AUSTIN (KXAN) — After Hamilton Pool was closed to swimmers after two drownings in 2016, Travis County Parks has now decided to reopen the natural pool to swimmers starting Monday, May 1.
Travis County Parks banned swimming on Oct. 7, 2016 to spend time determining if any of their operational protocols could be changed to minimize future incidents. A 20-year-old man drowned at the pool on Oct. 2, 2016 and in August, a 17-year-old died after being underwater for nearly 30 minutes.
The department has installed a loaner life jacket kiosk at the entrance to the pool where visitors can borrow life jackets, in a variety of sizes, to use at no charge. Throw rings have also been placed around the pool to help a distressed swimmer if the need arises.
From time to time the pool has been closed due to high bacteria counts based on state standards. Bacterial water testing is conducted on a routine basis, Travis County Parks says.
From May 1 to Sept. 30, you need a reservation to visit the preserve, an effort to reduce long wait times and lines of traffic going in and out of the park. The reservation is $10 per vehicle, plus a $15 park facility use fee.
You can reserve either of two time slots: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The $10 reservation fee can be paid online at the Travis County Parks website, but the $15 fee must be paid at the preserve entrance in cash or local check. Credit and debit cards are not accepted on site.
Hamilton Pool, part of the 30,000-acre Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, is located at 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd., Dripping Springs, Texas 78620 — about a 30-mile drive heading west from downtown Austin.