07-11-2009 Hamilton pool

Hamilton Pool is a historic swimming hole which was designated a preserve by the Travis County Commissioner’s Court in 1990. Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of a steep box canyon. The waterfall never completely dries up, but in dry times it does slow to a trickle. However, the pool’s water level stays pretty constant, even during periods of drought.

A unique natural area surrounds this pool, collapsed grotto and canyon, formed by thousands of years of water erosion. Lush plant communities, a variety of wildlife species and natural shelter attracted the area’s first inhabitants. Cultural remains date back over 8,000 years.

Prior to the 1800s, Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches lived in the area. In the mid 1860s, Morgan C. Hamilton owned the property now known as Hamilton Pool Preserve. His brother, Andrew Jake Hamilton (the 10th governor of Texas), evidently visited this beautiful grotto while he was governor. In the 1880s, the Reimers, an immigrant family from Germany, bought the property to raise sheep and cattle. Legend has it that their eight-year-old son discovered the collapsed grotto.

Although ranchers might have considered the grotto a safety hazard for their livestock, the Reimers soon realized its value as a recreational area and opened the property for public use. Around the turn of the century, only a handful of people had the transportation to come out and enjoy the cool, serene surroundings. By the 1960s, and on into the 1980s, Hamilton Pool’s popularity had soared, as visitors packed the legendary swimming hole. The land suffered from sheer numbers and few restrictions.

In addition to impact from the visiting public, cattle, sheep and goats grazed the delicate ecosystem for several decades, resulting in changes to the native vegetation. In 1980, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department cited Hamilton Pool as the most significant natural area in rural Travis County. In 1985, Travis County purchased 232 acres from the Reimers family and implemented an aggressive land management plan to restore Hamilton Pool. Now, as Hamilton Pool Preserve, the lush fern-canopied cliffs are making a comeback, as are the rolling hills and meadows of the uplands. About… Hamilton pool.

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~ by myVelleitystfgyfgeryxsgryhszuhuhuheuzehuszhuhuhszuhxdjhhbhbshh on July 10, 2009.

5 Responses to “07-11-2009 Hamilton pool”

  1. wow. What a place for a swim! Beautiful pool and an interesting story.

  2. excellent set. i can’t believe that i didn’t go here while I lived in Austin.

  3. A fine series. Thanks for sharing this remarkable place with us in pictures. The overhang of the grotto is amazing. I’m glad that a plan of restoration has been implemented.

  4. so here’s the answer to my question, wow, what a gorgeous place, i wish i was there to swim around, great shots

  5. Wow. Thats’ quite a place nicely described in your montage. Well done, Scott.

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