Swimming at Jacob’s Well suspended for the summer due to low water levels

HAYS COUNTY, Texas – A popular Central Texas swimming hole has suspended its summer season due to another bout with low water levels.

Despite a decent replenishment from rainwater in January, Hays County Parks said Wednesday they will not open Jacob’s Well Natural Area for swimming for the foreseeable future.

According to a press release, the 2024 summer swimming season was suspended due to below-average spring flow and water levels. The season typically starts May 1 and lasts through Sept. 30.

“Hays County officials plan to re-evaluate water conditions monthly to determine whether swimming might become possible at a later date,” the post reads.

Jacob’s Well is the second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas. It’s long been a popular swim spot requiring reservations that can sometimes fill up months in advance.

Watch a video that shows Jacob’s Well before and after the recent drought below:

But swimming has been prohibited since the early summer of 2022, when spring flow dropped below average. Water outflow reached zero by October 2022.

Outflow at Jacob’s Well has remained at or near zero since then.

“Factors affecting Jacob’s Well’s deteriorated flow include a multi-year drought and the resulting increased demand on the Trinity Aquifer, which supplies Jacob’s Well,” Katherine Sturdivant, Hays County Parks Department education coordinator, said in the release. “Texas’ drought of record extended from 1950-57, but according to written and oral histories, Jacob’s Well did not stop flowing. Now, we’ve got a lot more folks relying on that aquifer, and we have seen Jacob’s Well quit flowing for a sixth time.”

In January 2024, Hays County Parks released videos and photos that showed water flowing from Jacob’s Well for the first time in many months.

At the time, Sturdivant estimated that the rains would provide flow for only about a week.

The park is still open for hiking, bird watching, geocaching and picnicking. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and entry is free.

Reservations are not needed to hike, and guided tours of Jacobs Well are available on Saturday morning.

Jacob’s Well Natural Area is located at 1699 Mt. Sharp Road in Wimberley.

Click here for more information.

Jacob’s Well in April 30, 2024, with below-average water levels. (Katherine Sturdivant, Hays County Parks Department)
Jacob’s Well in October 2019, at a normal water level, (Katherine Sturdivant, Hays County Parks Department)

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