Growing up, I was no stranger to the hill country daytrip: Fredericksburg, Wimberley, Inks Lake, Enchanted Rock. Nearly every Texas town and state park within a 50-mile radius of Austin was, at one point, a glorious picnic destination for my family. Perhaps it was because we traveled in the days before the Internet, or because the park itself is rather minute, but for some reason we never ventured to—or heard of—Krause Springs.
That was until Memorial Day weekend when my coworker and friend, Tiffany, pitched the idea of Krause Springs (pronounced Krowzee if you are an employee of the park, or an unspellable and equally unpronounceable version of Klrrwausse is you’re Heath’s German coworker, but I digress) as a potential setting capable of relieving us from the summer heat. Not one to back down from a new adventure, I agreed. So we grabbed a few chums (Mark, Ranjana, Rob, Kat, Tiffany and Monte), packed up some melon, beef jerky, Lone Star and sunscreen, and headed west.
About 45 minutes later, we found ourselves in the delightfully named hill country town of Spicewood, approaching the mysterious Krause Springs.
I can understand why I had never heard of the springs before. Unlike Natural Bridge Caverns, there are no billboards to alert the masses of the springs’ location and luxuries from hundreds of miles away. But a Google search of “swimming hole + austin” may be all the advertising the family owned natural water park may need; the place was packed. But a $5 entry fee, option to bring in your own food and drinks and the promise of cool waters drew us in anyway.
After meandering through an obstacle course of floaty-clad children, overweight picnicking families and a slicker-than-desired path, we found our way to a vacant cove that overlooked the springs. Despite the less-than-perfect conditions that greeted us on arrival, I have to say, I get it.
The spring fed pool is surrounded by 30-foot cliffs, which are splendiferously covered by chartreuse moss and ferns. An impressive waterfall cascades down the side of the cliff without appearing too intimidating—making me feel almost as though I were on the set of LOST. The water was cool (but not as cool as the more well-known Barton Springs) and the people watching opportunities were ample.
Kids flew recklessly from a rope swing, plunging into the water below after a few seconds of enjoying the freedoms of a Tarzanian lifestyle. Older, braver (or one could arguer, stupider) patrons jumped into the water from the cliff tops. And parents splashed and cradled their tots in the safety of shallow waters.
We mostly took in the inspiring views, engaged in entertaining and provoking conversation and slowly sipped our Lone Star. Which, I believe, is the best way to enjoy any summer adventure.