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The Incredible Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve

Although we’ve already featured this incredible place as the Picture of the Day on October 3, 2011, this second shot also by the talented Dave Wilson was too good to pass up. Offering a completely different yet equally dramatic view of the Hamilton Pool, find out more about this amazing place below.


Located approximately 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Austin, Texas, the Hamilton Pool Preserve 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.

The pool’s water level however, stays pretty constant even during periods of drought. 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.

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. [Source: Travis County Gov]