Hamilton Pool: Don’t Forget to Make Reservations!

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a stunning natural attraction located about an hour outside of Austin, Texas. The preserve features a beautiful pool surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation. To visit the preserve and experience all that it has to offer, you'll need to make Hamilton pool reservations in advance.
  • 232 acres of hiking trails and nature preserve
  • Reservations are required in advance to visit
  • You pay twice – once for reservation online and at entry
  • Cash only is accepted at entry
  • Swimming is allowed depending on water conditions in the pool
  • 24300 Hamilton Road
  • (512) 264-2740
  • parks.traviscountytx.gov/parks/hamilton-pool-preserve

If you want to visit this famous hill country swimming hole, you’ll need to make Hamilton pool reservations in advance. The pool is only open to the public on a limited basis. Reservations fill up quickly, so it’s important to plan ahead. Reservations are required every day of the week. 

Make your reservations online before arriving at the preserve. There are two reservation periods – one for the morning and one for the afternoon. Be sure to arrive at least an hour before your reservation period ends to allow enough time to enjoy the preserve.

When planning your trip, be sure to bring cash as debit and credit cards are not accepted for entry. You will also need to pay twice to enter the preserve – once for your online Hamilton Pool reservations per vehicle, and again per person at the entrance to the pool. 

Located about 30 miles west of Austin, Hamilton Pool is a natural pool that was formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed. The result is a picturesque swimming hole with a 50-foot waterfall that cascades into the pool. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, and the surrounding area is great for hiking and picnicking. Hamilton Pool Preserve is also a popular spot for Instagram photos.

The preserve offers hiking trails and nature preserves, but be aware that the trails can be steep and uneven in most places. It’s also important to bring your own water as concessions are not available.

Swimming is allowed depending on the water conditions in the pool, so be sure to call the information line at 512-264-2740 to find out about current conditions before visiting. The waterfall at Hamilton Pool can slow to a trickle depending on weather conditions, but the pool’s water level remains constant. Swimming is at your own risk, and there are no lifeguards on duty.

Hamilton Pool has always been a popular swimming hole in Austin. Swimming depends on water quality. Bacteria levels in Hamilton Pool vary depending on bird activity in the cliffs above the pool and recent rains. Cliff Swallows build mud nests on the vertical cliff faces above the pool and contribute to bacteria levels in the water. A reservation does not guarantee that swimming will be allowed.

What you can see and do at Hamilton Pool depends on the day you visit. Currently, the part of the trail that goes underneath the overhanging cliff around one side of the pool is closed due to rocks falling from the cliffs above the trail. Fish can often be seen swimming in the pool including Sunfish, Perch, Bass, Catfish, Gambosi Mosquito Fish and Carp. There are also lots of turtles in Hamilton Pool such as Red-Eared Sliders, Snapping Turtles and the Texas River Cooter.

In addition to the pool, there are also a trail to the Pedernales River. The preserve is part of the federal Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan and provides habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Other wildlife you might see while hiking in the canyon include fox, bobcat, porcupine, skunk, white-tailed deer, possums and various snakes.

Is Hamilton Pool wheelchair accessible? No, it is not. The trail to the pool is steep and uneven. The hike to the pool from the parking lot is a quarter of a mile and takes about 20 minutes each way. Sturdy shoes are recommended. It is also important to know that no pets are allowed at Hamilton Pool.

Overall, making Hamilton Pool reservations is a must if you want to visit this beautiful natural oasis. By planning ahead and securing your reservation, you’ll be able to enjoy all that Hamilton Pool has to offer without worrying about being turned away at the gate after your drive from Austin.