Austin Public Parks | Barton Creek Greenbelt | Free | Just Add Water

Campbell’s Hole

April 15, 2021

On a warm Saturday afternoon in January, we explored the Campbell’s Hole trailhead on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. We parked at the Spyglass Drive entrance. There was plenty of street parking near the trailhead, even on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Finding Campbell’s Hole

Our goal was to locate Campbell’s Hole (a section of Barton Creek deep enough for swimming). We saw a map at the trail entrance. However, once you are down a trail with your kids, the map is not much help! You could always try and use your phone, but you basically want to head down to the creek (or dry river bed, if there has no been any rain) and then head left.

We arrived at 3 p.m. There were a few people biking, jogging, or walking their dogs, but the trail was not very crowded.

First, at beginning of the trail, we went down a rocky, steep path about 1/10 mile long. At the bottom of the hill, we turned left. The path is a little rough but the shade is nice.

I was not prepared for all of the forks in the trail, but I knew that we would find Campbell’s Hole along the creek bed. So we always took the right fork and stayed by the creek. I had a hard time keeping the kids on the trail as they wanted to explore the creek bed!

About a 1/2 mile down the trail, we found Campbell’s Hole! We did not see any trail markers or other signs. However, it was pretty obvious where the popular swimming area was supposed to be.

Even though we came on a dry day, there was still plenty of fun to be had!

When the Creek is Dry

My boys created a game of “parkour ninja jump” that even the 3-year-old got into. With all of the deep grooves and giant boulders, it was easy to keep those boys jumping!

We also enjoyed the wood stick teepee other visitors created.

Before we even made it back to our car, the children were already asking if we could return to this enchanted place!

We plan on returning after there have been some rainy days, to enjoy actually swimming at this spot along the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Austin Active Kids Opinion

I really enjoyed this reasonably short hike with a splashy reward when it’s wet, or a ninja/parkour practice paradise when it’s dry.

Outing Time

Just under 1 1/2 hours.

Outing Distance

About 1-mile round trip.


Campbell’s Hole is a natural body of water when there has been plenty of rain. Talk to your kids ahead of time about water safety and closely watch your children when you are there. The depth of Campbell’s Hole will go up and down based on recent rains. It is likely to be shallow (or even completely dry) if during drier seasons. However, it could be deeper than usual if it’s been rainy. I would bring a change of clothes or wear your swimsuits if you plan on getting wet.

We encountered some trail users walking their dogs off-leash. Remind your children not to run up to dogs they don’t know.

I recommend packing water, snacks, and towels. No public restroom facilities. I love how close the entrance is to one of our favorite taco shops, Taco Deli. I would love to start my day with some breakfast tacos and a hike here!