Balmorhea, the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool, reopening in West Texas
Finally, it's time to swim with the fishes. But, um, in a good way.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Monday announced that Balmorhea State Park's spring-fed swimming pool — said to be the largest in the world — will reopen to the public on June 26.
The pool and day use areas will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first, according to the department. Limited day passes are now on sale and can be reserved up to 30 days in advance at tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/park-reservation-information/reservations.
Balmorhea has been closed more than it's been open over the past couple of years. In May 2018, officials closed the pool indefinitely when crews discovered damage to the concrete apron beneath the diving board, which stabilizes the walls of the pool, during an annual draining and cleaning. The pool reopened in March 2019, but just months later in the fall, it was shut down again in order to upgrade the failing septic system. Balmorhea had been set to reopen around spring of 2020, but then the coronavirus pandemic struck.
"Light construction is still ongoing in the pool area, so the public is asked to remain vigilant," according to the June 14 announcement.
“We know that people are dying to get back out to the pool,” park superintendent Carolyn Rose told Texas Monthly recently. "Cultural history and the natural environment come together at the park in a really unique way.”
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The attraction is about a six-hour drive west of Austin and is a popular complement to Big Bend vacations. The San Solomon Springs-fed structure — built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s — is touted as the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool. It holds 3.5 million gallons and is up to 25 feet deep. Two endangered species of fish, the Pecos gambusia and the Comanche Springs pupfish, live in the pool.
But also remember: The reservation system at Barton Springs Pool will end by July, and it's not six hours away.