I’m a waterfall chaser and I make it a point to visit a waterfall wherever I travel. I get really excited about waterfalls in places that I don’t expect. So as a Dallas, Texas native, imagine my complete surprise to discover there are waterfalls in Texas!
Every other Texas native I’ve told this to shared my same surprise and shock! I had no freaking idea. That’s the difference in experiences when you grow up in the inner city of a metropolitan area and that’s why I do what I do.
During a spring break glamping vacation, the teenager and I visited Texas Hill Country which is the area just west of Austin. I never spent any time in this area so I was really looking forward to exploring this unfamiliar part of the state. The landscape is so drastically different with so many changes in elevation.
As I always do when I plan a trip, I researched waterfalls in Texas and I came across Hamilton Pool. I saw the pics and I knew I had to getteth myself to this natural wonder.
What I didn’t do was research getting there. You have to wind through the hills of this canyon area to get to the park and they fill up quickly. I thought because it was still the offseason the crowds would be minimal and we could just show up in the afternoon.
Yeah, that’s not how this works — that’s not how any of this works. We got our little feelings hurt when we pulled up to a sign that basically said turn around losers because we’re full and you’re not getting in. (I’m paraphrasing but that’s how it felt.)
We looked up another nearby park and decided to go there and kill some time until we would be able to check into our glamping retreat. We would have to give Hamilton Pool another try the next day.
This time I was prepared and we were there 30 minutes before they opened to ensure we got a spot in line and were let into the park. Yes!!
We hiked the short peaceful trail and saw red birds and cypress trees. What I really love about hiking towards the falls is that first sound of the rushing water. I just get so excited knowing that at any moment the waterfall is going to come into view.
When we finally reached it, we were treated with a gorgeous view of this splendid aquamarine color pool with a light flow of water going down into the pool. Hamilton Pool is a 50 ft tall waterfall, formed from a collapsed grotto. The flow of the falls varies depending on the amount of recent rainfall.
Unfortunately swimming wasn’t permitted due to high bacterial levels when we were there. That was a bummer because I was so ready to dive right in!
However we did hike around the entire pool and behind the falls. Word of caution: It gets pretty tight squeezing around those fallen slabs of stone. There was one spot that I thought I might have to give up and turn around but I squeezed and contorted this body out of sheer will LOL.
There’s also a pretty steep set of slippery stairs just behind the falls. Truth be told I wasn’t really wearing the best shoes for this hike but thankfully I didn’t slip.
The hike is about a quarter of a mile to get to the falls from the parking lot. There are lots of steps and rocky terrain but generally speaking it’s a fairly easy hike.
Things to know to plan your own outdoorsy adventure:
- Hamilton Pool Preserve is a popular attraction, even during the non peak season. It’s in the middle of nowhere but don’t be bamboozled like we were. People know about this place and it fills up quickly! Once they have reached capacity no more cars are allowed into the gates and you will be sent along your merry way. Get there EARLY! They open at 9am.
- Starting May 1st reservations open up and you have to make a reservation online to get into the park.
- The cost is $15 per car. Bring cash.
- Call the information number ahead of your visit to find out the conditions due to weather and whether or not swimming is permitted. Information Line: 512-264-2740
- Get more information at the Hamilton Pool Preserve website.
Did you know there were waterfalls in Texas? Is visiting Hamilton Pool on your list of places to see? Let me know in the comments below!
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