Hamilton Pool Preserve
Hamilton Pool Preserve was designated a nature preserve by the Travis County Court in 1990s. It is upstream from the Pedernales River. This nature preserve is near Lake Travis about 30 min outside of Austin, Texas.
The park limits the number of guests that can visit per day. This is great because it prevents overcrowding as well as protecting the land.
Reservations are required from March 1st- Oct. There is a $10 reservation fee and a $1 service fee required to make the reservation. We suggest making your reservation at least 2 weeks in advanced, it fills up quickly and you will not be able to get same day reservations. Here is the link to the reservation page. One reservation per group.
There is also a day permit fee that you have to pay in cash when arriving. $15 in cash paid to the park ranger.
I was a little saddened that this was not much of a hike. It is only .25 miles from the parking lot to the grotto. The path is very fun for kids. Boulders to climb over, a beautiful crystal clear river passing by. You are able to hike farther down the path to the Padernales River. There is a sign right by the waterfall where you can turn left to keep hiking father down the river. We did not due this to lack of time. It is only 0.6 of a mile one way but has a small waterfall at the end (different than the Hamilton pool waterfall).
We walked in flip flops and swimsuits. No real hiking equipment needed. At the beginning of the trail they have hiking sticks to use if you need. It is a bit rocky so older folks might want to grab a stick for balance.
The pool and waterfall
The Hamilton Pool is gorgeous. A 50 foot waterfall trickles over the edge of a grotto into a crystal clear turquoise pool. There is a path that you can walk under the grotto and under the waterfall.
The water is about 60 degrees in the spring but slightly warmer in the summer. Swimming is allowed but determined by the level of bacteria in the water. The state publishes the swimming allowance on their website .
The park provides life jackets for those that need them. These are located at the pool.
There was no trash along the path or at the waterfall. We were very impressed with how clean it was compared to our experience at Turner falls , OK, there was trash everywhere. Restrooms are available at the parking lot where you can change or use the toilet, no soap as it is a natural bathroom (glorified porta potty)
How long to stay
We recommend 2-3 hours. Swimming and enjoying the beautiful relaxing scenery. Many people brought chairs and a picnic. Reservations are from 9-12 or 1-4. You can’t stay past your reservation time. There is a river just below the bridge that the kids can play in as well. It is shallow and there is not a strong current.
What to bring
- Extra set of clothes
- $15 cash
In conclusion we love most waterfall experiences. This was no exception. The water is a beautiful turquoise color with a well maintained trail that takes you to the grotto and under the falls.
A must see for those who love nature and are visiting the Austin area.
-Russ and Ashley