We have quite a few adventures planned this summer and our first trip was to central Texas. We met up with my brother and his kids to explore a popular waterfall right outside of Austin, Texas. This is a trip that will need to be planned ahead in order to get into the preserve.
You will need to make reservations well in advanced. The reservations opened up for the summer in March and we immediately booked for a June date. I don’t know how quickly it fills up, but we didn’t want to wait and find out. It is a popular place that only a few people at a time can get into. I appreciated this when we got there because the waterfall area is very small and could easily get crowded which would make it loose it peacefulness and beauty.
It is a fairly easy hike. It was a mostly shaded quarter mile hike from the parking lot. It also has a 1.8 mile hike but we were not able to explore this option. It had rained heavy the day before causing some flooding. You can walk around the entire pool and capture some great pictures behind the waterfall. The water is so clear we could see the fish and turtles swimming! The rain also kept us from swimming in the waterhole below the waterfall. The rain causes higher than normal bacteria levels which is not safe for humans. This honestly played to our favor because it forced us to find another beautiful swimming location right down the road!
It cost $11 to reserve a time slot for up to 8 people and $15 at the gate per car. One reservations gets 8 people and 1 car in so if you need more than that make multiple reservations. The $15 day pass gets you into any of the surrounding state parks and preserves for the day.
Milton Reimers Ranch Park
We couldn’t swim at Hamilton Pool so we headed about a mile down the road to a larger swimming area. We didn’t know what to expect but we knew we needed some water to beat the outrageous Texas heat! Our day pass got us into the park at no additional cost. We parked and walked approximately a quarter mile or less to get to the Pedernales River. We were so taken back by its beauty! Only a few people were there swimming! I couldn’t believe this little beach wasn’t packed, but I was so grateful to have the peace and quiet. The water was perfect and the kids found some rocks to jump off into the water.
The wildflowers were in full bloom everywhere we turned. We couldn’t help but stop and capture a few photos!
Dripping Springs and Austin are very close to the state parks. We spent our time in Dripping Springs. We stopped at a little food truck park and hung out while we waited for our reservation time for Hamilton Pool. It had a handful of food trucks, a covered seating area, and a playground for the kids to play on. The kids had pizza, I had tacos, and Victor had some BBQ. Everyone was happy and entertained! About 10 miles or so outside of Dripping Springs is the world famous Salt Lick BBQ, so we had to hop over there for dinner. Because of the popularity it is likely you will have to wait a bit to sit, but it is well worth it. You have to try there German Potato Salad!!! It’s BYOB, so you can sit around, relax, and enjoy yourself! I made the mistake of trying to take a picture after we started eating, so there wasn’t much left! Haha!
We hope to return in the fall to camp and explore more of the surrounding area. In total it cost us $26 to explore some awesome natural preserves in Texas. You could easily pack your own food and save money when it comes to eating. We were only there for one day, so we tried to squeeze everything in!