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We’re continuing our favorite watering hole spots with Devil’s Waterhole, tucked back into Inks Lake State Park. This reservoir on the Colorado River requires a short hike and the views are well worth it.
Before we get started, we want to remind you that with the rise of Covid-19, it’s best to stay home. We encourage you to consider the safety of yourself and your neighbors. Our swimming hole features will remain online as a reference that you can access when you are able to safely experience the location.
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
Location and hours:
Devil’s Waterhole is located within Inks Lake State Park, about 50 miles northwest of Austin at 3630 Park Road 4 West, in Burnet, Texas. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are required to visit. You can either reserve passes online or call the customer service center before you visit.
If you’re just interested in making the hike to the swimming hole or exploring the park, day passes are $6, and children 12 years and younger are free. There are plenty of other activities at Inks Lake State Park, like camping, which ranges from $11 to $23 depending on the amenities of the campsite.
According to Texas State Historical Association, Inks Lake State Park was first a Native American hunting ground. Inks Lake, the body of water the park was named after, was enclosed in the 1930s because of the construction of the Roy Inks Dam on the Colorado River. The state acquired the park 10 years later. The park is named for Roy B. Inks, one of the original board members of the Lower Colorado River Authority.
The entire park at Inks Lake is a whopping 1,200 acres! Not only can you swim at Devil’s Waterhole, you can hike, play volleyball, picnic, camp, fish, canoe, and more. Pecan Flats, a self-guided 3.3 mile hike throughout the park, is perfect for all ages to observe nature and bird watch. Devil’s Waterhole is located on the east end of the park. There’s parking lots near the swimming hole, with trails leading to the water that are at most half a mile long. The swimming hole itself is 4.2 miles long and 3,000 feet wide, so plenty of room for swimming, relaxing, and jumping off rocks into the water.
Check out this helpful guide for places to park, trails, playgrounds, and more.
Devil’s Waterhole gets its clear water from the Colorado River. The water is refreshing, but not nearly as cold as Barton Springs Pool. Here’s a handy guide from Texas Parks and Wildlife that gives up-to-date lake conditions including what species of fish you can catch.
While there are a handful of parking lots throughout Inks Lake State Park, if you want a spot close to Devil’s Waterholes, we recommend getting there early and carpooling. Don’t park in an unmarked parking area or you will get a ticket. All park tickets include parking.
Inks Lake State Park and Devil’s Waterhole are very kid-friendly! The trails to the swimming hole are accessible to all ages. Strollers can be used in the RV and camping areas, but would be tough to take them on a trail. Note that there are not lifeguards on duty and some areas of the swimming hole can be deep.
No alcohol or glass containers.
Reservations for Devil’s Waterhole book up far in advance because it’s such a large park with lots of activities. We recommend bringing floaties to lounge in the water, as well as wearing water shoes around the rocky areas of the lake. Because the land around the swimming hole is quite wooded, we advise you to bring bug spray. There is a convenience store on-site in case you forget something.
Check out all of the swimming holes in the area here.