Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hamilton Pool, a Travis County Nature Preserve

April 8th, 2010
Another gorgeous day in the Texas Hill Country. Temps in the morning were in the mid 50's but quickly warmed to the low 80,s. 

We took Maggie and Rico for a long walk along the paths here at Cottonwood Creek Rv Park.  By noon we decided to take a trip out to Hamilton Pool Nature PreserveHamilton Pool is one of the best swimming holes in Texas - and a great place to picnic, swim, and spend some time on the hot Texas summers. We didn't know exactly how to get there as the address wasn't showing up on our map or the GPS. However, we had a general idea where it might be. Had we checked Google Maps we would have found it easily. 
Anyway, we drove too far before asking someone for directions.  The rural roads out to the park were just beautiful. Again the wildflowers were in full bloom.

The entrance to the county park is manned by a park employee who collects the $10 entrance fee and goes over some of the rules listed below.

The park employee also advised us that the hike down to the pull is over 80 ft in elevation and quite rocky. Not a problem for us as we were both wearing hiking boots.

The trail was in fact rocky with natural steps formed by the rocks. It was a beautiful descent.

You can see in this picture that we are in a ravine with high rock ledges above us.

There were lots of large rock outcroppings. Note the flowers growing on the side of this boulder.

Another shot of the trail. It's not at all suitable for strollers or things of that nature.

After about a 1/2 mile we made it to the pool and water fall which was flowing strong.

The trail continues around the pool into the grotto. Sadly a young college student apparently drowned in this pool last week:  Swimmer's Body Recovered from Hamilton Pool.

After entering the grotto, I took this picture of Joyce on the beach. The preserve's pool and grotto were formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago.

You can see a portion of the trail along the grotto wall in the picture below. I can imagine that this pool and grotto would be heaven on earth on a hot summer day. I'm told the temperature of the water was in the 60's and the height of the falls is 45-50 ft.

After hiking around the pool and falls, we took a hike along the creek that flows into the Pedernales River.

The trees growing in and around the creek are robust and magnificent. Occasionally we could actually see fish perhaps 6- 8 inches long in the clear running creek.

Eventually we had to face the ascent back to the parking lot!

Actually it wasn't as bad going back up for me as it was coming down. Certainly one of the most beautiful hikes we've been on to date.

On the route that we took in and out of the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve we had to cross the Pedernales River on Hamilton Pool Road. Large signs warn trucks of the narrow road and steep conditions. Some of the grades were extremely steep with switch backs. Below is the one lane bridge crossing the river.

A shot of the Pedernales River from the bridge above. The Pedernales River (pronounced /ˌpɜrdəˈnælɨs/PER-də-NAL-iss) is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 106 miles (171 km) long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains an area of the Edwards Plateau, flowing west to east across theTexas Hill Country west of Austin. The name "Pedernales", first used in the middle 18th century, comes from a Spanish word for the flint rocks characteristic of the riverbed.

Back on the road headed home, Joyce was trying to take pictures through the car windows of the wild flowers. I decided to stop when we came across this Yucca plant in full bloom along side Bluebonnets and assorted wild flowers so she could get her flower fix!

We had a good time visiting Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve and would certainly recommend it.


  1. Perdernales and the surrounding area is a very pretty part of Texas, glad you are enjoying it. :)


  2. It sure is beautiful country and there is lots to do and see here.