Erosion – while generally sucking – can have a silver lining here and there: this natural pool was discovered when a slab of earth collapsed into itself and revealed it was hiding an underground river system.
The Hamilton Pool Preserve can be found around 40 kilometres west of Austin, Texas, right off of Highway 71. To access the pool, you’ll need to pay a $15 fee for Travis County Park and head to the car park (which can only fit up to 75 cars, and can fill up pretty quickly in the summer months). Then battle a steep trek downhill towards the preserve. Once you’ve made your way to the pool’s entrance, it can take 30 minutes to an hour before you’re able to take a dip.
But don’t let all that put you off – this is one natural swimming hole that’s certainly worth the wait.
Thanks to the natural erosion that occurred many thousands of years ago, the Hamilton Pool is is surrounded by large slabs of limestone with huge stalactites growing from the crust of the ceiling above. The grotto also features a 13 metre waterfall that cascades H20 to the majestic pond below.
Thanks to the humid temperatures, moss and fern have grown over the edge of the ceiling cliffs, meaning this place looks straight out of a fairytale.
Thanks to its beauty, the pool has even been featured in a number of feature films, including The Hot Spot with Jennifer Connelly and Don Johnson, the 2010 film Predators, and Terrence Mallick’s The Tree Of Life.
Depending on the weather, swimming can be restricted if the water levels are deemed too unsafe, or because of high bacteria levels in the water (which are checked daily), so keep an eye on Travis County Parks’ page for updates.
(Lead image: Srini Sundarrajan/Flickr)