If you ever see the list of the top secret swimming holes in the U.S., the Hamilton Pool is usually on them. Located west of Austin, it’s just down the road and on the other side of the Pedernales River from the Westcave Preserve. Both are formed from a collapsed grotto and canyon, resulting in a gorgeous pool, partially covered on one side.
Hamilton Creek spills over the rocks to create a 50 foot waterfall into the pool. It flows at all times, never drying up, though at times it slows to a trickle. The pool’s water level is also pretty constant, even during droughts. No idea how deep it is in the middle, but I couldn’t touch. There are also fish in the pool.
This is one of those places that looks so pretty in pictures that you wonder if it will live up to the hype. I can safely say it does. The water is really that turquoise. It reflects off the rocks overhead, creating a pretty shimmer. It’s easy to walk completely around the pool, taking it all in. There are enough large rocks in the water, that it’s easy to sit and enjoy it. It was also colder than I expected it to be, but it was nice. Everyone there that day, was also super nice and accommodating. Everyone took turns enjoying sitting under the falls, without hogging it. No one had to stand there and get pissy because people took too long taking selfies under the falls (there was a lot of picture taking, but everyone was quick about it).
The pool is open for swimming May through September. The line to get in in past years was crazy, so a reservation system was started. Reserve your 4 hour time period online and you are good when you show up. There is a 1/4 mile hike from the parking lot with a lot of steps and rocks. It wasn’t a big deal going down, but it gave me some mega thigh burn going back up. Guided tours are available from October – April. I loved the tour at the Westcave Preserve, so we may have to go back for that.