Swimming hole connoisseurs: Prepare to take a flying leap into the world’s largest spring-fed pool.
Texas State Parks officials announced this week that the pool and day use area at Balmorhea State Park will reopen on June 26.
The opening comes as refreshing news to locals and visitors who flock to the 3.5-million gallon oasis in Toyahvale, an hour’s drive west of Fort Stockton, to rinse off the dust and swim in the same water as the endangered Comanche Springs pupfish. The pool has been closed since September 2019, and before that was open only sporadically since May 2018, when a concrete apron beneath the diving board collapsed.
The enormous V-shaped pool with a natural bottom will remind Austinites of Barton Springs, plopped in the middle of a prickly desert, but the water’s a little warmer. The site once served as a watering hole for Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and American soldiers. The Civilian Conservation Corps transformed the fragile desert wetland into a pool in the 1930s.
Jumping off the high dive into the pool’s clear water is a right of passage for many Texans. Walking the length of the springy board feels like walking the plank of a pirate ship, and splashing into crisp waters of San Solomons Springs is like landing in a giant aquarium. Look down deep – you’ll see catfish swirling in the depths.
Light construction is still ongoing in the pool area and the San Solomon Courts, campground, and cienegas remain closed to the public for now. Crews are restoring the motel to its 1930s appearance, minus the carports, and are replacing plumbing, repairing the roof, and rewiring the electrical system. The campground is getting a new bathroom and showers, too.
The pool is open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first. Day passes are available for purchase on the Texas State Parks Online Reservations Center. They can be purchased up to 30 days in advance.
For more information go to the park page on the TPWD website.