When moving to Texas I had a travel to-do list before even packing my bags (I have Pinterest to thank for that) and the Hamilton Pool was on the top of that list.
I was a little iffy about it at first because I knew it was a HUGE tourist attraction, so I was afraid the beauty of it would be swallowed by the amount of people that came to visit. But I also knew that people visited it for a reason, so I had to check it out for myself.
I’m glad I did check it out because the people came nowhere close to killing the vibe of this place. The parking lot is limited so only a certain amount of people are aloud in at one time, which helps give room for walking and swimming around.
Whenever you first get there, you have to sit in your car and wait for a parking spot. Luckily, as of October 2017, you no longer have to pay for a reservation (which costed around $10 on top of the parking fee). You can now just drive there, stay in line and only pay the $15 parking fee. My wait was about 15-20 minutes and that was mainly because I went on a day that it was barely raining prior to going. On a beautiful summer day, expect to have to wait up to an hour. It’s worth the trip though!
Actually getting to the pool isn’t too bad. It’s a half mile hike to get to it – but no worries if you’re not a hiker! The trail was easy to walk through. I even passed a bunch of kids while walking and they have a couple benches to sit down along the way.
During certain parts of the year, they allow swimming. If you’re planning on going just to swim, be sure to check their website (click here) before heading there. The website will let you know if it’s allowed at this time. You’ll also see a sign when driving up to Hamilton Pool that will say if swimming is allowed or not. Along with that, the guy that takes your money will inform you as well. So in other words – it’s pretty easy to find out if it’s open for swimming.
Here’s another tip about going swimming at Hamilton Pool: It’s cold. Some would say freezing (I am one of those people). And it wasn’t just cold because I went in mid-November. The weather outside was about mid 70s to 80 degrees outside yet the water didn’t account for it. I told a girl while I was swimming: “this is freezing!” and she replied “Yeah, and it’s like this year round, even in the summer.” I don’t know the science behind it, but I heard a couple other people say that as well… so be prepared!
No matter how cold people tell you it is, you’ll still want to jump in – I promise. The water is so clear and beautiful… it basically just screams “let’s swim.”
While I was walking around the water, I ran into three ladies from Indiana. They were retired teachers and were the absolute sweetest. They thought it was “brave” of me to be traveling alone to somewhere like this (I put quotations because at this point traveling solo has become normal to me rather than brave! lol). They were nice enough to talk to me for a bit about my travel life and were shocked when I told them I was from Southern Illinois (which wasn’t too far from where they are from in Indiana) and then photographed me for the ‘gram. People make me realize that the world is huge, yet small all at the same time.
One thing that surprised me was that there was a hiking trail off in the opposite direction of the Hamilton Pool. That trail went along the river which was pretty cool. The trail itself is surrounded by a bunch of trees though. For most of the hike, if you want to see the river, you have to get off path a little bit (which there are signs stating not to do). Personally, I feel like getting off the beaten path is a typical thing that happens there even with the signs posted. I saw a couple people climbing rocks in order to get a better view of the river. Just depends how risky you are with hiking!
Safety: Before you leave the parking lot, there’s a little bulletin board that talks about the different rules and parts of the area. One thing that’s stated on the boards is different type of snakes that can be found. While walking the hike, I actually ran across one little bitty snake off to the side in the bushes. This is probably the main reason they state to stay on the path. Don’t let the snakes keep you from visiting – just be aware that they are present off to the side!
To sum it all up: Go to Hamilton Pool! It’s absolutely gorgeous and a great day trip from Austin, Texas.