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Those of us who grew up in Austin can remember making spur-of-the-moment jaunts to Hamilton Pool Preserve, where the cool, blue-green waters offered instant relief on 100-degree days.
But as you probably know, Hamilton Pool — a natural pool created thousands of years ago after the dome of an underground river collapsed due to erosion — has experienced excessive crowding of late and two years ago switched to a reservation system.
Reservations are required between March 1 and Oct. 31 and on weekends and official Travis County holidays during November and December. You can pick a morning or afternoon reservation (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.); each reservation includes one vehicle with no more than eight people.
Want to take a dip before summer ends? Here are 5 more things you need to know.
- Bring cash. Cost for a reservation including service fee is $11 and is paid online when you make your reservation. Make sure you bring cash to the park, too, because an additional $15 cash entrance fee is required on the day you visit.
- Wear tennis shoes. It’s advisable to wear tennis shoes because a steep and rocky quarter-mile hike is required to access the pool.
- Swimming is not guaranteed. Sometimes visitors are not allowed to swim due to high bacteria levels. Call the public information line for the current status of the preserve: 512-264-2740.
- Life vests are available but no lifeguard is on duty. No pets are allowed either.
- Some August and September dates are currently available. Weekdays in particular are opening up now that school is back in session. Click here to view available dates and make a reservation.