Had enough of your loud relatives over Thanksgiving and looking for a personal retreat? If you live near Austin, Texas, there is an Edenic refuge that might be just the perfect escape. Known as Hamilton Pool, the swimming hole was created thousands of years ago when the limestone dome of an underground river collapsed. Now moss and stalactites decorate the remains of the dome that’s become a natural grotto surrounding the jade green pool. If that isn’t tempting enough, there’s a 50-foot waterfall. And lucky for Austin residents, the pool is currently open for swimming, and the weather for this week is supposed to be mostly sunny. Of course, Texas weather is known to swing wildly from day to day, so be sure to make sure the pool is open before heading out. Check out this Texas-size pool below.
Hamilton Pool has been a favored swimming hole for generations of residents. It wasn’t until 1990 that the area was designated as a protected nature preserve. Image by Trey Ratcliff
If Hamilton Pool looks familiar that may be because it’s been featured in several films, most recently 2011′s “The Tree of Life.” Image by Dave Wilson Photography
The color of the limestone and moss are reflected by water, giving it that green tone. Image by Dave Wilson Photography
Even in seasons of drought this waterfall never completely dries up, though it may not be as robust as pictured above. Image by Jim Nix
You can bring your bathing suit, but you won’t be able to doggy paddle with your best friend. Because Hamilton Pool is a protected nature preserve, no dogs are allowed. Also, no fishing or camping. Image by Jim Nix
The water isn’t chemically treated, but is monitored for health and safety. Swimming is sometimes prohibited if things get a little too murky. Image by Matthew High
A trail wraps all the way around the pool, but be careful–it can get slippery and in some places be a rather tight fit. Image by Matthew High