Nothing cools you off on a hot summer day like a spring-fed swimming hole. Krause Springs in Spicewood (404 Krause Spring Road, Spicewood, 78669) is one of the best around! Located about 35 miles west of Austin off State Highway 71, Krause Springs has 34 springs that feed a man-made pool and a natural swimming area.
You can visit just for the day ($7 age 12+, $5 ages 4 – 11, free for ages 0 – 3) or camp overnight ($14 age 12+, $6 ages 4 – 11, and $14 per RV camp site). Credit cards are not accepted at this time so bring cash. Guests sign a liability waiver upon entering.
When we arrived, we took a look around the lovely garden near the office.
We thought this caterpillar was pretty interesting.
Next, we walked along the paths and saw many picnic areas surrounded by beautiful trees.
From the path, we could see the manmade pool. It is fed by very cold spring water (68 degrees according to their web site). Get ready to get chill out!
As you walk, you will be able to observe some of the springs flowing near the pool.
The boys were ready to jump in! This pool has a shallower section (about 3 feet) and a deeper section (about 8 feet).
Here’s a view of the swimming hole from an overlook.
After swimming in the manmade pool for about an hour, we were ready to head down to the swimming hole.
The stairs closest to the manmade pool are a little steep. There’s another set of stairs farther down the path.
The swimming hole has both sun and shade. It was gorgeous!
The waterfall surrounded by maidenhair fern was stunning. I haven’t seen anything else like it (in Texas at least)! The boys were fascinated by the “rainbow” that was created by the sun shining through the water as it fell. They played in this area a long time. We thought that the water here was not quite as cold as it was in the manmade pool above. When you are swimming, be aware that the natural swimming area has an uneven surface on the bottom. You can go from shallow to deep in one step.
The rope swing was extremely popular.
One thing to be aware of while enjoying the natural swimming area is that it is very slippery. Not only did we see a few people slip, my 12-year-old son hit the ground pretty hard near the end of our visit. That took the wind out of his sails. Definitely wear sturdy shoes that can keep you stable both in the water and out. To leave the swimming hole we went back up these stairs, which were less steep.
We walked some more along the paths trying to find the second waterfall fed by the springs. From the map, we could tell it was slightly northeast of the swimming areas.
We found plenty of springs!
After some stubborn searching by this mom who wouldn’t leave without seeing the second waterfall, we finally located it. We couldn’t find a way to walk down the hill to get closer to it, so I took this picture with the zoom lens of my camera. (Yes, it’s a little hard to see.) With our mission accomplished, we were ready to head back to Austin after a quick stop at Opie’s to pick up some BBQ for dinner.
Austin Active Kids Opinion: One of the prettiest swimming holes we’ve ever seen, just come prepared with sturdy shoes.
Outing Time: We stayed 2.5 hours but we might have been there longer if we’d have brought more food and drinks with us. Krause Springs could easily be a half-day or full-day outing. Since it’s got a campground, you could even stay overnight!
Don’t forget to bring cash for the admission fee since credit cards are not accepted. ($7 age 12+, $5 ages 4 – 11, free for ages 0 – 3) or camp overnight ($14 age 12+, $6 ages 4 – 11, and $14 per RV camp site)
It’s very important to bring sturdy shoes that can keep your feet stable in and out of the water.
There aren’t any lifeguards at Krause Springs. Swimming safety gear is a must for children still developing their skills. Also pack floats, sunscreen, hats, towels, and plenty of snacks and drinks. You could even bring along a picnic and take advantage of the many picnic tables provided.
While this is definitely one of those beautiful swimming holes I’ve ever seen, I would be hesitant about taking children under age 5 without the helping hand of at least one other adult. If your children are younger or still developing swimming skills, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan for how you will keep them monitored safely. Also, the natural swimming area is just that–natural. Don’t be surprised if you see fish, turtles or even a snake.
Summertime office hours are 9 am – 9 pm and the springs are open year-round. Here are some FAQs from the Krause Springs web site. It’s helpful to know ahead of time that Krause Springs has a “no dogs” policy.
Before you go, you might want to read Top Tips for Families Visiting Krause Springs by R We There Yet Mom? Here are more descriptions of Krause Springs from Austin Post, Austinot and CultureMap.
This 2012 Daily Texan article describes some of the history of Krause Springs.