December is the perfect time to visit Hamilton Pool Preserve with the family. If you have guests in town, this is one must do in the Austin area. During the Summer months, there can often be a long wait just to to park, as there are only 75 spaces at the park and it’s a popular swimming hole. Even though it’s not really swimming season right now, you can still enjoy the natural beauty and avoid the crowds. Here are more great Swimming Holes in Texas to add to your calendar this coming summer.
Hamilton Pool is located about 32 miles from Cedar Park at 24300 Hamilton Pool Road in Dripping Springs, TX 78620. Although the address is Dripping Springs, it’s easier to reach through Bee Cave. From Cedar Park, you would take FM 620 through Lakeway, then right onto Bee Cave Parkway and straight on Hamilton Pool Road (FM 3228). It’s an easy, and very scenic drive through the Texas Hill Country.
Hamilton Pool is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and is also home to the Golden Cheeked Warbler, an endangered Texas native bird that only nests in Central Texas. Visiting at different times of the year gives you a different experience. Different birds and wildlife, the vegetation and the water flow all add to a unique experience. Depending on recent weather patterns, the creek and the waterfall change in flow. Even in drought times, we have seen water flowing over the waterfall, so rest assured, you will see water.
The hike from the parking lot to the pool is about 1/2-mile round-trip; the hike along the creek from the pool to the river is about 3/4 mile, or 1 1/2 miles round-trip from the parking lot. When you descend from the parking lot to the bottom of the trail, turn right to go to the pool. After visiting the pool, along the same trail to the left, is another nice hike along Hamilton Creek to the Perdernales River.
Keep in mind if you have guests who are not able to maneuver a steep incline and uneven, rocky surfaces, this might be too challenging for them. Depending on staff availability, they do have a golf cart for disabled visitors to take them down near the bottom of the trail and back up, although it is not all the way to the pool. Note, this service is intermittent and not guaranteed to be available.
Hamilton Pool is open daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm. There is a recored Public Information Line where updated information is posted about water levels and other pertinent info (512) 264-2740. A small admission fee of $5 per car is well worth the visit. And if you have a Senior Citizen with you, everyone gets in free. Yay for Grandparents.
There are picnic tables and bathrooms at the park, however, we like to combine the Sunday day trip with Brunch at Jack Allen’s. If you are a Southern Food lover and a fan of a Brunch Buffet, this is one you don’t want to miss! Oh, and the $4 Bloody Mary’s, Sangria and Mimosa’s can’t be beat.
If you wanted to stretch out the day, since you are in the area, the outdoor mall at the Hill Country Galleria is a nice place to stroll and walk off your brunch. You can also stop by Whole Foods at the Galleria and pick up some goodies for a light dinner later when you get home. Another fun place to visit nearby is Revival, a very cool vintage and home decor store with unique gift items and a large pig named Hamlet who wanders around the outside areas. And a few chickens and a cat too. Our kids get a kick out of this store, especially the vintage playground equipment and tree swing out back.
We love living in Cedar Park, Texas. One of the things we love about living here, is that there is so much to do within an hour drive in any direction. Don’t miss getting out to Hamilton Pool and taking in the natural beauty of the area. Stay tuned for more fun Day Trips from Cedar Park.