Snapshot: A Trip to Krause Springs

Hill Country haven is one of Texas' best swimming holes

Surveying the scores of beer-drinking millennials and families floating around, jumping off cliffs, and sunbathing on a regular summer weekend at Krause Springs – a swimming and camping locale in Spicewood, about 30 miles northwest of Austin – it's difficult to imagine it was a popular place for baptism services before the Krause family dug out the pool around 1963. These days, the Hill Country haven draws a different demographic of devout: those seeking superlative swimming spots in Central Texas.

When "Snapshot" drove out for a dip during Memorial Day weekend, the place was abuzz with cross-cultural conversations – Spanish, French, even Russian resounded from different corners – which prompted the question: With no shortage of natural swimming holes in the vicinity, why does Krause get so much love?


Two of 32 springs across 40 acres feed the natural 70-by-20-foot pool, which features an old-school rope swing, at a rate of 70 gallons per minute: “In West Texas, you don’t have this kind of stuff,” says 24-year-old Chris Severs of Lubbock, who made a day trip with friends. “We came because it’s kind of off the beaten path, a little oasis.”


Under a canopy of ancients: “When I was a kid, we had a [scientist] come out and say the cypress trees could be 1,100 or 1,200 years old,” says Hugh Krause, one of three co-owner brothers. “People just do not expect to see all this lush growth right off of [highway] 71.”


Adventure abounds: “I enjoy it because I really like to encourage my brother to do new stuff ... like jump off cliffs,” says Nicholas Chen, 11, of Copperas Cove, pictured midplunge. Adds his father, David: “It’s away from the normal humdrum of life – that’s why I like this.”


Above the main swimming hole (the prime party spot) sits a man-made, but still spring-fed alternative: “It’s not just based on younger people drinking – it’s family-oriented, and that’s what I was looking for,” says Sonia Perez, who traveled from Houston with husband, mother-in-law, and grandkids in tow. “There’s nothing wrong with the partying, we just would never go down there with mom, so it’s nice to have the kid-friendly area up here.”


Near the campgrounds, another set of springs feeds a somewhat hidden waterfall: “We don’t ever really feel judged here. You just come hang out, make your food ... make new friends,” says Mary Rodriguez of Houston, who came with her kids and fiancé Glenn Avila. He adds, “It gives a sense of community and ... evokes the weirdness of Austin.”


It ain’t all about H2O: “The garden [pictured] has grown up in the last 15 years,” says Krause. “We’ve done all kinds of native rockwork and built paths, and that’s really added to the place. We have people tell us all the time it’s the most unbelievable place they’ve ever been to.”


Imagine the place to yourself: “When we get these huge crowds, I don’t want people to leave with the impression this is the way it is all the time,” says Hugh, revealing that Krause Springs is fairly empty during weekdays and the off-season. “When people keep coming, I think it’s just the 68-degree spring water. It doesn’t matter how many people are down there, or if the dirt gets stirred up – if you get in it, it’s still cold.”

See more online at austinchronicle.com/arts/snapshot. Want to pitch an event, happening, idea, or person for “Snapshot”? Email the author/photog: dhall@austinchronicle.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Krause Springs
Gay Place
Gay Place
Summer is the best time to get outside and play like a kid

Sarah Marloff, July 29, 2016

Water
Water
Dive into Schlitterbahn, tubing on the Comal and Guadalupe, watsu, powerboats, and more

May 25, 2012

More Snapshot
Snapshot: Austin Groove Project
Snapshot: Austin Groove Project
Rising stars of Austin soul, blues, and hip-hop converge at Waterloo Music Festival as a supergroup to watch

David Brendan Hall, Sept. 14, 2018

Snapshot: Austin Musician-Artists Market
Snapshot: Austin Musician-Artists Market
On the first Sunday of the month, One-2-One Bar gives musicians an outlet to show another side of their artistry

David Brendan Hall, Sept. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Krause Springs, Hugh Krause, Chris Severs, Nicholas Chen, David Chen, Sonia Perez, Mary Rodriguez, Summer Fun 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle