Built by the The Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s, the swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park is a much-beloved West Texas attraction. The treasured Texas swimming hole, the largest spring-fed pool in the worls, is up to 25-feet deep, covers 1.3 acres, and holds 3.5 million gallons of water. It’s also home to numerous species of aquatic animals, including two small, endangered desert fishes- the Pecos gambusia and the Comanche Springs pupfish, according to the TPWD.
Before a series of closures beginning in 2018, an estimated 200,000 people visited Balmorhea State Park each year. Aside from its most well-known attraction, the historic park features picnic sites, an outdoor sports area and playground, 34 camping sites, and the San Solomon Springs Courts, motel-style retro lodging built by the CCC.
In May 2018, officials closed the pool indefinitely when crews discovered damage to the concrete apron that stabilizes the walls of the pool from erosion. After repairs, the pool reopened in March 2019 but closed again just months later in September for park improvements initially scheduled to run through Spring 2020. Construction was delayed by the pandemic and a change in contractors. The parks reopened again on Saturday.
The pool and day use areas are open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first.
Those who wish to visit should note that some light construction is still ongoing in the pool area, according to TPWD. Additionally, the San Solomon Courts motel, campground, and cienegas remain closed to the public.
Day passes are available for purchase on the Texas State Parks Online Reservations Center but are limited. Day passes can be purchased up to 30 days in advance. TPWD urges visitors to purchase passes in advance online before driving to the park. Upon entry, visitors must present their reservation receipts at the park headquarters. Guests with reservations will then receive wristbands which they will be asked to wear when in the pool and day-use areas.
Balmorhea State Park is located at 9207 TX-17 in Toyahvale, about 32 miles north of Fort Davis in West Texas. For more information visit the park page on the TPWD website or call (432) 375-2370.
Fancy a swim but not so interested in a nine hour driver? Consider a trip to one of these less-remote Texas swimming holes.
Searching for more things to do in the Lone Star State? Visit our things to do page.