Pool Preserve website. Purchases made elsewhere may not be legitimate.

I Accept

Know Before You Go

Public Information Line

Please call the Public Information Line for the most up to date status of the preserve at 512-264-2740. The message is updated daily and when heavy rain changes our status during the day. On rare occasions, the preserve closes to all visitors due to weather-related public safety concerns and emergencies.

Swimming

The swimming status is determined by bacteria levels and recent rainfall. We allow swimming all year long on days when the bacteria levels and recent rainfall are acceptable, but swimming is NOT guaranteed. Please check this page for an up-to-date status on swimming. Be aware the water temperature can drop to near 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring. That's very cold for swimming!

There is no lifeguard on duty so swim at your own risk. Life vests are provided by the pool, while supplies last.

Pets

Pets are prohibited. No exceptions, not even if the pet is on a leash or kept in your vehicle.

Hiking Trail

The hiking trail to the pool is a quarter mile and is steep and rugged with uneven steps. Sturdy shoes are recommended. It takes approximately 30 minutes to hike from the parking lot to the pool and back.

Guided Hikes

Join us on a guided hike through Hamilton Pool Preserve. Our tour begins in the dry uplands and descends 80 feet into a canyon which features a wide diversity of native plants and animals. Along the way, learn about the history of Hamilton Pool and how its unique geological features were formed. The tour ends at the collapsed grotto, waterfall, and pool. The tour lasts about an hour.

Guided hikes are limited to the first 20 people and are on Saturdays at 10:00 am.

Tours may be postponed or canceled due to inclement weather. Before arriving, call the preserve for condition information.

Food and Water

Bring drinking water. Drinking water and concessions are not available.

Activities

While the park provides access to the listed activities, Travis County Parks does not provide any equipment, except life vests for swimming.

Amenities

There is no electrcity.

Fees

We accept cash but do not accept credit or debit cards at the entrance booth.

TypeCost
Day Use - PAID UPON ARRIVAL$15 per Vehicle
Pedestrian/Bicyclist - PAID UPON ARRIVAL$8 per Person
Reservation Fee - PAID ONLINE (Required Daily from March to October, and Weekends and Holidays from November to February)$11 per Vehicle
Day Use for Annual and Lone Star Pass Holders - PAID UPON ARRIVAL$5 per Vehicle

Only available for purchase at the entrance booth (more info). All visitors with Annual and Lone Star Permits below must still pay an additional $5 with each visit.

TypeCost
Duplicate Annual Permit$75 per Vehicle
Lone Star Senior Citizens Pass for Day Use (For Age 62 or Older)No Charge
Lone Star Veteran Pass for Day Use (U.S. Veteran with 50% Service Related Disability)No Charge
Annual Trailer Parking Permit$50 per Trailer
Annual Permit for Non-Travis County Residents$200 per Vehicle
Annual Day Use Permit (NOTE: Proof of county residency will be required to purchase a Travis County Park Annual Permit.)$125 per Vehicle
Annual Permit for Pedestrian/Bicyclist$25 per Person

Rules

The following are prohibited:

  • Camping
  • Cooking
  • Drones
  • Fireworks
  • Glass containers
  • Ground fires
  • Pets
  • Public display of consumption of alcohol
  • Tobacco products

Read More

About

Hamilton Pool Preserve was designated a nature 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 preserve is home to the Golden-cheeked Warbler and a great variety of other birds. The diverse vegetation of Hamilton Pool ranges from semi-arid species in the uplands to riparian species in the canyon. 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 chatterbox orchid are known to occur in the canyon areas along Hamilton Creek.

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP). The BCP encompasses more than 31,000 acres of endangered species habitat owned by Travis County, the City of Austin, The Nature Conservancy, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Travis Audubon Society, as well as privately owned lands. The BCP represents a regional effort to balance protection of endangered species habitat with economic development. For more information about BCP, call the Travis County BCP coordinator at BCCP@traviscountytx.gov.

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.

Although ranchers might have considered the grotto a safety hazard for their livestock, the Reimers soon realized its value as a recreational area and opened the property for public use. Around the turn of the century, only a handful of people had the transportation to come out and enjoy the cool, serene surroundings. By the 1960s, and on into the 1980s, Hamilton Pool's popularity had soared, as visitors packed the legendary swimming hole. The land suffered from sheer numbers and few restrictions.

In addition to the impact from the visiting public, cattle, sheep, and goats grazed the delicate ecosystem for several decades, resulting in changes to the native vegetation. In 1980, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department cited Hamilton Pool as the most significant natural area in rural Travis County. In 1985, Travis County purchased 232 acres from the Reimers family and implemented an aggressive land management plan to restore Hamilton Pool. Now, the lush fern-canopied cliffs are making a comeback, as are the rolling hills and meadows of the uplands.

Ongoing land management practices at Hamilton Pool Preserve include prescribed burns, prairie restoration, endangered species surveys, biological inventories, and water quality monitoring.