Just a short drive from Austin, Texas, Jacob’s Well has become a famous visitors’ bucket list item for those who like the outdoors. This natural underwater cave attracts thousands of spectators every year who want to see the curious and intimidating well, which plunges into the darkness above the caves.
As the second-longest underwater cave in Texas, the karstic spring forms the headwaters of Cypress Creek and passes through Wimberly and into the Blanco River. This spring is the life source of all kinds of plants and animals that live in the area.
Situated in the Natural Area, the surrounding 81.5 acres of land are protected by the Park services and organized for hiking. Visitors can come and access the trails at any time of the year. However, due to the popularity of Jacob’s Well, reservations for swimming are required.
Warm Springs Pool and Underwater Cave System
From the surface, Jacob’s Well is 12 feet in diameter. It is impossible to see the bottom because it’s around 30 feet down. Around the entrance to the well, there is a rock ledge that visitors can stand on and swim over.
Rocky outcroppings along the side of the spring are often used by visitors to jump off and into the well. This is a generally safe practice because it is impossible to hit the bottom.
Every day, thousands of gallons of water are released from Jacob’s Spring. The source of the water comes from the Trinity Aquifer.
Deep within the well, two of the caverns tunnel at an angle away from the swimming hole. These caverns have been explored by hundreds of professional divers. At the deepest portion of this underwater cave, it is 140 feet deep. The two main caverns are both incredibly long, with the one being 4,341 feet and the other being 1,314 feet. It takes hours for professional divers to explore one single cave.
As interesting as the underwater cave is, the average visitor will not be exploring the cavern system. Visitors come and enjoy the reprieve of warm water above.
The water is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. It’s a lovely location to relax in during the summer heat. Visitors will find this stunning spring to be a great place to step away from the hustle and bustle of Austin and enjoy a day under the sun. Take a hike while you’re in the area and bring a camera to capture any animal life you come across.
Visitors are only allowed to swim between May 1st and September 30th. There is a small fee associated with attending and all guests must make a reservation. Reservations are made online and are usually available for two-hour blocks. The hours are from 8 am to 6 pm.
Only 45 swimmers are allowed at the well at a time. It can be difficult to get a reservation and it’s suggested that guests try and reserve their spot months in advance.
During the fall, winter, and spring, the park uses the time to restore the surrounding area and preserve the habitat. While guests can utilize all months to hike, swimming is only available in the summer.
This well has not been a well-known spot for a very long time. In the middle of the 1800s, five land surveys used the spring as the corner of their properties. William C. Winters, in the early 1850s, explored the area around Cypress Creek and stumbled onto the spring. He thought that it looked “like unto a well in Bible times” and proceeded to name it “Jacob’s Well”.
Many people throughout the past hundred years took and sold ownership of the area until it became designated as a Natural Area to be used for recreation. Visitors can thank the Park for keeping the area useable, safe, and clean.
Things to remember
- Swim carefully! There will be no one watching and no lifeguard on duty.
- There is no camping in the surrounding area. It is not allowed.
- No one can bring scuba equipment to try and explore the caves. It is not safe. Only professional divers are allowed to do so.
- No dogs are allowed.
- There is no smoking, drinking, fires, fishing, glass contains, or destruction of the surrounding area.
- Pack out what you pack in.
Visitors can drive to Jacob’s Well Natural Area. There are not a lot of parking spots; it is suggested to carpool to the area as much as possible. From the parking lot, it is an easy 10-minute walk to Jacob’s Well. The walk is short enough and easy enough for any age or fitness level to make it to the spring.
Jacob’s Well is a natural phenomenon. It is worth the drive to see this dazzling and curious spring. Reserve a spot and come visit. If you can’t get a reservation, consider visiting one of the other couple of warm springs near Austin for a cool swimming experience.
Address: 1699 Mt Sharp Rd., Wimberley, Texas 78676
Season: May 1 – September 30
Cost: Yes, small fee and reservations to swim are required
Pets: No, not permitted