Legendary swimming hole and grotto.
The grotto, or cavern, of Hamilton Pool Preserve was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed, creating a 50ft waterfall into a pool below. Today the area is endangered species protected, due to re-growth of lush vegetation and wildlife that was once trampled by cattle. However, a limited number of people can visit the park each day and bask in the nature made swimming hole.
This is the perfect respite for light hiking, swimming, and chillin’. There are two trails to choose from, a short one that leads directly to the Hamilton pool, and a longer one that opens up to the Pedernales River. Make sure to wear rubber-soled shoes because flip-flops won’t cut it on the rocks. Also make sure if brews and picnicking are on your agenda, to bring a small cooler, as it’s way easier to navigate down the paths. Drinking is not highly recommended, so just don’t get crazy and there won’t be any problems – also bring cans only as all glass is prohibited.
Because this is a natural pool, the water is not chemically treated and subject to all weather conditions. There will be days when the water is jade blue, and others when it is murky and brown due to sediment and rainfall. Call ahead to check the conditions and whether or not the pool is open. Swimming is all at own risk. Drought doesn’t often effect the pool levels, but it can effect the flow of the waterfall – it will either be rushing or a simple trickle.
There is a strict no pet/dog rule. The preserve doesn’t even allow them in the parking lot, so leave Rex at home when heading out here. It can get crowded during the hot summer months, so either come during the week in the off-season or arrive early. Only 75 vehicles are allowed in the parking lot at one time, no exceptions. Preserve closes at 6pm on the dot, so plan on packing up and heading out before then. The only amenity provided is a bathroom, so make sure to pack all food and drinks as leaving the preserve would be the only option to re-fuel.