Hamilton Pool: A Well Kept Texan Secret

hamilton pool

The weather was getting warm in June and I was mentally preparing myself for the heat and humidity of Texas. It had been just a year since I was last in San Antonio and after getting used to the dryer and much cooler weather of South Dakota, I wasn’t ready for the change in climate. 

Prior to my trip down to San Antonio, I did some research on places to go, things to see, and food to eat while on my free time. My previous trips to the Texas city were usually brief or included a ton of studying. To be honest, this trip was no different: three weeks of flying and advanced academics to further the knowledge for my job. But this time, the amount of studying was minimal and I had the weekends to myself.


One of the places I found and read about was Hamilton Pool Preserve, a natural swimming hole with cool and clear emerald water. It was perfect for the summer heat. Located about 45 minutes west of Austin and along a winding road with a few road signs, the pool is nestled away from passersby on the road. I had made my reservation about a month or so prior for a Saturday morning and timed my drive perfectly, arriving at the pool just prior to entry hours. Once I parked my car, I hiked the short but steep trail that led to the pool.


I was one of the first of the morning group to reach the pool, the glistening emerald green water still untouched by would-be bathers and the sandy beach begging for visitors to find a place to sit and enjoy the sun. I placed my bag and towel down, claiming my spot, as did the others, before taking in the view. The roaring sound of a waterfall filled our ears in the otherwise quiet nature preserve. It kind of reminded me of the hidden cenotes I saw during my trip to the Yucatan. Now was the time to enjoy the serene pool, before more people came in. A make-shift trail took us around the pool to the back of the large and shallow cave, moss growing on the rocks and water trickling down like works of art. Above us, birds flew from their many nests within the cave.



As I made it back to the sandy shore, the number of visitors had increased dramatically. Families brought beach toys, children splashing around while wearing colorful floaties. Young adults brought coolers of beer and soda, drinking from red solo cups while wading waist deep in the water. Older couples simply enjoyed each other’s company, savoring the view and reading books.

The cool water of the emerald pool was inviting as the weather started to warm up. Following suit of the other bathers, I walked along the shore dipping my toes in the water. It was colder than I expected and I slowly walked into the water. Once waist deep, I took the plunge, letting the chilly water enclose around me. There was that initial shock when cold water touches every inch of skin, and then the sense of relief from the warm sun. Walking further out, the floor of the pool dropped and I started a slow leisurely swim.


Reaching the far end of the pool, I found a place to sit on one of the shallow rocks. It was a lovely view of the entire pool, the shore alive with beachgoers. To my right, the waterfall roared, and water trickled down from the opening of the cave above. Bathers jumped into the water by the waterfall, while others simply enjoyed the view. About an hour of enjoying the water and another couple hours spent reading, clouds started to trail across the sky and obscure the sun.


Rain drops fell from the sky. It’s always comical seeing those already wet rushing from the water when it starts to rain, granted no one wanted their personal belongings to get drenched. It was good timing since the light drizzle came at a time when the reservation period was over.  I packed up my belongings and hiked my way back to the car. It was still early in afternoon, and as I left the park, the rain stopped. Instead of driving back to San Antonio, I headed east towards Austin for a bite to eat from some of the many food trucks and to walk around Congress street. It was a day well spent.

Have you ever been to Hamilton Pool? If so, please share your experience!

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