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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Incredible Hamilton Natural Pool Preserve in Texas, USA

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The Incredible Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve in Texas, USA

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The pool is located about 23 miles (37 km) west of Austin, Texas off Highway 71. Since the 1960s, Hamilton Pool has been a popular summer swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents. Hamilton Pool Preserve consists of 232 acres (0.939 km2) of protected natural habitat featuring a jade green pool into which a 50-foot (15 m) waterfall flows.

What To See


The pool is surrounded by large slabs of limestone that rest by the water's edge; large stalactites grow from the ceiling high above. The ceiling and surrounding cliffs of the grotto are home to moss, maidenhair fern and cliff swallows. The Ashe juniper (cedar) uplands of the preserve are home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. The natural pool and creek are not chemically treated, so water quality is monitored regularly and swimming is occasionally restricted. Hamilton Pool is part of the Balcones Cayonlands Preserve and is a protected environment.

The Incredible Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve in Texas, USA

The preserve is home to the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, and a great variety of other birds. The diverse vegetation of Hamilton Pool ranges from semi-arid species in the uplands to riparian species in the canyon. The uplands of the preserve are a juniper and oak savannah with a variety of native grasses and wildflowers. Several rare plant species including canyon mock-orange, red bay (western-most colony of this eastern species), and chatter box orchid are known to occur in the canyon areas along Hamilton Creek.

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP). The BCP is a 30,428-acre system of endangered species habitat owned by Travis County, the City of Austin, The Nature Conservancy, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Travis Audubon Society, as well as privately owned lands. The BCP represents a regional effort to balance protection of endangered species habitat with economic development.

The Incredible Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve in Texas, USA

Since the 1960's, Hamilton Pool has been a favorite summer swimming spot for Austin visitors and residents. The natural pool and creek are not chemically treated, so water quality is monitored regularly and swimming is occasionally restricted; call ahead to check conditions before your visit. Note: There are no lifeguards on duty, and drinking water and concessions are not available. Composting toilets and picnic tables are provided near the parking lot. Since Hamilton Pool is a nature preserve, the following rules apply: no fishing, mountain biking, camping, dogs or other pets. Cooking and fires are also not permitted.

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