Barton Springs Pool is the fourth largest natural spring in the state of Texas. The Spring was created centuries ago by a result in a land shift. There are actually four smaller springs that compose Barton Springs. The spring is located in Zilker Park right off Barton Springs Road. The springs are considered one of the hidden gems of both Zilker Park and Austin. Barton Springs Pool is surrounded by the beautiful lush gardens and trees of Zilker Park. Picnics and gatherings are often conducted near the spring due to its beautifully scenic setting. Almost half a million visitors come to the spring every year to take a dip in the waters.
The Barton Springs Pool is three acres in size and the water comes from underground springs. Because the spring is produced from the earth - natural rock and gravel composes the spring floor. The spring has varying depths and stairs, ladders, and diving boards are all available for entry. The Native Americans once referred to Barton Springs Pool as the Sacred Springs and believed that the water had the power to heal their wounds. In the 1700's, the springs attracted Spanish Friars who wanted to set up temporary missions before moving to San Antonio. In 1837, the springs were named after William "Uncle Billy'' Barton who owned several tracts of land and a rustic cabin near the springs. Over the years, the springs have served as a source of drinking water, musical performances, baptisms, fishing, swimming, and family picnics.
The Barton Springs Pool continues to draw all types of people who want to spend recreational time in the pool. The Spring is open year round due its consistent warm temperature of 68 degrees. The temperature in Austin Texas carries a natural warmth throughout the year that makes outdoor activities very attractive in the city. A diverse group of people head to the springs to sunbathe and take in the scenic surroundings. The pool has been a popular swimming hole for several decades. People from all over the country have come to swim in the spring since it became a part of the city park in 1917.
Swimming at the Barton Springs Pool is not free. Visitors to the water hole must purchase a swim ticket or pass that is available at the Municipal pools during normal operation hours. Ticket prices range from $1 to $3 depending on the age of the individual. Sometimes the Barton Springs Pool is closed after heavy rains due to having a high fecal coliform count. The pool does have a hotline that interested visitors can call to make sure the pool is open before their arrival. The hotline is operated 24 hours a day. A political organization called Save Our Springs Alliance has fought for the environmental protection of Barton Springs since 1990. The alliance develops petitions and projects to protect the quality of water in Barton Springs. Water conservation, pollution threats, education and advocacy are all goals of the Save Our Springs Alliance. The alliance works with local conservation groups to advocate protection for both Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer. The Alliance was able to kick-start weekly cleanings of the Spring every thursday from 7PM-10PM.