You're not close to much but God on the road to Hamilton Pool Preserve in the wilds of Travis County, west of Austin and north of Dripping Springs.
But when you get there--if you're early and lucky enough to be one of the limited number admitted to the popular natural swimmin' hole--you'll walk down a steep-ish quarter-mile path lined with bushes and trees, emerging at a natural blue-green pool fed by a cascading waterfall.
Created by the ancient collapse of a limestone cavern, arching remnants remain around one side of the sinkhole.
Open-air stalactites drip into being around the edge.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a Travis County park, with 232 acres, including a 3/4 mile hiking path to the Pedernales River.
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd., Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Entry fee is $15/car or $5/car for seniors (cash or check, no credit cards). Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, weather permitting.
Call before you go (512) 264-2740 to find out if swimming and hiking is currently allowed, particularly during rainy periods.
Plan your trip to avoid crowds--early on weekdays, preferably off-season. The park department warns: Be aware that in the summer when swimming is allowed, most visitors are turned away and are not allowed entry due to overcrowding in the preserve...It is slightly easier to gain admittance to the preserve on a warm-weather weekday, but weekdays are very crowded too with long waiting lines.
And don't forget to bring your camera, you'll want to remember your trip back in time.
Copyright 2009-2015 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.