There’s so much to see and do in Austin, Texas, but don’t forget to venture outside the city limits!
In just a short 45 minute drive, 30 miles from the city center, you’ll find yourself on back country roads that lead to the beautiful Hamilton Pool Preserve.
There are a few major highways that will all eventually lead to the appropriately named Hamilton Pool Road, so check your preferred maps app or car’s navigation system to determine which route is fastest with traffic conditions.
Enjoy cruising on the country roads outside of the city! We loved driving the new 2018 Mazda CX-5, the lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, and smart brake support feature all came in handy on the winding roads (complete with road kill to dodge!).
The route is easily marked with signs for Hamilton Pool along the way.
If you are visiting in January, February, or on a weekday in November and December, no reservation is required to visit and you only need to pay the entrance fee per car. Leave your ticket on your dash while you hike to Hamilton Pool.
Cost: $15 per vehicle entrance & parking fee or $8 for pedestrian/bicycle entrance fee (don’t forget to bring cash!)
If you are visiting in March through October, or on a weekend or holiday in November or December, you will need a reservation to visit. Make your reservation here. Reservations cost an additional $11 for a total of $26 (credit card only due to the online reservation system).
Hours: Hamilton Pool Preserve is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (the last entrance is admitted at 5:30 p.m.).
The walk is only a quarter mile and if you an active person, you will find it fairly easy.
The most advanced part of the walk comes at the beginning with rocky and uneven steps leading down to Hamilton Creek.
When you reach the clear, green creek, follow the sign to Hamilton Pool to the right and walk alongside the creek (heading left leads to a river trail).
The creek leads into Hamilton Pool!
Unfortunately, the waterfall was reduced to a light trickle when we visited Hamilton Pool Preserve in February 2018, but it was still gorgeous.
Swimming is allowed year-round dependent on appropriate bacteria levels and recent rainfall. There are no lifeguards on duty so swim at your own risk. It was freezing when we visited so we did not take a dip, but we can see how it would be enjoyable on a hot day. But even though it was cold, I couldn’t resist an excuse to bust out my new cherry red one-piece from Andie! 🙂
Swimsuit: “The Catalina” in Cherry Red by Andie
Hamilton Pool Preserve Summary
- 30 miles / 45 minutes (without traffic) from downtown Austin
- January, February, & weekdays in November & December = $15 entrance/parking fee per vehicle, $8 entrance fee per pedestrian/bicycle *Cash only!
- March through December and weekends/holidays in November & December = Reservation required for additional $11 ($26 total with vehicle entrance fee) *Credit card only for reservation payment online!
- Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entrance at 5:30 p.m.)
- 0.25-mile trail from parking lot to Hamilton Pool – easy hike for active travelers
- Swimming allowed all year (depending on bacteria levels and rainfall) – no lifeguards on duty
- Make reservations and check conditions/closures on the Travis County Parks site
*In full transparency to our readers, we partnered with Mazda USA and Andie (separately) for this blog post. We do not make commission off any of the links included in this post. We did, however, receive free products. We only collaborate with companies we love and hope you’ll love too!