Battling the heat in Austin, TX can be a challenge, even for lifelong residents. Those new to the area might be looking for options to keep cool when the worst heat comes through in the summertime. Or, maybe you’re interested in taking a brisk dip during our more temperate winter months. No matter the pursuit, there’s really only one place that can meet all of the needs of the water-seeking Austinite: Barton Springs Pool.
Barton Springs Pool
The Barton Springs Pool is the crown jewel of Zilker Metropolitan Park. Fun fact: it’s actually where the actor Robert Redford learned to swim in the pool at the age of five years old. The pool itself is formed by the Barton Springs, a natural spring that sits under Zilker Park fed by the Edwards Aquifer. The main spring, also called Parthenia, or “the mother spring,” is the largest discharge point for the Edwards Auquifer and is the source of the water for the Barton Springs Pool. The pool itself is over three acres long and stays at a cool 68 degrees year-round.
The original owner, William Barton, recognized the value of turning the local springs into a tourist attraction. The last owner, Andrew Jackson Zilker, deeded the waters over to the city of Austin, who began construction on the pool in the 1920s. They created what is now Barton Springs Pool it by damming up waters from Barton Creek, where the pool has a natural gravel and rock floor.
The pool is a renowned natural and geological landmark. Vast underground limestone caverns and voids formed by shifting tectonic plates and water erosion fill up with rainfall. The Edwards Auquifer is a vast auquifer, stretching from Oklahoma down to the Rio Grande in southwest Texas. It sits along the southeastern edge of the Edwards Plateau along the Balcones Fault line. Barton Springs as the largest of the outputs from all these amazing geological formations, is home to plenty of caves and endangered species.
A Local Austin Landmark
In a lot of ways, Barton Springs is the heart of Austin, TX. Coupled with Zilker Park they form the two biggest outdoor attractions right in the heart of downtown.
Since Austin has been a city, residents and tourists have been coming to Barton Springs to while away summer days, refresh themselves int he cool waters, participate in a local drum circle, or just sit on the lawn and get some sun. It’s an attraction that residents of all ages are proud of.
Aside from daily access, Barton Springs is home to plenty of local events, including the Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day, Full Moon events, as well as regular clean ups helmed by the various conservation organizations the help maintain the Springs and surrounding area.
Ready to take a dip? Start by taking a peek at the Barton Springs Pool Schedule. You can also find everything that you need to know about your trip to Barton Springs Pool below.
Winter Months: October 1, 2018 – March 3, 2019
- 5am – 8am Daily* Swim at Own Risk
- 8am – 6pm Daily* Guarded Swim (NO ADMISSION FEES CHARGED)
- 6pm – 10pm Daily* Swim at Own Risk
- Closed Thursdays from 9am – 7pm for cleaning
Daily Hours (March – September)
- Main Gate Hours: 5am – 10pm Daily
- South Gate Hours: 5am – 10pm Daily*
- *Closed Thursdays from 9am – 7pm for cleaning
|Age Group||Resident Daily Entry Fee||Non-Resident Daily Entry Fee|
|Senior (62 years and older)||$1||$4|
|Adult (18-62 years)||$3||$8|
|Junior (12-17 years)||$2||$4|
|Child (1-11 years)||$1||$3|
|Children under 1 year||FREE||FREE|
|Veterans (Honorably Discharged)||$1||N/A|
- Punch Cards: 80 Punch Card ($40.00 value) for $34.00. Each punch is worth $0.50. See more Punch Cards info
- Season Swim Passes (Includes parking at Zilker Park): Info on Season Swim Passes
Free parking is available at 2201 Barton Springs Rd, Zilker Park, Austin, TX 78746-5736. However, if you come during peak hours, you will likely either need to wait for parking, or plan on paying for parking near the area.
Get Involved with Barton Springs
Below are a list of conservation and support organizations that work with the Springs.
- Friends of Barton Springs Pool – http://www.friendsofbartonspringspool.org/
- Save Our Springs Alliance – http://www.sosalliance.org/
- Barton Springs/Edwards Auquifer Conservation District – http://www.bseacd.org/